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January 2004

Cad-Capture helps Steve Allen Originals marry old techniques with new technologies

Cad-Capture, based in Blackburn, Lancashire, is working in partnership on a CADCAM project with Steve Allen Originals (SAO) – a high class designer and manufacturer of solid wood furniture.

SAO’s designs include its popular Gothic, Acorn, Mackintosh and original children’s furniture pieces which are sold in many shops on the high street. Its children’s furniture, such as the best-selling Princess Bed, is designed with safety in mind, featuring rounded edges and doors which help prevent fingers from being trapped.

The company required Cad-Capture to implement its expertise in CAD by vectorising its hand-drawn designs so they could be directly utilised in SAO’s CAM facility. The purpose being that the Computer

Numerically Controlled (CNC) machine would mechanically carve out the intricate designs and therefore, increase productivity of the furniture.

In the short-term, Steve Allen, the Chairman of SAO visited Cad-Capture and worked closely with the CAD technicians so that the designs could be discussed and evolved in real-time. The long-term objective was to enable both parties to synchronise their intuition thus reducing the reliance on Steve Allen personally being on-site for extended periods during the design process.

SAO sees its major strategic competitive advantages to be derived from its intuition about the wants and needs of the market and the innovative designs with which it responds. This project is maximising the effect of this competitive advantage by allowing SAO to be more flexible with its designs and respond quicker to market demands by improving the time to market.

Sales are being increased by using the CAD designs to produce 3D models of concept furniture. These 3D models, which are now taken to potential customers as sales aids, have improved the quality and effectiveness of sales presentations and reduce the reliance on expensive prototypes.

Design and manufacturing costs have been reduced by improving the time taken to create both finished designs and CNC programs. The consistency and quality of the finished product has also been further improved by the mechanisation of these processes.

These benefits will also carry on multiplying well into the future as SAO will be able to easily evolve existing designs and re-use complete or part designs for use in new designs.

Steve Allen said: "Cad-Capture has helped us to progress technologically within a traditionally slow-moving industry. Similar companies are still using traditional methods to produce their furniture; SAO has been able to adapt modern techniques to gain competitive advantage."

February 2004

NPS Property Consultants Leads the Way with CaptureNet

Cad-Capture is nearing completion of a 12 month project to capture approximately 100,000 large format drawings and maps, including floor plans and service schematics, associated with properties in the Norfolk area for NPS Property Consultants in Norwich.

Previously stored in NPS’s basement archive at County Hall, drawings could sometimes take several days to locate and with many in constant use, significant signs of deterioration were becoming evident. Additional time and money was spent copying and distributing drawings to team members in remote offices, with collaboration difficult because of varying geographic locations.

To address these issues, NPS elected to electronically capture the entire archive with Cad-Capture’s scanning bureau chosen for its quality approach and ability to provide a full and logical solution to meet NPS’s needs.

Drawings were personally collected and returned by Cad-Capture every six weeks, with a document access service provided, allowing NPS to quickly and easily obtain electronic copies of drawings whilst off-site at Cad-Capture in Blackburn.

Included in the scope of supply was CaptureNet – a web-based viewing and retrieval application with advanced view and print facilities for over 200 file formats.

Primarily chosen for its ability to offer quick and easy access to documentation via an intuitive and simple-to-use interface tailored to specific NPS requirements, CaptureNet’s extensive mark-up tools provide team members with the ability to augment content through the addition of notes, observations, instructions and references using a wide variety of useful entities, text and objects.

CaptureNet’s thin-client, server based architecture is easy to administer, negating the need to visit client PCs to install software and, with a number of offices situated throughout the Norfolk area, was ideal for deploying across NPS’s intranet enabling all users, remote or otherwise, to access and collaborate on drawings regardless of geographic location.

Louise Chittock, Project Manager at NPS, explains that, “We have not only been delighted with the benefits provided by the CaptureNet solution, but also the quality of scanning provided together with the extremely professional and thorough manner in which Cad-Capture conducts itself”, so much so that plans are currently underway to expand the CaptureNet system to 60 users in the near future.

Simon Watts, Managing Director of Cad-Capture, said that, "Nearly 12 months on we are delighted to say that the project has been a resounding success, with team members able to access, mark-up and collaborate on drawings from the convenience of their desktop across the distributed environment. The feedback received has been excellent and we look forward to continuing this enjoyable and beneficial partnership".

