BIT - September 2012

Microform: Xino S700 high-performance scanner

A new operating concept

Quality is an important aspect in the capturing sector. Disturbances in the paper flow have a considerable influence on productivity. Together with its sister company, the scanner manufacturer Microform, Janich & Klass has now developed the Xino-Capture software, a completely new operating concept for Microform’s Xino high-performance document scanner. It enables complete operation and remote control of the capture software directly on the scanner’s touch screen.

In the capturing sector, measures to reduce costs must be assessed with particular care. Fast devices alone will not necessarily lead to the desired result – quality is an essential aspect. Errors in document scanning lead to a high effort in correction and, besides high costs, create further problems if the expected documents can be processed late or not at all. Disruptions in the paper flow are therefore imperative to correct, as they can significantly affect throughput.

Operation at a scanning workstation normally always requires the operation of two devices: the computer with the capture software and the scanner. This is where the concept Janich & Klass has realised with the Xino-Capture software for the Xino scanner comes in. On the one hand, it uses customised user profiles on the scanner hardware and, on the other hand, it offers extended communication between hardware and capture software.

Instead of the usual keys and a small LCD display, the Xino scanner from Microform has a colour touch screen for operation and configuration. Configuration includes basic settings such as paper ejection and feeder settings as well as individual adjustments to the user interface so that all relevant functions can be reached quickly and the interface remains clear.

Configurations of the operating elements are saved as user profiles and can be easily saved via standard USB memory. The user can now select the appropriate configuration via the USB memory, which he briefly inserts at the scanner for logging in, and then gets exactly the operating elements he needs loaded onto the touch screen. Some buttons are used for direct control of scanner functions and others for remote control of the capture software. Certain settings, such as the size of the stack, can be selected by simply pressing the button.

Scan single sheets slower

During configuration, all frequently used items are selected for the corresponding screen. For example, a start icon is configured here. Simply touching this icon starts the scanning process. On the computer side, the already started capture software accepts the command and starts scanning. There is no need to interact with the computer’s controls.

However, the advantage is not limited to starting and stopping the scanning process. The solution pays special attention to handling scanning errors – a paper jam, for example. Here, the scanner clearly indicates where in the machine the paper jam was detected. Here, too, the controls to be displayed are individually stored in the user profile.

A typical action is first to empty the machine. Touching the “Empty Scanner” button switches on the transport of the machine so that all sheets in the machine are ejected. In most cases, it is then unnecessary to open the unit and the interruption of the workflow is shorter. The paper can be reloaded and scanned.

Because in such cases it is sometimes necessary to reduce the scanning speed for rescanning the problematic document, a single scan can be performed at reduced speed. Afterwards, scanning is continued at the normal speed. Currently, only the Xino scanner offers this option.

The handling of such an error can be carried out completely on the device; the capture programme does not require any user input for the entire action. Optimised error handling, with no need to open the unit and change controls, makes the work smoother and offers fewer error possibilities.

The most common error, however, will be the double feed. Here, a distinction must be made between a genuine double feed and a document that emits a double feed warning due to glued-on documents, although the sheet was actually fed correctly. Depending on the setting, the scanner will scan the sheet, eject it correctly and then not feed in any more sheets at first. The error message is displayed on the touch screen. In the left-hand area, the relevant scanned image is displayed in a thumbnail view. The operator can now compare the image with the ejected sheet. If it can be clearly recognised here that there is no double feed despite the existing message, the image can simply be transferred to the scanning software with the “Accept image” button or otherwise discarded. After that, scanning of the stack is continued.

Controlling software via the scanner

The use of so-called functions goes one step further. When such a function is called, the scanner sends a message to the Xino-Capture software. This can then be used, for example, to select the scan profile. Thus, far-reaching controls are possible solely via the scanner’s operating elements. The aim is to transfer as much user interaction as possible to the scanner, so that the ergonomics of operating the entire system are improved and the error rate is reduced.

The scanner is usually delivered as a complete system. Xino-Capture is already included in the basic configuration. This allows complex capture processes to be designed even in the basic version. Xino-Capture can also be extended by activating functions and using plug-ins. With the other available modules, complex, multi-stage capture scenarios with index and post-processing stations can be realised.

“The operation of a high-performance batch scanner from a PC has the disadvantage that the documents are processed at the scanner,” says Dietmar Janich, Managing Director of Janich & Klass Computertechnik GmbH. “With ready-configured workflows based on Xino-Capture, complete operation at the scanner and thus remote control of the capture software is much more effective.”

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