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Consumables View

Reference Number: AA-00275 Views: 11663 Last Updated: 02-20-2019 01:15 PM 0 Rating/ Voters
Consumables View


The Consumable view was introduced in Netaphor SiteAudit™ version 4.0 and has gone through some minor upgrades since. In version 5.3, several new columns were added.

Several of these new columns are intended to help users identify when consumables are expected to be depleted. For example, one can filter the Consumables view to show which toners are expected to run out within the next week. It's also possible to see how much yield was obtained from a consumable, when a consumable was replaced, and much more as explained in this article.

Contents

Feature Overview

The Consumables view shows information about the consumables on a printer such as: the consumable description, serial number, capacity, current level, the number of pages printed with the consumable and much more. In fact, there are 50 columns that can be used to show precisely the consumable information you want to see.


The Consumables view shows one row of data for each consumable on a printer. For example, a simple black and white printer may have two consumable items: a toner cartridge and a waste toner.  In this case there would be one row displayed for each item.

An advanced color printer would have many consumables and one row would be displayed for each item. Additionally, once a consumable item is replaced, the value "Replaced" is shown in the Consumable Status column and its data is no longer updated. Another row is created to show the information for the new consumable and the Consumable Status value is "In Use." This allows one to see the history of consumable replacements and the yields that were obtained.


Figure 1 – Consumables View Sample

Applications and Benefits

The Consumables view is useful for such purposes as:

  • Seeing which consumables are expected to need replacement this week.
  • Seeing how many consumables were replaced during the past quarter.
  • Seeing which consumables were installed this year.
Consumable View Column Descriptions


This section describes each of the columns that are unique to the Consumables View. Some of these columns may be hidden by default. Hidden columns can be added to the View using the Column Chooser that is available by right-clicking on a column header and selecting it from the menu options. 

The following columns have been added in version 5.3:

Date Toner Detected – This column value displays the date when SiteAudit first detected and started monitoring the consumable item. 

Replaced On – Shows the date when the consumable item was replaced.  This field is empty if the consumable is In Use

Estimated Days Remaining – This column value indicates the estimated number of days until the consumable is expected to run out (or fill up, as in the case of waste toner). A custom Consumable Threshold and Notification rule can be created to notify when there are 3 days or less of toner remaining, for example.  The value will be empty if %Used is 0% or the consumable has been replaced.  See Understanding How SiteAudit Projects Estimated Column Values 

Original Level – This column value shows the consumable level when SiteAudit first discovered and monitored the consumable. 

Yield – The yield show the number of pages that are expected from the consumable based on its usage.

SampleThe Yield value is the same as Supply Pages when 100% of the cartridge has been used as shown in the highlighted row below. In cases where %Used is not 100%, the Yield is estimated based on the toner used and pages printed. For example, in the first row, 22068 pages were printed with 18.0% of toner. Therefore, if 100% toner were used in this example, the Yield would be  [x/100 = 22068/18]  or [2206800/18] which is 122600.



Last Updated – This column value shows the date and time when data was last collected for the consumable item

The following are preexisting columns:

Description – This is the description of the consumable item.  Some examples of descriptions are: Black Toner, Waste Toner, or Transfer Belt.  Note that descriptions vary by manufacturer and model. 

Type – This is the type associated with the consumable.  For example, a toner cartridge is of type Toner.  Other types include OPC, Transfer Belt, Fuser, etc. 

Part Installed – This is the date when the consumable was installed.  If this information is not supplied directly from the consumable item, this field will remain blank until SiteAudit has detected that the consumable was replaced.  At that time, it knows the date when the consumable was installed and will insert this data.  

Part Serial # - This is the serial number associated with the consumable item.  This information must be supplied by the device, otherwise the field remains empty. 

Level – This is the current level detected by SiteAudit.  This value is most often a percentage value.  However, it is perfectly valid for printers to report the level as: Some, Empty, Unknown, or Other.  In these cases, it is not possible for SiteAudit to display a percentage value for the consumable. Whether or not a printer reports percentage values depends on the printer manufacturer and model.  In some cases, printers report both a percentage value when possible and a string value when it is not possible to determine a percentage.  For example, some Ricoh printers will report a level of 100% for a new toner cartridge and as soon as some of the toner is used, the value reported is “Some.” Whenever possible, SiteAudit always displays a percentage value. 

Raw Level – Raw level shows the same percentage values as the Level column.  However, in cases where the Level column displays a string such as, Some, Other, Unknown, etc., the Raw Level column will be blank.  The purpose for having the Raw Level column is to help users sort by the level percentage. This can be done because the Raw Level contains decimal values whereas the Level column contains strings, which do not sort nicely. Note that the Raw Level column is hidden by default. 

