University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

Zebra® P430i™ Card Printer for Student, Staff and Visitor ID Card Printing

The University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) is renowned as a leading technology innovator. Established in 2003 from the merger of Duisburg and Essen universities, the UDE is the newest university in the North Rhine-Westphalia region and one of the ten largest further education establishments in Germany. Every term 6000 new student ID cards are printed at the Duisburg and Essen sites, as well as numerous ones for visitors and staff. The UDE chose Zebra Technologies to develop an innovative, customised card printing solution.

Download the PDF Contact Zebra

the story


At the start of each term 6000 first-year students enrol at the UDE. This used to pose a logistical challenge for the enrolment department twice a year, from creating the cards, to printing and distributing them to the students.

In order to make this process more efficient and obtain further application options, the university implemented a solution that used Zebra P430i card printers.


The UDE's technology provider implemented a customised ID & payment card solution. A team of five experts spent nine months working on adapting cards and printers exactly to the University's requirements. "We had numerous discussions which allowed us to establish the University of Duisburg-Essen's requirement and then develop an innovative, customised total solution accordingly," explains Johannes Kohlen, system consultant, InterCard. The cards were designed for different applications.

Printer quality was a decisive factor which is why the Zebra P430i card printer was chosen. "It is capable of carrying out highly complex print jobs and can accept direct commands. During the print run you can slow down or even stop printing the cards. Their robustness and the quality of the results were further crucial factors in favour of using Zebra printers," said Johannes Kohlen,

The printers were configured so that they could print different information with pinpoint accuracy, not to mention double-sided and fully customised for the user. Integrated network and coding options are ideal for printing contactless smart cards. The P430i can output up to 130 cards an hour.

Apart from producing student ID cards, the aim was also to produce library, staff and visitor ID cards equipped with a payment facility. Cashless payment was intended to make transactions easier wherever students were located,

whether in the canteen, by the drinks machine, photocopier, or even when using washing machines in the halls of residence.

The Zebra P430i card printers met the University's requirements exactly by enabling printing and personalisation of all ID cards on site. The cards do not contain any personal details other than the person's name and the card number.

These new multifunctional student ID cards have been used by the UDE since the start of 2011. Thanks to an integrated chip function, they can even be used as a travel pass. In addition to existing functions of student ID, library and canteen usage, payment facility for printing and photocopying, users can conveniently deploy them for travelling on buses and trains throughout the entire North Rhine-Westphalia region.

"We have used this solution to introduce an innovative system that can have extra features added," explains Ludwig Ciesielski, Director of Enrolment and Examinations, UDE. "Our university is a pioneer of innovation as well when it comes to the e-ticket (elctronic ticket). This was the first project in Germany where an electronic student ID card was combined with the e-ticket."

The new card system is an investment for the future. The university migrated to the new techology without a hitch. The students have fully embraced the technology. The new ID cards have been accepted 99%. That is certainly unique.

Ludwig Ciesielski, Director of Enrolment and Examinations,


"Another unique feature of the card is that it is valid for four years. This is certainly an important factor for us as a university in terms of cost-efficiency, but not only for us," explains Ludwig Ciesielski, "Students benefit from this too as they just have a single ID card for the duration of their studies."

This has been a resounding success, as the UDE is using around 36,000 chip cards including staff ID cards as well as cards for guest users of the university's library.

According to Ludwig Ciesielski "The new card system is an investment for the future. The university migrated to the new techology without a hitch. The students have fully embraced the technology. The new ID cards have been accepted 99%. That is certainly unique."

The UDE is leading the way by implementing this card printing solution. In addition other universities are also interested in producing ID cards with the Zebra P430i printer. More than 100 universities and colleges are already equipped with Zebra printers.