Appligent Customer Case Studies

Based in Westchester County, New York, The Blue Book Building and Construction Network has been the construction industry’s premier information source since 1913, producing regional construction directories in most major markets throughout the United States.

Today, provides easy access to continually updated information via BB-Bid, their online bid management system with private secure online plan rooms as well as integrated takeoff and markup tools.

BB-Bid users upload up to 10,000 documents daily onto The Blue Book’s servers for processing and distribution.  Each night, The Blue Book’s servers run a variety of processes to prepare these files for the next days’ work, including loading metadata and OCR processing for scanned documents.

Unsurprisingly, a small but nonetheless significant proportion of the documents users upload are corrupt or otherwise damaged.  These bad files, few as they are, mean trouble because they often cause other downstream processes to fail, in turn stalling the entire overnight process.

“We were hoping that pdfHarmony would reduce the number of problem files, and we were right,” says Ken Keeler, a programmer for The Blue Book.  Keeler’s group put pdfHarmony to work right away in pre-processing end-user files to reduce exceptions in the nightly runs. “pdfHarmony proved itself on the very first night,” says Keeler.  “We just set up a simple watched folder and run all the files through pdfHarmony first,” he says.  “The number of exceptions has dropped substantially,” Keeler states.

The Blue Book is considering other uses for pdfHarmony to further improve their workflows.

The software includes the ability to report error messages as would be encountered by a user with Adobe Acrobat or Reader. pdfHarmony can process each file as it is submitted, with the logging output used to report any errors back to the user.  In this way, The Blue Book can help users be sure they are uploading files that are error-free, removing a major headache from The Blue Book’s daily work.

“pdfHarmony started saving us time and money on the first day,” says Keeler. “Now we’re looking to use pdfHarmony to improve user experience and reliability in each aspect of our bid room operations,” he concludes.

About The Blue Book

Since 1913, The Blue Book of Building and Construction Network has been the construction industry’s premier information source. The Blue Book, headquartered in Westchester County, New York, publishes regional construction directories in most major markets throughout the United States. Online, provides easy access to continually updated information for each of The Blue Book’s regional editions. Construction buyers and sellers also have free access to BB-Bid, The Blue Book’s online bid management system, complete with a private secure online plan room and integrated takeoff and markup tools. For more information, visit

About pdfHarmony

Designed for high-volume processing, pdfHarmony solves the growing problem of variable-quality PDF files.  pdfHarmony ensures that critical document streams and collections meet operational, legal, fiduciary or other requirements. Electronic documents and systems normalized by pdfHarmony suffer the minimum possible disruption due to damaged, corrupt or malformed PDF files.

pdfHarmony’s capabilities include:

  • Logs PDF files that are corrupt or damaged and cannot be recovered by Adobe Reader
  • Logs any PDF page display or rendering error that Adobe Reader would encounter
  • Repairs and saves PDFs as if Adobe Acrobat
  • Consolidates identical fonts, font-subsets and XObjects to safely reduce file-size without altering objects on the page
  • Harmonizes and converts input PDFs from any creation software into authentic Adobe PDFs
  • Programmatically sets PDF file metadata

Learn more about pdfHarmony!

The Office of Sponsored Projects at the University of Texas in Austin assists faculty researchers in securing grant funding from external sources and facilitates ongoing administrative tasks. This is a paperwork intensive process that requires meticulous record keeping to assure compliance with numerous university policies and government regulations.

The Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) needed to find a solution that they could build and maintain internally as the staff in charge of the campus-wide computing infrastructure could not allocate resources to handle departmental problems. The goal was to create a database driven repository that can be used to generate completed forms on demand. Building the repository and attaching a Web-based interface was straightforward enough, but satisfying the end users (the researchers) was more difficult.

OSP’s developers built a Web-based front end that allowed researchers or their staff to enter information on their projects. The Original OSP system took user input and generated batch print jobs at the campus reprographics center. This required sharing the printer resources with the rest of the campus community. While this solution helped streamline operations at the OSP, the end users were not happy with the slow turnaround—often hours and the inconvenience hiking across a large campus to retrieve the printed copies.

