ThinPrint’s Print Jobs Help Secure UK Energy Supply

Uniper

Many industries face detailed regulation – and the UK’s energy producers are no different. For Uniper’s maintenance operations, failure to print the required documentation could lead to downtime running into six-figure losses per hour. With their data center relocated to Germany, the utility giant searched for a high availability solution to its printing challenges.

Energy utility Uniper uses ThinPrint printing technology to print statutory maintenance paperwork

Uniper is an international energy company with over 12,000 employees. In the UK, Uniper owns and operates power plants at Ratcliffe-on-Soar, Connah’s Quay, Cottam Development Centre, Enfield, Grain, Killingholme, and Taylor’s Lane. The supply network also includes gas storage facilities at Holford and two high-pressure gas pipelines from Theddlethorpe to Killingholme and from Blyborough to Cottam in north-east England.

Challenge

For safety reasons and to ensure a secure energy supply, the power plants undergo regular maintenance. Statutory inspection and maintenance work require printing and completion of a number of forms which come in a variety of formats and colours. This is to ensure that work undertaken on site at the power stations is fully documented.

With the relocation of the data centre from the UK to Germany, printing became troublesome. Printouts were extremely slow or even sent to the wrong printers. The situation was further complicated by the fact that the power plants used to belong to other operators and as a result, they had completely different legacy networks. All these heterogeneous structures had to be considered when solving the problems associated with printing.

The combination of these challenges meant that UK IT operations manager Palvinder Singh Tiensa concluded that printing essential paperwork for power plant maintenance was no longer reliable. As energy supply is considered critical national infrastructure it has a range of high security standards, and for these reasons efficient printing is not a nice-to-have but is essential. In the worst case, non-completion of maintenance paperwork may result in a shutdown of a power plant. Such downtime can quickly run into costs amounting to €100,000 per hour.

Solution

The ThinPrint Engine was installed on dedicated print servers. Across the 10 different power plant sites, about 350 concurrent users, many of them shift workers, print with ThinPrint’s solution. Each location also uses the ThinPrint Hub printing appliance. This small piece of hardware makes it particularly easy to integrate remote sites into the print infrastructure – if necessary, even remotely and without on-site IT know-how.

“ThinPrint was exactly what we were looking for. It guarantees that we can get the job done securely. In addition, the support we received from ThinPrint’s consultants was excellent”.

Palvinder Singh Tiensa, Asset IT Cloud Implementation Manager, Team Manager (Operations & Projects & Processes), Asset IT Support UK

Result

For Palvinder Singh Tiensa, convenient printer mapping via ThinPrint’s AutoConnect feature is a decisive advantage. Another important feature is print data compression, and thanks to ThinPrint, a print data volume of 4.5 MB is reduced to just 1.5 MB. Since many of the plants are located in non-urban areas with low bandwidth, this is a significant factor in improving network performance and print output speed. The ThinPrint features delivering high availability, including load balancing as well as encryption of print data are also considered highly important by the IT expert.

Palvinder Singh Tiensa summarised by saying:

“ThinPrint is essential for distributed Citrix environments. It eliminates a whole lot of complexity for us and I’m definitely a ThinPrint convert!”