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BIT - September 2004

Solution from Janich & Klass at the Germanischer Lloyd (GL)

Electronic Ship Files

Day by day, several thousands of documents reach the Record Office of Germanischer Lloyd (a famous ship classification society) - the entire documentation of the Traveling Fleet. In order to cope with this paper flood, they introduced an EDM- and Archive System. The Scan Software DpuScan from Janich & Klass serves for the fast capture of these records.

The Germanischer Lloyd (GL) with their headquarters in Hamburg was founded in 1867; today they are one of the leading, internationally renowned classification companies. The enterprise executes safety-technical checks and certifications of ships and their equipment, basing on their own technical rules and prescriptions, as also on national and international laws and prescriptions. From the total of more than 2100 employees, about 1000 are working in Hamburg, where also the information-technological center of the enterprise is found.

Also the Record Office is situated in Hamburg, where the entire documentation of the Traveling Fleet is archived, including all inspection reports that come from the regularly executed inspections by the GL, worldwide. The paper archive exploded - over the years, four kilometers of files were heaped up.

Germanischer Lloyd inspects ships for their operational safety. In order to digitize and to archive the documentations, they utilize Scan Capture solution DpuScan from Janich & Klass.

Introduction of an EDM System with Capture

During a re-organization of the documentation department, an EDM-System (Engineering Data Management-System) was implemented in the year 2000. By the end of 2002, the archive system Documentum came on top. For digitalizing their documents and drawings, GL purchased scanners from OcÚ and Fujitsu. In this connection, they had to select also a matching capture system. The capture solution should manage the entire daily mail entry from the "Traveling Fleet" range, about 6000 documents, within four hours. Documents might also contain several pages and have different formats. Furthermore, they have different paper qualities and colors. The future capture system should preprocess the images automatically, so it must be able to do autorotation, to execute deskew, to correct lateral offset and to filter out color. Documents consisting of several pages should be combined to one Multipage-Tif file. GL engaged the Dr. Ernst Consultec who executed a benchmark test with three systems, where DpuScan from Janich & Klass was the clear winner.

Document Capture by Barcode Identification

After the pilot phase, the system was put in productive operation. Before they are scanned, the documents receive a barcode with an unequivocal document number. Via this barcode, a mail entry and its contained documents are linked in the EDM system. "We are convinced mainly by the high speed with which DpuScan is able to process also a high document volume like it occurs here with us", Detlev Salzmann explains, director of the Record Office at the GL.

While the capture system was primarily purchased for digitizing the inspection reports, it is nowadays used for other purposes, as last year the GL integrated the electronic report capture tool TRON in their IT infrastructure. This tool is installed on the notebooks of the inspectors; they establish their inspection reports already in digital form. Instead, the scanners at GL that are equipped with DpuScan, now capture, for example, annotations, faxes and letter correspondence that belong to a ship file, same as the inspection reports. Furthermore, material certifications are captured that come from specimen tests for new projects. These certifications come to Hamburg from all over the world, where they are captured, indexed, and stored in a database. The database actually contains about five million material inspection certifications.


"Our dream to simply through away our huge paper archive could not be realized", Mr. Jensen sums up the introduction of the EDMS at the Germanischer Lloyd. "Too many legal prescriptions, worldwide, mainly reliability laws, still claim that the records are stored in paper form. Therefore we actually have two archives - the electronic one and the paper-archive." Nevertheless, GL has advantage from digitizing the incoming mail and ship files: Die employees themselves no longer work with the paper based, but with the electronic file, leading to considerable time savings. Also, it is possible for several colleagues to access the same file, at one time. The engineer in the branch offices has the advantage that he can directly access the electronic ship file via the Documentum Web-Client, without spending waiting time.

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