A second-generation system built was with the Acrobat SDK and Microsoft ASP Server pages, which required end users to have the full version of Acrobat to open the filled-in forms. Some departments on campus were reluctant to purchase Acrobat licenses, but that could have been overcome by creative budgeting. A more serious problem was cross platform compatibility. Although the solution worked well for users in the Windows environment, Mac-based users had problems with the ASP pages not rendering properly and piling up on their desktop. Given the large presence of Macintosh users at the university, additional development was necessary to improve platform independence.

The solution was a third generation system that minimized client-side compatibility issues. The system was built with Appligent’s server-based FDFMerge and Adobe’s FDF Toolkit which extracted content from the database, filled in Acrobat forms and flattened the form fields on the server. Users were now able to view the flattened forms with the ubiquitous Acrobat Reader software and ASP pages were no longer needed.

“The OSP Electronic Grant Proposal System was designed to take the bureaucratic burden off of our researchers and their staff. FDFMerge gave us the tool we needed to build a platform independent automated solution for managing forms.” Said Rich Bredahl Senior Systems Analyst who added, “This is just the beginning, the system will handle thousands of forms.”

The EGPS system has been in development for 2 years and handles all of the OSP reports, the Appligent/Acrobat module accounts for about 50 percent of the forms volume. The system currently handles only internal OSP forms but could be adapted to generate forms for external funders like the National Science Foundation.

Key Benefits

  • Server-side solution eliminates client platform issues
  • Flattened forms can be opened in Acrobat Reader

About the Office of Sponsored Projects, University of Texas at Austin

The Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) serves as the coordinating office for externally funded research projects submitted by The University of Texas at Austin. The OSP staff provides technical assistance to Principal Investigators during proposal preparation (budget, special instructions, etc.), serves as an information source for and monitors compliance with applicable University and sponsor policies and requirements, handles all administrative matters with sponsors, including contract negotiations, and serves as a liaison with the Contracts and Grants section of the Office of Accounting during the post-award phases of a project.

Core Business Solutions needed to develop a zero-footprint desktop application to automate the delivery of a forms-based solution for businesses seeking to certify their Quality Management Systems (QMS). After surveying the technical landscape a PDF-based forms application was selected as the best option for providing the system’s data interchange infrastructure without disrupting the customer’s existing workflow or confusing end users. Appligent was the logical choice to deliver a robust server-side processing solution.

Core Business Solutions’ DocBase Direct service helps companies achieve ISO 9000 certification for their QMS. One of the key requirements for obtaining QMS certification is maintaining an auditable set of comprehensive records to document your business process. It’s a complex undertaking that requires tracking all of the enterprise’s work rules, policies and procedures. In most organizations these records are collected via a paper forms-based reporting and filing system. The collection and organization of this data for QMS certification is not a trivial task. Compliance requires managing 20 different types of records covering all facets of operations, including the processes of managing the records.

While a worldwide industry has grown around assuring ISO 9000 compliance, it has centered on enterprise software installations. These systems are not practical for small or medium size businesses who often lack the technology support infrastructure to roll out and maintain sophisticated architectures. Core Business Solutions addressed this segment of the market by adopting an Application Service Provider (ASP) model and hosting a repository and workflow management system at its data center. Customers access DocBase Direct via a browser-based interface and use existing office software to generate PDF files based on predefined templates. The files are electronically transferred to the data center, and the form field data is parsed and stored in a dedicated SQL repository The system includes an ISO certified workflow and document control functions. Whenever a user needs to retrieve the form a PDF file is rebuilt on the fly by FDFMerge which populates the template with the field level information stored in the database.

Core Business Solutions initially investigated building a PDF processing solution from a set of commercially available programming libraries, but found the lack of technical support considering the scope of the development effort to be a deal breaker. Appligent’s FDFMerge proved easy to implement in a UNIX environment and telephone and e-mail technical support is included as part of Appligent’s regular maintenance agreement. Like all of Appligent’s server-based applications, FDFMerge can be easily integrated as part of a component-based architecture in a scripting environment. Black box processing of clearly defined input generates output with dazzling speed so it was simple for technical staff to build a personalized real time production system in record time.