 

April 2004

Edinburgh College of Art realises the benefits of AssetCapture

Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) recently selected Cad-Capture to assist with its Asset Management Planning (AMP), due to the company’s excellent track record and expertise in this area. ECA were looking for a solution which would enable them to manage its architectural floor plans. The original plans consisted of 180 drawings which covered 3 buildings; a total of 33000 square metres. Cad-Capture is experienced in CAD conversion and therefore, offered a solution which enabled the drawings to be converted into one intelligent CAD file. The intelligence comes in the form of attribute blocks which contain essential information regarding the buildings, such as room height and size, room usage and gross internal area etc. This allowed ECA to extract information regarding the buildings at any time for its own asset management.

Information relating to the electrics, lighting, plumbing, communication ports and plant details was then included in the CAD file. Each layer of the file can be viewed individually by turning additional layers off or in conjunction with different layers thus making information more accessible and future asset management planning faster and more cost effective. As an example, if work was to be carried out on the buildings electrics, rather than searching through hundreds of drawings to locate the appropriate drawing, the layer of the CAD file relating to this can be turned on and viewed automatically.

Cad-Capture provided a tailored solution for ECA which offered instantaneous imaging, faster management of documents, easy location and was less space intensive then the storage of traditional paper drawings. ECA found the solution to be very user friendly which enabled its employees to adapt to it easily. Isla Duncan, Estate Officer said ‘’Cad-Capture gave us an extremely professional service and provided us with an excellent solution to our property management issues which can be seen through the way in which asset management is now handled internally. Staff are now able to access and modify information through one single file, rather than searching through hundreds of drawings, saving both man hours and storage space.”

   

July 2004

Capita saves space with scanning

Capita has awarded Cad-Capture a contract which involved the scanning of its paper documents and files into an electronic format. Cad-Capture was awarded the contract due to its extensive knowledge and over 17 years experience in scanning complex documents. Capita have taken over responsibility for storing clients documents that were spread over a large number of locations and media etc. They have recently undertaken Business Process Re-Engineering involving the relocated into new, prestigious, purpose-built offices in the centre of Blackburn. This move instigated the desire to have paper files converted into an electronic format, in order to revolutionise the way their clients stored their data. Prior to this, Capita had been storing its clients’ records, including maps, drawings, microfilm and invoices in filing cabinets spread across different offices. Searching for documents was a time consuming exercise and each access simultaneously caused wear and tear on the media.

Due to the size and nature of the project, the media to be scanned was supplied as an initial batch of around 150 archive boxes then further boxes on a monthly basis. The media ranged from photographs and A4 files to A0 drawings. Therefore, involving both small and large format scanning. The work was controlled by Cad-Capture’s ISO 9001 quality system using Ascent Capture software and Fujitsu, Bell & Howell,

Kodak and Colortrac scanners, creating a database of both black/white and colour images.

Cad-Capture processed the scanned images into intelligent searchable Portable Document Format (PDF) files. The files were indexed and could be located easily using key words, file references and drawing numbers. This allows staff to speedily retrieve and view desired items at their individual workstations reducing the time spent searching for documents.

Many of the original documents were of a confidential nature; once scanned, Cad-Capture securely disposed of them and provided a certificate of destruction.

Capita’s Quality Manager, Jussi Murphy said “Cad-Capture has provided us with a solution to capture all our documents and retrieve them straight from our desktops. The service provided was extremely professional and adaptable in satisfying our needs. We look forward with great pleasure to the ongoing partnership between Capita and Cad-Capture.”Capita saves space with scanning

Capita has awarded Cad-Capture a contract which involved the scanning of its paper documents and files into an electronic format. Cad-Capture was awarded the contract due to its extensive knowledge and over 17 years experience in scanning complex documents. Capita have taken over responsibility for storing clients documents that were spread over a large number of locations and media etc. They have recently undertaken Business Process Re-Engineering involving the relocated into new, prestigious, purpose-built offices in the centre of Blackburn. This move instigated the desire to have paper files converted into an electronic format, in order to revolutionise the way their clients stored their data. Prior to this, Capita had been storing its clients’ records, including maps, drawings, microfilm and invoices in filing cabinets spread across different offices. Searching for documents was a time consuming exercise and each access simultaneously caused wear and tear on the media.

Due to the size and nature of the project, the media to be scanned was supplied as an initial batch of around 150 archive boxes then further boxes on a monthly basis. The media ranged from photographs and A4 files to A0 drawings. Therefore, involving both small and large format scanning. The work was controlled by Cad-Capture’s ISO 9001 quality system using Ascent Capture software and Fujitsu, Bell & Howell, Kodak and Colortrac scanners, creating a database of both black/white and colour images.

Cad-Capture processed the scanned images into intelligent searchable Portable Document Format (PDF) files. The files were indexed and could be located easily using key words, file references and drawing numbers. This allows staff to speedily retrieve and view desired items at their individual workstations reducing the time spent searching for documents.

