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Zero Code Manufacturing Plant Floor to SAP Integration

Automate - Simplify - Mobilize


This large multi-national pulp and paper company is engaged in the manufacture of a broad variety of quality packaging paperboard and containerboard products which include linerboard, duplex board as well as pulp. They purchased two paper mills from a pulp and paper company that was already using the NLINK® Server for its Manufacturing Execution System (MES) to SAP interfaces.

After the mill purchase, they were impressed with the SAP ECC integration method and decided to expand these SAP data interfaces to include their own existing facilities, as well as extend the configuration to include several other business systems. They also preferred to receive training on NLINK’s zero-code configuration tool so they could create and customize these interfaces on their own schedule.

Project Scope

The manufacturing plant floor to SAP integration already supported the following master data and transactional data downloads from SAP to the MES:

  • Inventory Movement Download
  • Process Order Download
  • Transfer Order Download
  • Shipment Download

and the following transaction uploads from MES back to SAP:

  • Production Order Status Posting
  • Goods Movement Posting

The challenge was to link many more systems and add several new SAP interfaces.

    The Solution

    At the last count, this customer has linked eleven business systems through the NLINK Server, with the bulk of the interfaces being to and from SAP and the Honeywell Optivision MES. They use standard and custom IDocs and RFCs to communicate with SAP, and a combination of SQL and Flat File APIs to communicate with Optivision.

    NLINK Plant Floor SAP Integration Engine

    The other business systems include a mixture of on-premise installations and cloud-hosted service applications. Interface methods for these systems include flat file transfer, REST APIs with XML and/or JSON payloads, other Web Service APIs and email. This customer has made great use of “common logic” configuration that can be shared across interfaces. For example, all the flat file interfaces use the same polling, error management and archiving configuration, shared across several different business systems. This is a vast improvement over custom code which frequently uses replicated cut-and-paste code when it is not part of a comprehensive integration framework like NLINK.


    The NLINK Server is an incredibly powerful and flexible manufacturing plant floor industrial middleware for SAP and other business systems, boasting many application-agnostic Connectors in addition to its flagship SAP Connectors. Zero code plant floor integration is completely configuration-based through an intuitive visual environment that requires no end-user programming and no custom code. This allows function business users to perform complex manufacturing plant floor integration tasks and provides a scalable and maintainable integration solution as business processes and installed applications inevitably change over time.