“FDFMerge enabled us to develop an interactive forms workflow application very quickly with minimal effort,” said Scott Dawson president of Core Business Solutions. “FDFMerge saved us months of effort in developing the PDF handling components of the system and allowed our programmers to focus on the core document management functionality.”

About Core Business Solutions

Core Business Solutions provides internet-delivered automation solutions for ISO 9000 and related quality systems in manufacturing, service, technology and education sectors. It’s core product, DocBase Direct, simplifies the administration of the documents, forms and records required by international and national quality standards without the need for new technology infrastructure and related costs.In business since 1999, Core Business Solutions markets DocBase Direct under an ASP model. It’s more than 50 customers include Ingersoll-Rand and Pfizer South Africa as well as a growing number of manufacturing, technology, education and service firms.

Core Business Solutions’ corporate offices are in Lewisburg, PA with offices in Denver, Colorado and Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Key Benefits

  • Fast Development Time
  • Easy Scalability In The ASP Environment
  • Server-based Solution Requires Zero Footprint On The Client
  • Phone And E-mail Support Are Included In Standard Maintenance

ELDEC designs and manufactures electronic and electromechanical components for aerospace and defense applications. Its products are used on commercial and military aircraft in the U.S. and Europe, and its customers and suppliers all need to be aware of the latest specifications and maintenance bulletins.

The company developed an advanced product data management (PDM) system to manage a large volume of product information vital to the development and maintenance of its products. ELDEC needed to dynamically apply document control information from within its PDM system to validate each document’s version and identity for delivery in both print and electronic formats. The system also maintains and reports revision information and the approval history of engineering update releases. However the core PDM technology proved problematic in handling the high volume of complex print jobs the system generated and the company turned to a PDF-based solution utilizing Adobe Acrobat and Appligent’s AppendPDF Pro.

“It was easy to integrate Appligent’s components with the API layers of our PDM system and the eRoom application to develop a real time solution for dynamically assembling and delivering critical content to our suppliers and customers,” said Chandru Narayan, Product Information Architect. “Appligent offers top tier technical support and has proven to be a great partner. We are currently extending our Appligent based solution to other operating units in the company.”

Cross Media Publishing in Real Time

ELDEC’s PDM is key to maintaining communications with its customers and suppliers who need access to diverse content such as design specifications, business documents and engineering drawings. Each interaction must be customized as every customer or supplier has a unique contractual and operational relationship with ELDEC. Appligent’s AppendPDF Pro enables ELDEC to dynamically assemble all business, design and engineering documents retrieved from the database into a single PDF file and stamp the revision control and approval information onto the pages prior to delivery by an automated distribution system. Both print and electronic delivery are supported.

ELDEC has a network of over 70 printers throughout the organization. The ability to append the various documents into one file ensures that all the required information is sent to the printer at the same time, eliminating the need to keep track of single-page documents or having other print requests intermingled.

PDF documents are also distributed to external partners over the Internet via the e-Room collaborative environment. Each account has its own e-Room and finished PDFs are moved into the appropriate location on the server and partners are notified by E-mail. Users can log in to the system, retrieve the documents and interact with ELDEC by submitting change requests, suggestions or proposals to posted requests. The result is a direct conduit between ELDEC, its suppliers and its customers that improves the flow of information and enhances collaboration.

Key Benefits

  • Enabled automated document control stamping and printing of business documents
  • Eliminated printing issues with controlled documents
  • Ensured that users received the latest version of engineering and other business-critical documents
  • ROI was almost immediate by resolving issues of a key component in the document process
  • Integrating print and electronic delivery streamlined the distribution process

About ELDEC Corporation

ELDEC’s aerospace and defense products include position indication and control systems, battery charging systems, true mass fuel flow systems, and high- and low-voltage power supplies. Founded in 1957, ELDEC is headquartered in Lynnwood, WA. Its international operations include ELDEC France and ELDEC Electronics Ltd.

