Hello Zeutschel OS Q (and Farewell to the OS 14000)

After 12 years on the market, the last of a
first-of-its-kind archival scanner
retires to make way for the next generation

The Zeutschel OS 14000 overhead scanner was the first of its kind, designed specifically to meet NARA digital image specifications that had not yet been met in the industry.

This month, the last Zeutschel OS 14000 large format overhead scanner left Tübingen, Germany for its final destination. Originally brought to market in 2008, the OS 14000 series was significant in that it ushered in a new era of high-quality digital preservation for bound and loose media up to A0 size (33.1” x 46.8” inches).

The new generation OS Q will carry forward the mantle of Zeutschel digitization innovation and superior image quality that is utilized by archives, libraries, museums and service bureaus worldwide for high-end digital archival preservation.

From NARA to Everywhere

In 2004, Zeutschel GmbH (Zeutschel), working with The Crowley Company (Crowley) and the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), designed, engineered and – by 2008 – manufactured, the OS 14000 to meet scanning specifications set forth by NARA. At the time, the specifications could not be matched by any scanner on the market. You can read the full story here.

In just over a decade, over 700 OS 14000 scanners have been placed in renowned institutions around the world to digitize and protect important collections. For Crowley’s North American clientele, these collections ranged from incunabula (books printed before 1501) to Dutch newspapers dating from 1618 to church records to wartime letters to maps and photographs of National Parks to Presidential Papers. And much, much more.

Why Retire a Gold Standard?

J. Vogler, president, Zeutschel GmbH

We asked Jörg Vogler, Zeutschel president, to answer a few questions about the retiring of the OS 14000 scanners and the next generation OS Q series scanners.

Q: Why retire a scanner series that has been a gold standard in the digital preservation industry?     

A: With change being the only constant, Zeutschel’s goal is to continue to innovate and deliver best-in-class imaging solutions for the digital preservation industry. The OS Q is an upgrade to the OS 14000 scanner technology, bringing about even better image quality and increased productivity and operator comfort.

Q: Will Zeutschel continue to support the OS 14000 scanners in the field?

A: Absolutely. You can still expect Zeutschel and our partners, such as The Crowley Company, to render OS 14000 support for at least seven years, including spare parts.*

Q: What was the motivation for the engineering of the OS Q series? 

A: The changing demand of the digital preservation industry for higher imaging quality to meet international and ISO imaging standards. The OS Q series and the OS HQ now meet or exceed the highest standards set for FADGI 4-star, Metamorfoze and ISO 19264-1 (Level A) guidelines.

Q: How important is it to engineer scanners to meet current industry standards? 

 A: For the preservation of cultural heritage and historic materials, there must be an international standard for imaging quality to ensure these valuable sources of materials are kept and maintained at the highest level for the future generations to come. There is a differentiation in imaging standards and quality for general digitization (ie: a working copy) versus long term preservation and reproduction needs.

The new Zeutschel OS Q and the OS HQ scanners break new ground for image quality and ease-of-use for cultural heritage capture.

Q: How does Zeutschel test image quality? 

A: We test image quality in several ways. These include using our proven and reliable Zeutschel QM tool as well as producing sample images using the UTT test chart and/or DICE target to ensure measurable quality and accuracy. The scanners analyze the results as compared to these targets automatically with pass/fail notifications and areas needing improvement, if applicable. Our test scan quality matches and exceeds the ISO 19264-1 Level A, Metamorfoze Full and FADGI 4-Star for the OS Q series

Additionally, regular maintenance and calibration of the scanners ensure that Zeutschel scanners can continually achieve the highest quality standards for image quality.

Q: What are the OS Q advantages over the previous generation scanners?

A: Some of the key features are:

  • Faster bi-directional scanning for higher productivity
  • Up to 12 line pairs per mm – the highest resolution and highest image quality offered in the industry
  • Scan mode 96 bit color
  • Ability to zoom
  • New document tables
  • Interchangeable camera system (100mp/150mp)

Q: What is the difference between the OS Q and OS HQ?

A: The OS HQ exceeds the quality of OS Q by almost double and exceeds today’s FADGI, Metamorfoze and ISO image quality standards. It its designed with a GigaPixel camera system which incorporates the largest CMOS sensor currently available. This allows for a single scan without image stitching. The OS HQ is the only large format scanner on the market that can scan greater than A0/E size media with resolutions up to 1,000 ppi and 14 line pairs using optical zoom A0-A1 and a scan mode 96-bit color (internal)/48-/24-/16-/8-/1-bit output. The integrated camlink interface guarantees fast data transfer, complementing the image quality with enhanced productivity.

