Barcodes and more: SICK controls world­wide printer infra­struc­ture with AKI

The customer

SICK is one of the world’s leading manu­fac­tu­rers of sensors and sensor solu­tions for indus­trial appli­ca­tions. Founded in 1946 by Dr.-Ing. e. h. Erwin Sick and head­quar­tered in Wald­kirch im Breisgau near Frei­burg, Germany, the company is a tech­no­logy and market leader with more than 50 subsi­dia­ries and affi­liates as well as nume­rous repre­sen­ta­tives around the globe.
  • Sector Industry
  • Task Flexible barcode prin­ting via soft­ware, auto­matic inte­gra­tion of water­marks and high avai­la­bi­lity of SAP printing
  • Top chall­enge Output manage­ment system to control the SAP prin­ting envi­ron­ment, addi­tional func­tions such as auto­ma­ti­cally created water­marks on test prints from SAP systems
  • Solu­tion Prin­Taurus Commander, Prin­Taurus for SAP-Systems (incl. high avai­la­bi­lity), ResQueue, Port­Mo­nitor with barcode and water­mark solution
  • Top bene­fits Cost savings through soft­ware-based barcode inte­gra­tion on all devices, create prin­ters in all SAP systems in just 10 seconds, simple, central admi­nis­tra­tion of the printer landscape

The task

Appro­xi­m­ately 700 prin­ters are in use at SICK world­wide. The prin­ting of deli­very and consign­ment notes in the Logi­stics & Distri­bu­tion Center from the SAP system is critical for the company. If delays occur here, goods are left behind, and that can be expen­sive. Huber, IT Opera­tions Infra­struc­ture remem­bers: “In the past, there was no feed­back on the status of print jobs and the decen­tra­lised admi­nis­tra­tion of SAP and Windows made a considerable effort. We had hardly any trans­pa­rency in the print infra­struc­ture and a lot of staff was needed to fix printer malfunc­tions.” A profes­sional output manage­ment solu­tion was to provide a remedy. “Soft­ware-based barcode prin­ting was the main trigger for moder­ni­sing our print manage­ment envi­ron­ment – and thus the central requi­re­ment for the new soft­ware,” says Huber. In addi­tion, sample prints from SAP were to be auto­ma­ti­cally water­marked in order to make them reco­g­nisable compared to real ship­ping docu­ments. Comfort func­tions for SAP prin­ting for easier trou­ble­shoo­ting, high avai­la­bi­lity as well as a consis­t­ently trans­pa­rent printer infra­struc­ture were also desired.

The solution

After looking at the market, there were various suppliers to choose from – SICK decided on AKI. “The personal contact and the good coope­ra­tion during the test phase were very posi­tive. In the end, the convin­cing ease of use of the product and the pros­pect of inte­gra­ting the new solu­tion into the exis­ting infra­struc­ture without any problems were also decisive,” explains Huber. “Today, SAP prin­ting runs like clock­work: secure, reliable, traceable. And we have a huge time saving in trou­ble­shoo­ting; often with AKI we even reco­g­nise in advance where problems might arise,” says Huber. The SAP-certi­fied BC-XOM inter­face of Prin­Taurus for ERP systems makes it possible to analyse the print data streams from SAP and execute corre­spon­ding work­flows based on their iden­ti­fiers. This way, water­marks are auto­ma­ti­cally added to prin­touts from the test systems during opera­tion. In addi­tion, sequences for barcodes can be graphi­cally inte­grated into the print data stream – also auto­ma­ti­cally, which means lower costs for hard­ware, less wear and tear and fewer fail­ures due to repairs. Busi­ness-critical docu­ments are printed from the SAP systems world­wide, which is why the HA compo­nent of Prin­Taurus ensures high avai­la­bi­lity: If a print server is no longer available, the system auto­ma­ti­cally swit­ches to an alter­na­tive print server. Drivers and new devices can now be created very quickly as device types in SAP. “Our admi­nis­tra­tors benefit from this consider­ably. Previously, every printer in every SAP system had to be set up manu­ally – and we have about 50 such systems. A huge effort,” explains Huber. “Today, we create a new device in just ten seconds and distri­bute it to the respec­tive SAP systems with just one mouse click,” Ludwig Huber is pleased to say. “We are very satis­fied with AKI: the intui­tive usabi­lity, quali­fied feed­back into the SAP system, high avai­la­bi­lity as well as auto­matic water­marks and barcodes inte­grated into the print data stream – all this is convin­cing,” explains Huber. “AKI’s solu­tion really saves us time and money. We only need ten seconds to get a printer opera­tional in all SAP systems. In addi­tion, we save ourselves the expen­sive purchase of barcode modules for the output devices. The return on invest­ment was achieved very quickly due to the complete inte­gra­tion into the exis­ting struc­ture and the short trai­ning periods.”
“AKI’s solu­tion really saves us time and money. We control the entire SAP printer infra­struc­ture via one appli­ca­tion. This simpli­fies our daily busi­ness considerably.
Ludwig Huber

IT Opera­tions Infra­struc­ture & Appli­ca­tion Support, Sick AG

The benefits

  • Print barcodes with all prin­ters: more flexi­bi­lity and no expen­sive purchase of barcode modules
  • Highest prin­ting perfor­mance and reliability
  • Auto­matic water­mar­king on prin­touts from test systems
  • Easy admi­nis­tra­tion under SAP – create or change output devices in all SAP systems in just 10 seconds. In the past, this step took 5 minutes
  • Admi­nis­tra­tion of the entire hete­ro­ge­neous printer land­scape with only one central application


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For direct enqui­ries you can also contact us by phone: +49 (0)931 32155–0