Z-App Streamlines Pre-App

Life insurance policy applications can sometimes be as long as 10 pages, making the information collection process arduous for agents. In order to simplify the process, Zurich Life (Schaumburg, IL, $403 billion in assets under management) developed an electronic pre-application process for its agents. The new application is an evolution of a previous fax-based process. After agents faxed information, members of Zurich Life’s TeleLife organization would enter the data into the company’s client/server-based application, and a call center rep would collect the rest of the information from the potential policyholders. The system was convenient for agents, but pre-applications often had to be faxed back because handwritten information was illegible or information was missing.

Paperwork Is Zapped

In the second quarter of 2001 Zurich Life came up with a solution called Z-App. This would electronically enable the submission of pre-applications by agents, eliminating the need to enter data manually, according to Sean Carroll, e-business development project leader, Zurich Life. Z-App is designed to take the agent-submitted pre-applications online, at which point data is sent to Zurich’s policy administration system. A PDF e-mail is generated and sent to TeleLife mail services, acting as a record for auditing purposes and for insertion into application packages when printed. A confirmation e-mail is also sent to the writing agent. Also as part of the plan, TeleLife management receives an overall summary e-mail for accurate record-keeping of submission numbers. General agents receive an e-mail notifying them of the activities of associated writing agents. A PDF of the pre-application also is sent to the call center within five minutes of submission, which allows the TeleLife call center reps to call potential policyholders and collect the remainder of the policy application data.

Appligent’s (Lansdowne, PA) FDFMerge was chosen for the project’s PDF-generation process and was installed during Z-App’s alpha development phase. Also during this phase, a proprietary record format and adapter were implemented in a component-based request handler in the Web application. The data that is sent to the policy administration system goes via the proprietary record format.

Another part of this phase was the team’s collection of business rules from the TeleLife organization. These rules ensure that electronic pre-applications submitted by agents include all of the relevant information. These were built into the Z-App Web interface.

TeleLife’s submission team conducted alpha testing on the functionality of the portal during this phase. After the three-week testing phase, the system was declared a success, reports Carroll. The group’s marketing manager, however, felt that the application’s presentation wasn’t good enough to put into the hands of Z-App’s eventual users—the agents. Usability features were added to the application so that it was more intuitive for agents. It was then beta tested by two agencies to ensure it was something that both writing and general agents could use, according to Carroll.

Z-App runs on a Unix operating system in a Java, ACORD (Pearl River, NY) XMLife and IBM’s (Armonk, NY) WebSphere environment. Currently Zurich Life is working on an XML interface to the Z-App system and has applied for certification with ACORD. The interface will enable acceptance of feeds from third-party agency management systems.

Also on the docket for this year, reports Carroll, is a plan to add a workflow approval process to Z-App so that general agents have control over their writing agents’ use of Z-App.

By Julie Gallagher, InsuranceTech May 30, 2002

(From: Technology Strategies for Insurance Leaders)

Like many such agencies, the Victorian DHS owns documents ranging from corporate transaction records to child protection cases. From financial and personal details to legal advice and other categories of protected and privileged information, the 1982 Victorian Freedom of Information Act requires the deletion of exempt material from documents prior to any release.

“We’ve used Redax to meet our FOIA obligations since 2005,” says Marc Dobber, Senior Policy Advisor for the Department of Health. “Before Redax, information protection was a slow, labor intensive and paper wasting process. Redax’s on screen markup allowed us to reduce our paper consumption by something in the order of 75% immediately.”

The Department uses many of the professional features of Redax everyday to get their work done.While they make some use of automated markup list files, due to the possibility of typographical error in original material, automated redaction is always supplemented by reading and manual mark-up.

“We compared Redax to other products, but none of the others currently available have the rich range of features that Redax does; in particular the document management aspects and the capacity to create palettes,” Dobber says. “It was also good to know just how much you stand behind your product. Communication with support and sales staff has always been cordial and helpful. Your support team outshines many much larger corporations’ offerings.”

