Pankl Racing Systems

Pankl Racing Systems opts for a unified communications solution by innovaphone

The Austrian company, Pankl Racing Systems, is specialized in developing and manufacturing engine and drivetrain components for racing cars, high performance vehicles and the aerospace industry. Whenever a Formula 1 car starts in Monaco or Monza, it will very probably entail components from the Austrian racing specialist.
The global niche player is based in the Austrian town of Kapfenberg and has sites in the neighbouring Bruck an der Mur, as well as Great Britain, Slovakia, Germany and the US. The old telephone systems in Kapfenberg and Bruck an der Mur were replaced by a state-of-the-art IP telephone and UC solutions from innovaphone.

With a total of about 1,400 employees in 8 global locations, Pankl Racing Systems is one of the most important employers in the Austrian town of Kapfenberg. The company recently secured a larger piece of land for future expansions close to the current site in Kapfenberg. It was desperately necessary to replace the PBX from Alcatel that had been used for company communication in Bruck and Kapfenberg for some 15 years.

The IT service system house, Nipcon brought an innovaphone solution into play at an early stage. Nipcon has been looking after Pankl’s network environment for quite a while and knows just what the customer requires: “We favoured an innovaphone solution because, in our opinion, it fulfilled the requirements of Pankl perfectly.” explains Michael Ofner, Manager IT at Pankl Racing Systems. After a three-month test installation in one of the company’s departments, the final decision was made in favour of an innovaphone PBX - and against the solutions of two well-known competitors. “There were some teething problems with the end devices in the test phase as the touch film loosened. But innovaphone’s swift and uncomplicated replacement process convinced us entirely,” Günter Prasshofer who was responsible for the innovaphone system rollout at Pankl Racing Systems remembers.

Smooth migration, easy installation thanks to the LAN network’s Voice Readiness

Already during the test phase, the desired functions were put through critical testing by the IT Infrastructure department. Pankl’s main requirements included:
• a unified communication solution incorporating fixed-line telephony, DECT and GSM telephony
• easy administration: in-house staff should be able to administer and look after the solution
• future-safe with integrated UC applications such as Presence, Video etc.
• smooth migration, meaning little intervention in the existing infrastructure
• improved internal communication concerning hotline, reception, site networking etc.

One main strength of the innovaphone system came to light already in the test phase: smooth migration allowed the innovaphone solution to be tested thoroughly without needing to touch the existing infrastructure. This so-called “loop-through” is a special feature of the innovaphone gateways. They can be embedded in up to two ISDN lines, without disrupting current operations. After configuration, specific connections are picked and added to the innovaphone PBX. For Prankl, this procedure has the advantage that the company can choose the migration speed at which it will gradually grow into the world of All IP without provoking interference in the current company communication.

The two innovaphone IP6010 VoIP gateways were looped into the existing trunk lines at Kapfenburg and Bruck and configured in a master-slave scenario. The innovaphone redundancy concept means that a second redundant PBX system is set up in parallel to the innovaphone PBX and has the advantage that all of the innovaphone PBX functions are automatically transfered without any delay in case of failure. This translates to maximum reliability.

DECT connection was especially important to the Austrian Formula 1 supplier as about half of the 500 subscribers had to be connected to the telephone and UC system via DECT. Michael Ofner is thrilled with the quality of the innovaphone DECT devices - the IP1202 DECT gateway and IP63 DECT phones were chosen in this case: “The quality of the phones is excellent, the belt clips that are supplied with the phones are great. We were also thrilled with the compactness of the boxes and the attractive user interface.” Mobility also played an important role at Pankl. Some 30 employees work in the field and the managers emphasized how important it was to integrate them seamlessly in the existing communication infrastructure. For this, the mobile phone number is simply stored in the innovaphone PBX. This means every employee keeps his number, no matter whether he is at his desk or on the road, and business partners are easily able to get in touch.

Simple administration, high staff satisfaction

All-in-all a total of 500 extensions were connected to the new system at the two sites in Kapfenberg and Bruck, about half of which via DECT. The innovaphone IP232 design telephone was the desk-top phone used. Staff also have access to the ESTOS ProCall software as an addition to the IP232 devices. This allows subscribers to dial from the computer and to integrate own contacts from Outlook. Pankl staff are managing well with the new phones. Michael Ofner reports: “Not only is voice quality on the innovaphone telephones excellent, the staff is delighted with the usability; the design is perfect.” Another aspect of the innovaphone PBX was well liked at Pankl: “The VoIP gateways and IP phones have hardly any time out when rebooting”, says Günter Prasshofer. The reason for this is that the innovaphone PBX runs on a very lean and fast operating system that has been developed especially.

One main item in the Pankl requirement catalogue - easy administration - could also be solved well with the innovaphone PBX. Günter Prasshofer: “The innovaphone PBX configuration gets a huge plus from us, as does maintenance. We have many more possibilities with much lower efforts needed than with the previous system. Almost all of the work required can be completed by our in-house IT department. That saves time, nerves and money.” According to Pankl’s calculations, the acquisition of the new innovaphone communication solution will pay itself off within 5 years.

Smooth migration, part 2: Integrating a Unified Communications solution

In the first migration step, a UC solution was also installed that is to be extended gradually with innovaphone UC components. The intention is to integrate the innovaphone Video Conferencing solution as well as other UC applications. After the rollout, these will be tested and rolled out gradually.

Summary: Perfect collaboration of all project partners

Now that the rollout is almost completed, Michael Ofner praises the collaboration with project partner Nipcon and manufacturer, innovaphone: “Project management with Nipcon and innovaphone was exemplary. The pre-announced delivery times were adhered to, installation went according to plan and communication between all parties was pleasingly uncomplicated. All-in-all we consider ourselves satisifed customers”.

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