Capacity – The Capacity column indicates the capacity of the consumable.  This value is typically represented in number of pages but may be 100 (percent) for some manufacturer/models. 

Coverage – Coverage is the amount of toner that covers a sheet of paper. Many suppliers rate their cartridges by coverage.  For example, a supplier may specify that a toner cartridge is expected to be able to print 10,000 pages at 5% coverage.  If many graphics are printed, the coverage can increase considerably, thereby reducing the number of pages that can be printed with the cartridge. 

Estimated Pages Remaining – This column contains an estimate of the number of pages that can be printed before the consumable is depleted or filled.  This estimate is based on the current level and how much printing has occurred.  The Estimated Pages Remaining column helps users identify when consumables are expected to need replacing.  Note that this column remains blank until SiteAudit has sufficient data to estimate the number of remaining pages or will be 0 if the consumable is replaced.  To do this estimate, SiteAudit requires that the Level column contain a percentage value, and some number of pages must have been printed using the consumable. In SiteAudit 4.3, the Consumables Threshold introduced a new condition that allows users to create an incident when the Estimated Pages Remaining reaches a specified point. See Understanding How SiteAudit Projects Estimated Column Values 

Estimated Replacement Date – This column indicates when a consumable item is expected to need replacement.  This feature allows users to be proactive by creating reports that indicate when consumables are expected to run out.  These reports can show which consumables are expected to run out Today, Tomorrow, Next Week, etc. so that replacements can be delivered timely.  To estimate an expected replacement date, SiteAudit requires that the Level column contain a percentage value, and some number of pages must have been printed using the consumable. This value will be empty for consumables that have been replaced. See Understanding How SiteAudit Projects Estimated Column Values 

Average Pages/Day – Shows the average number of pages printed per day with this consumable

% Used – This column shows how much of the consumable has been used since SiteAudit began monitoring it. 

Consumable Status – This column indicates if a consumable item is currently In Use or if it has been Replaced.  If a consumable has been replaced, the data for it no longer changes.  This allows users to run reports that show what the levels were when a consumable was replaced, which may help to identify toner wastage.

Pages Printed – This column contains the number of pages (yield) printed with a consumable. The Pages value for each cartridge increments by one for each printed impression.  When SiteAudit detects that the cartridge has been replaced, the value of the Pages column is reset to zero so that the yield can be derived for the new consumable. 

B/W All, Color All, & Total – These columns contain the current values from the Lifetime Counter columns. For Replaced consumables, the values displayed are the values at the time of the replacement as shown in Figure 1.

Common Columns - The Consumables view also contains columns that are common to all views such as, Manufacturer, Model, IP Address,Serial #, etc.  To access all columns, select the Column Chooser by right-clicking on the column header and selecting it from the menu.

Consumable View Reports

As with all Views, the Consumables view can be customized to show precisely the data that is important to you.  Reports can be generated, saved, printed, emailed, archived, published, or scheduled in any of the available formats: XML, XSL, RTF, CSV, HTML, PDF and more. 

Figure 2 shows an example report that shows when consumable items are expected to need replacement.  Users can generate this type of a report to indicate when consumables need to be replaced.  This allows a user to be prepared by having the consumables ready to be replaced before the consumable runs out or fills up, as is the case for a waste toner. 


    

     Figure 2: Sample Consumables Report – Estimated Replacement Dates

Filtering the Consumables View using the Level Column

Often, users want to filter the Consumables view to show only consumables whose level is below a specified amount, say 20%.  The Consumables view contains two columns related to the consumable level, Level and RawLevel.  The Level column is a text column that contains percentage values as well as strings that represent the level such as, Some, Other, Empty,or Unknown.  Due to the behavior of strings, filtering on the Level column may not produce the expected results and thus is not recommended. This is because string filtering algorithms compare the first characters of each string. Therefore, if one filters to show consumables whose Level is less than 20%, then the view will also contain consumables whose level is 100%.  This is because the first character “1” is less than the first character in the 20% filter criteria “2”. See Figure 3 that shows an example of this.  Notice that the view was filtered to show consumables whose level is less than 20% but the view also shows those whose level is 100%.  For this reason, it is always best to filter based on the Raw Level column, which is hidden by default.  


