CopiaFacts can consolidate faxes so that faxes to the same destination are sent in a single call.  To do this, faxes are prepared and saved, then at selectable intervals the saved faxes for a single destination are sent in a single call.  A range of selectable intervals can be chosen, from five minutes up to two hours.

Consolidation is initiated by means of an Action Code in the range 121 to 128, applied by looking up the destination in an action code list or index, either at launch time or transmit time.  If the destination is matched in the action list or index, transmissions to the destination will be consolidated.  The action code 121 to 128 specifies the interval between consolidations:

1215 minutes
12210 minutes
12315 minutes
12430 minutes
12545 minutes
12660 minutes
12790 minutes
128120 minutes

For example to consolidate faxes to 641 741 6000 every 10 minutes, and to consolidate faxes to 641 741 6013 every 30 minutes, you could create an action list file CONSOL.TXT (your choice of name) which would contain:

16417416000  122

16417416013  124

To implement this action list would require an $action_phone configuration command:

$action_phone CONSOL.TXT

The files for consolidation are saved in a folder named CONSOL in the CALLBACK folder.  This folder is scanned approximately every minute by an FFEXTERN special process which must be configured in one or more FFEXTERN instances.  FFEXTERN collects the transactions which have the same destination and creates an FS file at the specified intervals to send them in a single call.  The files to be sent are moved out of the CONSOL folder to CALLBACK\TEMP prior to the creation of the consolidation FS file.

The Fax header on each individual transmission is not that normally applied by the fax board or port, since that has not been used at the time the consolidation is first processed.  Instead the required fax header should be supplied on a FAX_HEADER_CS variable, as described in the Fax Headers topic.  Page numbers start at one on each document.

An FFEXTERN parameter specifies the maximum number of items to be added to each consolidation.  If more items are found ready, an additional consolidation FS file will be created.  Otherwise all the items for the same destination will be concatenated on the first scan during which the the first such item is found to have been waiting longer than the specified interval.  The consolidation feature is only enabled in license-counted instances of FFEXTERN, which therefore requires a special license option.

In FFEXTERN you should select a New Special Process:

Then set up the parameters for the Consolidation Special Process:

In selecting a User profile for the consolidated transmission, you may want to set your $retry_delays settings specially, because the transmissions may be of 40 pages rather than 2.  You will normally also need to set $fax_header none in this USR file to avoid adding a second header on the consolidated transmission.

In the FS file created for consolidation, a variable CONSOLIDATED_TRANSMISSION is automatically defined, with a value of the number of items in the consolidation.  The presence of this variable prevents the action code detected for the destination number from being actioned on the consolidation itself.

If the consolidation transmission fails and needs to be retried, it will retain the same content even if further items are awaiting transmission to the same destination.  'Retry Partial' is automatically set for consolidation transmissions.

After initial preparation of items to be consolidated, the FS file is normally moved to SENT.  For Job Administration transactions, the FS file will instead be moved to a folder under CALLBACK named with the job instance name, so as to prevent detection of job completion.

On successful transmission of the consolidated file, the original FS files in SENT are updated with an attempt record.  On unsuccessful transmission, all the original FS files are updated with an an attempt record and moved to FAIL.  Currently, all original FS files will have the same final disposition, even if some pages of the consolidation were transmitted before failure.

If the consolidated transmission fails, it is best to resubmit it with partial retry enabled, and you should avoid resubmitting individual items to create a new consolidation.  In any case, individual items must not be resubmitted while the consolidated transmission is active.

E-Mail Consolidation

When e-mails are to be consolidated, an $action_email command is used to specify the consolidation interval for the domain.  You should always use a domain keyword on this command.  The files saved in the CALLBACK\CONSOL folder are in this case copies of the entire e-mail body with file extension .EML.  When FFEXTERN runs its consolidation operation to create a CONSOLIDATED_TRANSMISSION FS file, these files are placed on $email_attach commands with a content-type of CONSOL.

The raw EML files are not, of course, processed as attachments when they reach the COPIAFACTS engine for consolidated transmission.  Instead they are processed as individual e-mail send items during a single login to the domain's mail server.  Successful transmissions have their content-type changed to CONSOK in the SENT or FAIL FS file: they are then ignored if the consolidated transmission needs to be retried.  If any individual transmission fails (for example on an invalid mailbox name at the domain) then the transmission continues for other items, but is marked as a failure with outcome code 193.

A dummy email sender, recipient and subject are placed in the CONSOLIDATED_TRANSMISSION FS file generated by FFEXTERN.  These are replaced by the values for each consolidated transmission as it is sent.