epoScan is the product that made it possible for the EPO to scan the huge amount of dossiers contained in its archives. It is closely integrated with ePHOENIX and is able to scan IP documents such as applications, patents, trade marks and publications, as well as other types of document.

epoScan is a true stand-alone Windows application. Developed using Visual Basic it will run on all current Windows versions.

The default configuration is a scan station, a station for quality assurance (QA) (and possibly CD creation) and a file server. The scan station allows the operator to control the scanner and the scan process, eg to determine where the file server temporarily stores the images. The QA station is used to check the images and if necessary to apply image enhancement. epoScan has been tested with servers on Windows NT.

However, since the server is available as a network drive, other systems will serve equally well. Unlimited configurations of scan stations, QA stations and file servers can be made. It is also possible to run the total configuration on a single machine.

Hardware requirements
The system requirements of the scan station will vary with, among other factors, volume, desired throughput and desired document quality. In normal situations, at 10 000 pages a day, a Pentium III or compatible machine will be sufficient, presuming the scanner is powerful enough. However, in each specific situation the number of scan stations and/or the system requirements of the scan station can be optimised. The two aspects will influence each other. In very demanding situations, for example duplex batches scanned in landscape and image enhancement applied during scanning, a machine with a more powerful processor might be needed.

Configuration options
Thanks to its simple yet powerful interface epoScan is easy to use. User access rights and features, different scanning modes and different moments and types of QA and image enhancements are all fully configurable.

Scanning modes
An index file is made of all of the batches to be scanned. This is used to detect errors. epoScan provides two different types of scanning using an index file:

Stop - stops scanning when an error is detected within a batch and waits for user intervention. The operator can then decide to reject a package.

Non-stop - starts scanning and continues until the last page without any control. After scanning an auto-index process is automatically started. It compares the index file with what has been scanned. If errors are detected the operator can correct them or reject packages.

It is possible to scan without an index file. This is called the "no control" mode.

Quality assurance (QA)
At different times various types of QA and image enhancements can be done. Quality errors on the images are detected based on parameters that can be set by the user.

QA can be done:

  • During scanning or CD creation - the operator can select "None", "Deskew only" or a selection of these image enhancement facilities (for instance "Deskew", "Black border removal", "Black hole removal").
  • As a separate batch process - the operator selects the batch(es) and applies the selected QA.

epoScan fully integrates with ePHOENIX. During scanning, page and document counts are cross-checked against the indexing data provided by ePHOENIX to ensure completeness and correctness. CDs are created and used both for legal purposes and for transferring the images to ePHOENIX. On CD creation, pages and documents are counted again to ensure the number of images scanned equals the number of images stored. This total control mechanism, which ensures completeness and correctness, has been audited and legally approved.

Product components and capabilities
epoScan is the first stage in the electronic processing and storing of IP documents. It enables documents to be scanned and output to be produced either in a format that meets the requirements of ePHOENIX, or in a common format in which any other document handling system can import the files.

To support the latter, "scan to PDF" is an option. Image types such as JPEG and TIFF are supported as well. epoScan can generate image files, images and indexes, or CDs containing images and indexes.