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PDF Tools AG
Status: Full Member
Country: CH
Sector: All industries
Joined at: Sep 06
Website: http://www.pdf-tools.com/

Linked User
Hans Bärfuss
Nadine Schuppisser
Ulrich Altorfer
Arianna Battagliese

Automated PDF/A conversion with the inclusion of a digital signature at the City of Zurich’s Magistrate’s Office

The magistrate’s office is responsible for carrying out penal proceedings for violations occurring within the city limits that are reported to the magistrate’s office by the police. If the fine is paid then the matter is considered as settled and no further action is taken. If not, the police report the matter to the town magistrate’s office.

Application Requirements

Between 2,000 and 2,500 documents are fed into the DMS at the city’s magistrate’s office every day. Of these, around 1,000 to 1,200 documents are created by the interface to the ZVO (central authority for traffic and other fines) or the scan interface TIFF4 Format. The remaining documents are generated internally at the magistrate’s office. They are either exported as TIFF4 from a Winword client or filed as a Winword file and converted to TIFF4 at a later date.

PDF/A is the format of choice at the magistrate’s office for long-term storage and the right format for electronically signed documents. As the employees should not be responsible for converting their documents into PDF/A, the idea was to assign the task to a specialized application.

The 3-Heights™ Document Converter offers a standardized interface to the specialized application in the form of the SOAP web service. When input levels are high the load can be distributed over a number of conversion processes running in parallel. This is made possible by four local terminal sessions running in parallel.


The 3-Heights™ Document Converter was installed on the virtual 64-bit Windows 2008 R2 server provided by OIZ, the city’s IT service. Each update and configuration change is tested in an integration environment before it is transferred to the productive environment.

During the implementation phase the magistrate’s office was able to fall back on the extensive trouble-shooting documentation made available by the 3-Heights™ Document Converter in debug mode. The magistrate’s office was able to fix the error with a subsequent workaround.

Customers benefit

The 3-Heights™ Document Converter is used at the magistrate’s office as a central process in the document management system. It processes document conversion and signing in the background. The user only notices the change through the PDF icon and the fact that the PDF viewer now opens instead of the TIFF viewer.

The specialized application knows the origin and status of every document and can carry out the conversion to PDF/A independently at any time. After conversion it decides whether a document requires an electronic signature. If so, the PDF/A document can be forwarded to the signature appliance via a web service; the sophisticated official signature and time stamp are applied without the user needing to enter a PIN. Qualified PDF/A documents to be signed off by SuisseID are presented to the legal practitioner together with a prompt to enter a PIN.

View complete success story: Automated PDF/A conversion with the inclusion of a digital signature at the City of Zurich’s Magistrate’s Office

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