    
     Figure 3: Consumables filtered by the “Level”column <= 20%

Filtering Based on the Raw Level Column

The "Level" column of the Consumables view describes the level for a particular consumable.  This is represented by a string that either describes the level in a decimal percentage format or a string such as Empty, Low, Some, or Unknown (some printers do not provide a decimal percentage but instead offer a text string.)  Since the column consists of decimal and string values, normal filtering comparisons will not work as expected.  For example, filtering where "Level < 20.0%" will not behave as desired because a string comparison is performed and values such as "100.0 %" will be returned as shown in Figure 3. 


To work around this issue, a column named "Raw Level" was added such that proper numeric filtering can be performed on the consumable level. This column contains only the decimal values that represent the percentage levels.  The value is blank if the level is a string such as Empty, Low, Some, or Unknown.  The"Raw Level" column is hidden by default and does not need to be visible in the view in order to filter upon it.  Figure 4 shows an example of filtering based off the Raw Level column. 


    

     Figure 4:
Filtering based on “Raw Level” column <= 20% And "Raw Level" > 0%


Sample Filter to Show Low Consumable Levels

Create a filter where Level is less than 10% or equal to "Empty" or "Low". 

    

  1. Open the Filter Editor by clicking the "Edit Filter" button at the bottom right corner of the Consumables view.
     
  2. Click on the red "And" text at the root level and select "Add Group".

  3. Modify the default rule created to "[Raw Level] Is less than 10.0 %".

  4. Click on the  "+" icon next to "And" and create another rule "[Raw Level] Is greater than 0.0 %".
    (NOTE:  This rule is necessary since blank values evaluate to being less than 0.
    )

  5. Click on the "+" icon next to "Or" at the top level and create another rule "[Level] Equals Empty".

  6. Click on the "+" icon next to "Or" at the top level again and create another rule "[Level] Equals Low".

Example: Consumables replaced last quarter

To see consumables replaced last quarter, filter on [Consumables Status] Equals Replaced and select the time span Last quarter:

    
     Example: Pages printed with all consumables last year

To see pages printed with all consumables last year, filter on [Pages] Is greater than 0, select the time span Last Year, and SUM the Pages column.

    
     Example: 500 or fewer pages remaining

The following filter shows printers with an estimated 500 or fewer pages remaining before maintenance is expected to be needed.

    

The result of applying the filter:

    
     Example: Estimated replacement dates

You can sort or filter by the Estimated Replacement Date column to make sure you have replacements on hand before consumables run out (or fill up, as with waste toner).

    

Understanding How SiteAudit Projects Estimated Column Values

The Consumables view includes columns that contain values estimated by SiteAudit based on how much printing has been done and how much toner has been used over a certain time period. These columns include, Estimated Days Remaining, Estimated Replacement Date, and Estimated Pages Remaining.

In order for SiteAudit to calculate a value for these columns, there must have been some number of pages printed and the consumable level must have changed. The values are then calculated based on how much time has passed, how much toner was used, and how many pages were printed.

To begin, we must understand that SiteAudit collects consumable data every 40 minutes by default, which includes the current level of the consumable cartridge. Each time SiteAudit collects the consumable data, it recalculates the values for the columns mentioned. The following example illustrates how SiteAudit computes the value for Estimated Days Remaining. A similar computation is done for other estimated column values.

Example Scenario

Suppose a printer has a new tonercartridge that is capable of printing 1000 pages. Within an hour of the tonercartridge being installed, a user prints a job consisting of 100 pages. SiteAudit collects the consumable data and records that 10% of the toner cartridgewas used. If it took one hour to consume 10% of the toner, SiteAudit projects that the toner will be depleted in 9 more hours and enters this value for Estimated Days Remaining.

Now suppose no more printing occurs during the next 24 hours.  SiteAudit collects consumable dataevery 40 minutes and computes the new value based on the 10% that had been used and the time that has passed. Therefore, after 2 hours have passed and still only 10% of toner has been used, SiteAudit projects the toner to be depleted in 18 hours.  The Estimated Days Remaining continues to update every 40 minutes. Finally, after 24 hours has passed and only 10% of toner has been used. At the rate of 10% consumable usage per day, SiteAudit estimates that the toner will be depleted in 9 more days.

An analogy that may help understand this behavior is to imagine driving a car having a full tank of gas and estimating when the gas will be run out. If the tank holds 10 gallons of gasoline and 2 gallons are consumed in the first hour of driving, one can estimate that, at the rate of 2 gallons per hour, the tank will be empty in 5 hours. However, if the driver stops at a restaurant for an hour or at a hotel over night, it is easy to see that this estimation varies depending on how long the car is driven or idle.