Illustration showing power lines and power stations

Digital at Point of Access for a 120-Year-Old Archive

In 1901 Alphonse Constant Reyrolle established his pioneering scientific instruments business in a little-known town called Hebburn in North East England. At its peak, it manufactured most of the world's high voltage switchgear for power stations.

Reyrolle & Company has changed hands many times over the last century. The business currently sits in the Siemens Power Generation Portfolio, making protection gear and maintaining legacy systems that go back decades.

With such a long, productive history, it's little wonder they have produced thousands of drawings and diagrams of the equipment manufactured and installed over the years.

It is a testament to the quality of Reyrolle’s manufacturing that much of this legacy equipment is still in operation around the world today, and, as a result, still requires maintenance. To do this well, engineers have to review the original diagrams for client installations when called upon.

These diagrams are contained in a microfiche archive consisting of over 300,000 frames.

100-Year-Old Legacy

Since the 1920s, microfilming has been the go-to format for safe and secure archiving. Reyrolle & Company was no exception. As a progressive and innovative business, they archived their critical data early and so today they have a huge archive of more than 300,000 microfiches.

Now in the hands of Siemens, the largest industrial manufacturing company in the world, there was a need to make this important information more readily available to engineers everywhere.

This meant that popping down to see Joyce (a real person) in the archive room was no longer an option.

Microfilms Are Not Dead

Datatron is a long-standing supplier to Siemens and Reyrolle & Company. This is why they approached us to conceive a solution allowing archive access to everyone who needs it—no matter where they are in the world.

You may think that our answer would be to scan everything. And we wouldn't blame you. With our world-class microfilm digitisation technology, it is a fair assumption.

However, sometimes you have to say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

There is a huge cost to digitising 300,000 microfiche, and although we had to preserve the archive, people didn't access the files often. So there was no advantage to full digitisation for our client. They needed a simpler, yet equally efficient solution.

A Simple, Yet Effective Service

At Datatron, we are equally concerned with cost savings as we are with process improvement. That's why we have such a versatile portfolio of services and solutions. When we work with a client, our goal is to always deliver the most cost-effective and business-positive option.

For a 120-year-old microfilm archive, the answer was simple: VRM (Virtual Records Management).

We needed to use our unique Digital at Point of Access service. This provides a secure records management service with a digital solution when you need it.

History Preserved

We carefully transported the valuable microfilm archive to our records management facility. We then stored it in a dedicated, secure and fireproof room.

Once the archive was secure, we set up an access process. This allows authorised users to request records when needed, from anywhere. We simply find the frame, digitise it to a high standard and workflow the image to the right person.

It was a simple solution to a complex problem. But how else would we make more than 300,000 drawings available 24/7 without it costing the earth?

At Datatron we love technology, but we also love saving you money!

And Joyce? Very happily retired!


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