Redax is not the only Appligent Document Solutions product used by the Department. “We have also used Appligent’s StampPDF Plug-in to allow for a common stamp template to be circulated and used. The advantage is that it sits in the same platform as Redax, and uses the same logic and is readily customizable,” Dobber says.

About the Victorian Department of Human Services

Responsible for community services and housing, the Victorian Department of Human Services is one of eleven state government departments in Victoria, Australia, with over 11,000 staff across 6 divisions and 8 regions. Visit the Victorian Department of Human Services website!

About Redax 5.0

Released in March 2011, Redax 5.0 celebrates 14 years of leadership in electronic document security with a major update to the most reliable and capable redaction technology for PDF files. While Adobe includes basic redaction in Acrobat Professional, it’s not as full-featured or workflow-friendly as Redax, nor does Adobe offer a server-based redaction solution like Redax Enterprise Server.

Thousands of national, state and local government agencies, law firms, corporations and institutions world-wide protect sensitive information with Redax everyday.

Redax will NOT work with the free Adobe Reader.

Foster Wheeler is a global engineering, construction and project management company with 30 offices worldwide. FW serves diverse industries including oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, power generation and chemicals at locations around the world. Foster Wheeler’s e-procurement facilities, known as eprocure, have been developed to provide their global procurement organizations with a unified window to carry out their activities, reduce costs, optimize cycle times, leverage corporate purchasing power and continue to be at the forefront of technology in the 21st Century. Eprocure also allows information to be shared so global strategic purchasing decisions can be made, and knowledge pooled for the benefit of Foster Wheeler and their clients. Access to eprocure has become Foster Wheeler’s standard method of operation.

The company’s Global eProcurement Team utilized standard Internet protocols and Appligent’s server-based PDF tools to create an automated and secure environment for various procurement activities. Eprocure continues to expand and improve by further developing links to various legacy systems to provide a fully integrated global solution.

“Appligent’s command line driven products were easy to use and integrate with the ColdFusion scripting environment,” said Technical Project Leader Theresa Temple who added “the development time was really fast and bug free and development of the workflow/approval phase of project only took 27 days.”

FW built a Web application that modeled workflow for procurement documents, and integrated Appligent’s AppendPDF and StampPDF Batch applications to facilitate automating the approval process for commitment documents, e.g., purchase orders and letters of intent. The generation of digitized signature stamps was key to ensure commitment documents could be legally enforced if necessary. Signatures are captured by designated personnel. The digitized signatures are then added to the user profiles of those users who need to sign commitment documents. Once the signature files are entered in the system authorized users are able to click on a button on a Web page that activates the server-side StampPDF Batch application which applies the signature to the PDF page.

The buyer attaches commitment documents, such as purchase orders in PDF format, and selects the approval workflow. When the buyer submits the commitment document to the signature workflow Appligent’s AppendPDF automatically creates an approval signatures page which is attached to the commitment document. StampPDF Batch applies a purchasing entity stamp to the signature page to identify the operating company that is submitting the commitment document to the supplier/contractor. As each person electronically signs the commitment document their digitized signature is applied to the signature page by StampPDF Batch.

The workflow routes the commitment document to the next step in the process. The first person on the list of signatories receives an E-mail notification advising them that there is a document awaiting their signature. They enter the e-procurement web-site and access the documents. After examining the paperwork and the supporting documents the reviewer can approve or reject the request. Stamp-PDF Batch applies the signature of the person approving the document and the next person in the signature list receives an E-mail and so on.

“The way the Appligent technology appends the signature page to the original document, making it an integral part of that document provides Procurement with the functionality we needed to meet legal and business requirements.” – Caroline Johnson, FW’s eProcurement Project Manager.

The combination of Appligent’s server-based products and internal development resources enabled Foster Wheeler to promptly meet it’s project goals while keeping costs in check. Foster Wheeler achieved 100% ROI within the first few months after implementation.

Key Benefits 

  • Electronic signatures eliminate the need to courier documents around the world and speeds up the deployment of the documents to the suppliers/contractors
  • The integral file produced by AppendPDF meets the legal and business requirements of the procurement users.
  • Rapid return on investment (ROI).

