Microfilm Scanning Technology Improves Customer Experience for Conversion Services Provider


Indianapolis-based Prescient Information Services is a provider of solutions in document imaging, electronic document imaging (EDM) and electronic workflow for clients nationwide. Highly effective in providing clients a full range of data conversion, maintenance and support services to improve the way information is processed, Prescient’s approach to offering such solutions includes an in-depth review of the prospective client’s project requirements and then outlining a comprehensive project plan that is customized to the client’s needs. Prescient manages customer projects from start to finish, and its services include everything from application development to data conversion and migration.

Prescient has been providing quality products and services for over sixteen years, and has extensive experience across multiple industries, to include; government, banking, insurance, healthcare and manufacturing among others. Through strong alliances and partnerships, Prescient’s commitment to its customers is to make projects come in as planned and complete as scheduled – all while meeting cost expectations.

Prescient offers microfilm digitization among its host of services, and as part of its mission to actively grow long term relationships, understand customer’s unique goals and consistently provide the best conversion services possible, Prescient made a choice to acquire the very best technology available on the market today to employ in its microfilm conversion services efforts.

The Challenge

Much of the technology being employed in conversion services efforts today is outdated and slow. The resulting image quality of the film or fiche images that need conversion to a digital format using outdated machines and software can be less than acceptable. Image enhancement features are few, and camera and lighting technology are sub-par, so at times the resulting image looks as bad as the image on the film that was captured many, many years before! Among other challenges, this hinders the process to achieve good OCR results and full-text search capability – defeating the mission to make documents searchable online and streamlining business processes for the future. Much manual review and data entry is needed after the scan process to make this possible with older technology, making many conversion projects cost prohibitive.

Recently Prescient made the decision to update and potentially replace some of its existing film and fiche scanners with newer technology, in order to provide customers with the very best turnaround times and resulting digital images possible. After much research and live demonstrations of product capabilities, Prescient chose to purchase two FlexScan 400 scanners from nextScan. Prior to the nextScan machines, Prescient had to use separate scanners to process film, fiche or aperture cards. No one machine had the capability to handle all three formats. This meant higher maintenance and staff costs to maintain and run multiple scanners.

The Solution

The FlexScan 400 scanner with NextStar PLUS workflow software provides a complete package of hardware, software, training and support to provide the best solution for the conversion of film, fiche and aperture cards to the highest quality digital images possible. The FlexScan scanning solution includes the scanner, PC, high resolution lens, automatic film carrier, NextStar PLUS workflow software, on-site training and long term support. Also offered with this solution are an optional expanded digital storage (RSD) and an automatic fiche loader that can provide continuous and unattended scanning. The FlexScan 400 can handle many unique properties of film, fiche and ap- erture cards such as title bar information, variable size documents, multiple fiche files, user customizable indexing, deskewing of images and multiple output formats. The FlexScan scans 16mm roll film at speeds up to 400 pages per minute, and microfiche at 190 pages per minute. Its patented LuminTec stroboscopic illumination system for stop motion scanning produces higher resolution images based on its unique LED design, and the NextStar PLUS workflow software guarantees complete image capture and detection. Capture and output is simultaneous, and the NextStar software can provide up to 12 bit output images for specialized applications, enabling even higher OCR accuracy or archival storage.

The Results

“Before evaluating and deciding upon the FlexScan 400 scanners from nextScan, I was contending with running multiple different machines to convert film, fiche and aperture cards. As one can imagine, this requires a good amount of maintenance and human intervention from an operations standpoint,” said Darrin King, Director of Conversion Services for Prescient. “Our customers many times provide us jobs that include some film, some fiche and at times aperture cards too – they are mixed. Having the processing capabilities to handle an entire customer job on one scanner is amazing. It is as simple as switching a module on the scanner and we are off and running. The scan and output speed of the FlexScan is far superior to our other machines, and the resulting image quality is much better. The multitude of capabilities of the NextStar software included with the FlexScan enable my operators to manipulate images when needed to provide the very best final results to our customers. Service and support since the purchase of the scanners has been spot-on. I like the idea that the same company that manufactures the scanner and develops the software provides the direct support. This gives me a great level of comfort with my choice to go with nextScan. As a result of incorporating nextScan’s technology in to our business, our customers are seeing even better quality job results, we are able to easily and quickly cost justify the purchase through the ability to now take on more jobs based on better speeds and QA capabilities, and we got to get rid of two of our older scanners!”

Darrin King
Director of Conversion Services, Prescient

About nextScan

nextScan is a developer of leading edge technology for the micrographics conversion and document management industries. nextScan’s innovative products are designed and built with a simplicity and functionality that aim to increase user production and lower overall cost for scanning film and fiche. nextScan’s lead engineers and manage- ment staff have over 80 years of combined micrographics development experience. nextScan staff has created many of the microfilm industry’s cutting-edge developments such as ribbon scanning technology, NDNP development, image processing algorithms and workflow techniques for film, patents for light line strobe technology, row scan, and specialized film transport systems. nextScan scanners have increased production and lowered cost for customers scanning film and fiche, including Oregon Department of Justice, Preservation Resources, Archives and many others.


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