Many of the original documents were of a confidential nature; once scanned, Cad-Capture securely disposed of them and provided a certificate of destruction.

Capita’s Quality Manager, Jussi Murphy said "Cad-Capture has provided us with a solution to capture all our documents and retrieve them straight from our desktops. The service provided was extremely professional and adaptable in satisfying our needs. We look forward with great pleasure to the ongoing partnership between Capita and Cad-Capture."

 

August 2004

Working together to create a better community

Airtime, the internet division of Cad-Capture, recently assisted Calico Housing Ltd with it's re-branding, re-location and the provision of a new network.

Airtime has a long-standing relationship with Calico, who host it's new website and also manages it's e-mail facilities which includes content filtering for viruses, attachments and unsolicited e-mails. In order to expand Calico's network infrastructure, Airtime installed one 2mb ADSL connection and a leased line at the new premises, as well as a quantity of broadband connections. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) will enable workers to access the housing services online making it more convenient for remote workers to make use of all the services. Calico's wardens, home workers and IT staff can all now communicate with head office from access points across the community, creating a more efficient workforce.

Paul McCabe, Calico's IT Manager said "We are extremely pleased with the work Airtime carried out for us. Airtime provided us with a solution which has enabled the whole organisation to work together more effectively and efficiently. We look forward to working together in the future, as we have in the past."

Intelligent CAD Files for Gwynedd Council

At the beginning of 2004, Gwynedd Council went out to tender to upgrade all of its AutoCAD drawings to intelligent CAD files. Cad-Capture was awarded the contract based on the exceptional quality of the drawing sample, its expertise in this area and the competitive price offered.

Gwynedd Council already had its properties as simple line drawings drawn in-house using AutoCAD. When the council purchased Tribal Evolut1on Asset Management Software the drawings needed to be upgraded to contain CAD attribute blocks and smartzones so they would synchronise with the asset database.

Following the contract award, Gwynedd showed an interest in having a dual-language CAD attribute block so that the text in the drawings could be shown in English or Welsh at the click of a button. Cad-Capture developed a bespoke software product to provide the translation service and now all the council's drawings have been updated to the same standard. The dual-language text forms part of the smartzone CAD attribute blocks and synchronises with the Tribal Evolut1on Asset Management Software.

All smartzoned files returned to Gwynedd Council synchronised first time without any problems due to automatic processing by the AMP.arx software unique to Cad-Capture. The overall project was completed ahead of schedule and to Gwynedd Council's complete satisfaction.

Gwynedd Council has now let a new contract for Council properties not previously drawn on CAD, such as public toilets and industrial units. Cad-Capture has been commissioned to carry out measured surveys and convert all remaining properties to the same intelligent CAD file format so that all property information is retained in a common format.

Trefor Davies of Gwynedd Council said "We are delighted with the professional and excellent service Cad-Capture provided. Not only do we have a solution to perfectly suit our needs but Cad-Capture has been innovative and provided extra value over and above our expectations."

The ideal solution for Utilities

Cad-Capture has recently completed a contract to develop an integrated Document Management and Workflow solution for capturing and recording minor amendments to United Utilities (UU) electricity network, on behalf of UU's Asset Data Record (ADR) team.

The ADR team is reliant on the submission of detailed ‘as laid’ information regarding the nature and location of on-site works undertaken by UU’s operational staff, engineers or contractors.

Each amendment is documented by the operational staff and contractors and a work packet, including the original work instruction together with hand drawn sketches with dimensions and annotations. The work packet documentation is then submitted to the ADR team so that the network changes can be input to UU’s Geographical Information System (GIS).

Based on DM and Workflow components of Hummingbird’s Enterprise Content Management (ECM) suite, Cad-Capture’s solution takes control of the process by which amendments are recorded, providing team members with the ability to electronically define, manage and monitor the entire process in accordance with key performance criteria. The geographically independent environment addresses current resource limitations by enabling amendments to be recorded at either new onshore or offshore locations and is highly scalable providing ADR with the ability to identify bottlenecks, monitor trends, produce meaningful management reports, manage problem resolution queries from remote locations and assign additional resource as and when appropriate.

Currently processed at Cad-Capture’s premises in Blackburn, work packet documentation is scanned in colour and indexed according to its location before being converted into DjVu format (a wavelet based encoding technology from LizardTech) for upload across a low bandwidth infrastructure. Developed using Kofax Ascent Capture, the scanning solution is designed to be portable and easy-to-use with the future potential of roll-out to sub-contractors; enabling work packet documentation to be supplied in electronic format for immediate upload by ADR to Hummingbird DM.

In addition to solution development and support, Cad-Capture has also had considerable involvement in helping the ADR team to build a compelling business case, embarking on a comprehensive requirements analysis exercise involving the mapping of ADR business processes.