About Foster Wheeler LTD 

Foster Wheeler is a global organization that provides engineering services and products to a broad range of industries, including the petroleum and gas, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, chemical processing, and power-generation industries. These services include design, engineering, and construction, as well as project management, research, plant operation, and environmental services.

The Yearbook of the United Nations has been the primary reference work on the Organization since 1946. It details the many activities of the Organization and its organs, programs and bodies, as they are carried out in all corners of the globe.

Produced for the United Nations by Document Solutions, this valuable collection of more than fifty years worth of Yearbooks is available on CD-ROM.

The “Collection”, on two CD-ROMs, includes all 53 volumes of the United Nations Yearbook published to date. Users of the CD-ROMs can access the 59,472 pages of text and indices in a familiar environment. The Index search enables users to follow an issue across volumes, tracking the many fundamental changes that the Organization has seen over the years. Even more specific full text searches are possible in any particular Yearbook. The familiar Yearbook format has been retained to make it as easy to browse, as it is to search for specific information.

In recognizing the broad audience for the United Nations Yearbook, the CD-ROMs have been designed to work in Windows, Macintosh, Linux and UNIX environments. The Collection is also available in two versions, one designed for the single user, which can be used on personal computers, and the other designed for use on computer networks. This latter version will make it possible for institutions, such as libraries or government offices, to make the Collection accessible to anyone that has access to their networks.

Key Features of the United Nations Yearbook Collection

  • Includes every volume published (1946-2000) – a total of 54 volumes on just two CD-ROMs
  • The Collection can be searched across all available volumes using an index search
  • Any particular Yearbook can be searched using the full-text search
  • Bookmark feature provides instant access to chapters within volumes
  • All volumes presented in this collection are in Portable Document Format (PDF) and are identical to those in print format
  • The CDs work in Windows, Macintosh, Linux and UNIX environments

The Yearbook is an indispensable reference tool for the research community, diplomats, government officials and anyone seeking information on the UN system and its related organizations.


Conversion of entire publication history to online content


Creation of new electronic assets for deployment through online hosting and linking arrangements


Since 1932, Annual Reviews has offered comprehensive collections of critical reviews written by leading scientists in 29 distinct disciplines.  A nonprofit organization, the Annual Reviews mission is to provide the worldwide scientific community with a synthesis of primary research literature. Their publications are among the most highly cited in scientific literature, ranking within the top ten publications for their respective disciplines.

In 2002, Annual Reviews decided to move the entire corpus of their publication history online. Spanning 70 years and over 475,000 pages, Annual Reviews selected Document Solutions, Inc. (now Appligent Document Solutions) to perform the conversion project.


  • The highest possible scanning accuracy.
  • Color and grayscale images to be preserved with minimal loss of quality.
  • Smallest-possible files to facilitate on-line deployment to users around the world
  • Each page to be “branded” with an Annual Reviews logo and link to the Annual Reviews website


Using the PDF MultiResolution process invented by Document Solutions, Inc. specifically for academic journals conversion, DSI completed over 98% of the project in 3 months. Once the vast bulk of the legacy content was processed, DSI delivered a comprehensive inventory database to assist Annual Reviews staff in locating missing volumes. In six months, all index data collection and data-processing was complete, and the entire Annual Reviews publication history was ready to go online.

Benefits from using Document Solutions Inc.

  • DSI’s specialized archive-grade processes ensured quality.
  • DSI’s MultiResolution process integrated over 5,400 individual color and half-tone images into over 475,000 bitonal (black and white) pages.
  • DSI’s high-quality scanning and MultiResolution process ensured the smallest possible PDFs.
  • DSI added logos and weblinks to each page.
  • DSI provided concept development and operational consulting in a variety of areas derived from DSI’s advanced expertise with the PDF format.


“We were initially skeptical that our older content would have any value online at all,” says Ike Burke, Director of Publications for Annual Reviews. “Already, we’re seeing a couple of hundred downloads per month of even the oldest content – articles from the 1930s and 1940s! For quality, cost-effectiveness and dedication to their client, I cannot say enough about how wonderful it was working with DSI!”