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Camera pen cuts drives servicing paperwork

07 January, 2008

ABB service engineers have started to use pens with built-in digital cameras which allow them to send copies of completed service forms back to the office within minutes. ABB says the technology means that the engineers are spending less time on paperwork and devoting more time to their customers.

ABB camera pen

The camera records what the engineer is writing and stores it in on-board memory. The service forms are overlaid with an almost invisible pattern of dots that act like map references to determine exactly where on the form the pen is writing.

Once the form is complete, the engineer ticks a box at the bottom and the information is sent via Bluetooth to a mobile phone which transmits a facsimile and an HTML version of the form back to the office, within seconds. A hard copy can be left for the customer.

"The more we use this technology, the more we find new benefits," reports Neil Ritchie, manager of ABB’s Instrumentation and Drives Product Service. "As well as fast dissemination and access to information, we have improved our filing storage of reports. We have been able to resolve customer queries faster, and reduced our debtor days dramatically. We have also improved our stock management, with faster restocking of used spares."

ABB is now planning to introduce other digital forms, such as workplace inspection documents and risk assessments.

The digital pen technology was supplied by Guildford-based Destiny, which recently acquired the rights to the technology from Logitech.

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