Cad-Capture has a wealth of experience in the utilities sector developing solutions that enable long-term customers, including Yorkshire Water and United Utilities, to take control of business critical information and processes, thereby improving service delivery, maximising efficiency and reducing costs in an increasingly regulated and demanding market space.

"This is an excellent example of how Cad-Capture's expertise in core document capture and management technology can help resolve a specific business problem and is an ideal solution for other utilities who are experiencing similar issues managing amendments to their electricity, water, gas or telecom networks", said Simon Watts, Managing Director of Cad-Capture. “We are delighted to extend the scope of services provided to United Utilities and look forward to further developments in the near future".

Brian O'Neill, UU GIS Project Manager said, "Cad-Capture’s consultative approach and investment in understanding business processes and requirements has been critical in developing a solution that meets the needs of the ADR business".

Cad-Capture at the Fast 50 Awards 2004

Cad-Capture is delighted to announce its inclusion as one of the finalists in this year’s Deloitte Fast 50 Awards, a highly recognised award for UK technology companies. The 2004 Northern Region winners were announced at the annual awards ceremony which took place on Tuesday 21st September at the Midland Hotel, Manchester.

The Fast 50 award ceremony is an objective ranking and celebration of the UK's fastest-growing high-technology companies. The awards identify the trends that are shaping the technology, media and telecommunication sectors today.

Cad-Capture was established in 1987 as the country’s first large format scanning bureau. The company has rapidly grown since to become a leading document service provider to industry.

Cad-Capture is able to provide its solutions to both public and private sector organisations. Clients that have benefited from its solutions include ConocoPhillips, United Utilities, Somerset County Council, Kerry Foods and CENTRO.

Simon Watts, Managing Director said: "I am delighted with the progress Cad-Capture has made over the last 17 years. To achieve a place in the Fast 50 awards is a fantastic achievement and a reminder to me of how the company is growing in an ever changing competitive world."

Cad-Capture at UVDBlive 2004

Cad-Capture will this year be exhibiting for the first time at UVDBlive, held at Stoneleigh Park near Coventry on the 28th – 30th September. The company will be presenting its latest solutions such as document capture, document conversion (CAD & GIS) and Enterprise Information Management. To find out more about Cad-Capture’s solutions for the utility industry come along and visit us at stand C1.

Cad-Capture has a wealth of experience in the utilities sector developing solutions that enable long-term customers including Yorkshire Water and United Utilities (UU), to take control of business critical information and processes, thereby improving performance, maximising efficiency and reducing costs in an increasingly regulated and demanding market space.

Examples of projects include:

1. Capture and geo-enabling of over 200,000 colour OS Plotting Sheets for United Utilities ESCAR (Electronic Scanned Asset Record) project, detailing the entire electricity distribution network for over 2 million homes and business in the NW of England, together with subsequent works to quality assure GIS data digitised from these maps.

2. Modelling the connectivity between physical features including sub-stations, transformers, cables, street furniture etc, this solution provides UU's engineers, as well as planning and operational staff, with the ability to access reliable, up-to-date information from the convenience of their office or out in the field. Part of project included the implementation of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) utilising Hummingbird DM as an enabler for the successful and speedy completion of the project. Having completed the quality assurance phase, Cad-Capture is currently digitising changes to the electricity network as part of the Data Cleanse phase.

3. Cad-Capture was awarded a contract to develop an integrated Document Management (DM) system for capturing and recording thousands of amendments to UU's electricity network on behalf of UU's Asset Data Record (ADR) team.

4. The ADR team are reliant on the submission of detailed information regarding the nature and location of on-site works. Each amendment is documented and a work packet, including the original instruction and any changes made by the engineer are submitted to the ADR in order to make appropriate changes to UU’s Geographical Information System (GIS). Cad-Capture’s solution takes control of the problem by providing team members with the ability to electronically define, manage and monitor the entire process. The work packet documentation is scanned in colour and indexed according to its location before being converted into a portable, easy-to-use electronic format.

5. Cad-Capture has also completed a wide variety of projects for Yorkshire Water, most recently in November 2003 to capture and geo-enable 10,000 colour OS plotting sheets for upload into the Asset Strategy team’s GIS, with other projects completed for the Asset Inventory team including the capture of 65,000 engineering drawings.

6. Already a preferred supplier to UU for CAD conversion, Cad-Capture also has specific solutions for mark-up and collaboration on AutoCAD and MicroStation format drawings and are also looking to leverage extensive experience in the government sector by extending asset management related services including, property surveys and the supply of intelligent CAD floor plans, to utilities - enabling entire property portfolios to be effectively and efficiently managed.