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1) Mobile EDP workstations in the Congo

1. The Customer

The Zetes Group in Brussels is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of identification and mobility solutions linking the automatic identification of goods or people with mobile communication facilities and data processing.
ZETES Pass is a business unit within Zetes that specialises in bio-metric recognition systems. In May 2005 the company was successful in the award of a United Nations tender for the supply of 10.000 mobile, biometric registration systems to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Contract background: in order to prepare for the elections scheduled to take place in the Congo this year, the first requirement was to compile a register of the electors. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is, in terms of the area which it covers, almost seven times larger than Germany – and this meant that 10.000 mobile EDP workstations would therefore be needed to ensure the fastest possible registration of the region’s population. Because the country does not have a guaranteed power supply, it was necessary for each system to be capable of operating for eight hours without mains power. A further crucial point was the fact that the poor condition of the majority of roads (only a few hundred kilometres are asphalted) made robust transport packaging essential.

2. The Mission

Zarges’ commission from Zetes was to provide secure packaging for the 10.000 workstations – in each case consisting of a laptop, a printer, a fingerprint scanner and a webcam to take passport photographs, as well as consumables and additional batteries. Reliable protection for the commercial standard EDP components against vibration and impact during transport as well as against damp, dust, heat and even theft was of paramount importance. In addition, the mobile workstations would need to be set up quickly so that they were ready for use within as short a time as possible.


A logistics challenge: production of the 10.000 “Voters’ Kits” in Belgium. Ready to be shipped by air to Kinshasa

3. The Solution

Together with our partner, ISL Schaumstoff -Technik GmbH – one of the largest manufacturers of foam inserts in Germany – ZARGES managed to find a timely and successful solution for this tricky task. ISL fitted the K450 cases with moulded foam inserts that were precisely tailored to the components used.
The moulded foam insert, made from expanded polypropylene (EPP), was made up of two sections:
The bottom section – which was the container for consumables such as paper, ink cartridges, blank CDs as well as the extra battery – remained permanently in the aluminium chest.


  • The top section containing the actual workstation was constructed in the form of a tray. This meant that it could be set up and dismantled in a very short space of time.
  • The use of the moulded foam construction section made it possible to deliver the large number of items involved within a short-term period of 8 weeks as agreed.

„ZARGES has met our high requirements to the full.”
Johan Rommelare, Zetes

4. Special Technical Features


Using commercially available electronic devices in a tropical climate calls for a reliable cooling system to be incorporated. For this reason, when it came to the design of the foam insert, the engineers took into account not only stability but also made provision for generously proportioned air supply and discharge channels.


  • In the interests of streamlining the installation and wiring of the components, an easily accessible cable conduit was fitted.
  • A plug accessible from the outside of the case enabled the battery to be charged with the lid closed. This meant additional protection against manipulation or theft.
  • The development work on the foam insert was carried out with the aid of 3D CAD drawings. The resulting improvement in transparency made it possible to reduce the development time.


To ensure transportation to Kinshasa on time, an Antonov was used in addition to 4 Type B-474 aircraft.
An average of 1.700 sets per aircraft were loaded for shipment.



Transport conditions in the Congo mean higher expectations in terms of packaging quality.
Most of the goods were transported via waterways.

5. Interview with Johan Rommelare, Zetes Project Manager


Z-Profi Forum: What were the most important reasons for choosing ZARGES as far as Zetes were concerned?Johan Rommelare: First of all, schedule reliability. We were under major time pressures on this project. It was essential for the first 2.500 systems to be available in Kinshasa within four weeks of receipt of order and for all 10.000 kits to be there after a further four weeks. We were able to comply with this – thanks, too, to the fact that we were able to rely on our supplier.
Z-Profi Forum: In retrospect, how would you rate cooperation with ZARGES?
Johan Rommelare: In retrospect, I can tell you that the specifications were met by ZARGES in full. There were no instances of transport damage or overheating in relation to any of the 10.000 systems used.