Q: In developing these new scanners, how did Zeutschel consider operator comfort and why was this important? 

A: Zeutschel scanners are designed to scan for many consecutive hours, so scan operator comfort – such as sufficient leg room – is always a key consideration. Other considerations include:

  • A UV- and IR-free lighting system that only activates when performing a scan to minimize glare and exposure to the operator
  • A footswitch option to relieve operators from having to repetitively interact with the PC and mouse
  • Easily interchanged document tables to grant operator and media flexibility
  • Scanner lighting from the back to avoid operator shadow and reflections

Q: How does Zeutschel keep current and even think ahead in their engineering?

A: To stay ahead of the industry needs, Zeutschel works closely with industry experts and leaders in National Archives, libraries, museums and service companies, staying in constant communication – and working on digitization projects with – teams of archivists, librarians and others tasked with the digital preservation of records and archives. Our Research and Development director is also a working member of various Industry think tanks, such as the international board of ISO/TC42. Finally, all of our scanners are put through rigorous testing plans for IS0 19264, Metamorfoze and FADGI.

Q: In your opinion, what sets Zeutschel scanners apart from the competition?

A: I don’t think I’m biased when I say that Zeutschel has been the innovation leader in large format and book scanners for more than 25 years. A few of the reasons I believe this is true are as follows:

  • Zeutschel continually integrates the latest technology available on the market. Just one example: As of this writing, most document scanners create images in 24-bit data output. Zeutschel scanners capture in 48-bit and 96-bit for all document formats from postage stamps to bound books to large format maps and manuscripts.
  • Zeutschel scanners, as a result of working with digitization specialist groups, customers and our partners, offer the highest quality in resolution and color reproduction
  • Zeutschel scanners have a modular structure. The working tables, which are offered in large variety for special documents and unique solutions, have been a main component of our offerings for more than 30 years. As the scanner technology changes, customers can continue to use their existing table systems when upgrading their scanning system to the next generation.
  • Zeutschel’s OmniScan software is known throughout the capture industry as both one of the most universal scan software packages and the simplest to use. Meeting all customer requirements with multiple options for varying job types and a project memory, even the most inexperienced operator can produce good quality images via the error-free (green button) function.

Q: How does Zeutschel measure the success of a scanner? 

A: The answer is simple: customer feedback, customer satisfaction, the number of installations worldwide and industry awards. Using those metrics, the OS 14000 series was an enormous success and we expect the same of the next generation OS Q series.

Q: Many of your distributor partnerships, such as those with Crowley, span decades. What role do your partners play in the development of future Zeutschel scanners? 

A: You cannot become a leader alone. Zeutschel has over 100 worldwide partners to promote and sell our Zeutschel scanners and software solutions; our most key partners – such as The Crowley Company – have worked with us closely for more than 20 years. This long-term working relationship has created a common platform for the provision of valuable insights into the digitization requirements in terms of both the technical and operational use of our scanners and software solutions. Our international partners meet annually to provide feedback and promote new ideas.

Q: Any ideas what the future of digitization might look like? 

A: I think it will be a continual quest for absolute reproductions of the original. To help achieve this, Zeutschel’s focus is in three key areas:

  • The demand for higher quality images to avoid the need for future rescans
  • Digital images that guarantee long-term preservation
  • Digitization’s impact on the environmental, social interaction and governance of individual country archiving plans
Scanstudio graphic arts scanner
The Zeutschel ScanStudio captures both transmissive and reflective media

Q: The ScanStudio is another new offering from Zeutschel. What was the motivation for its engineering? 

A: Most archival organizations have media that is both reflective, such as books and documents, and transmissive, such as slides and photographic negatives. The idea behind the ScanStudio was to design an all-in-one scan “studio” that incorporated Zeutschel technology but which could digitize both media types to the highest imaging standards. The modular design and flexible configuration delivers a high return on investment, replacing multiple scanners with a single unit.

Additionally, the ScanStudio replaces the increasingly obsolete technology of traditional camera systems and simplifies capture by reducing the need for manual shutter settings, manual light configurations and the need to learn multiple software programs. The ScanStudio is all inclusive of these options and yet still allows for manual manipulation if required by the archivist. It is also designed ergonomically to protect and enhance the operator work environment.

Q: How does the ScanStudio add to the Zeutschel offerings?  

 A: With the ScanStudio in our product line up, Zeutschel now offers the best of both scan technologies: line sensors with the OS Q and OS HQ and area sensors with the ScanStudio. The ScanStudio is the first “all-in-one” scan and photography system and offers the highest quality area sensor camera back (150 MP). Its modular design allows for new innovations as technology evolves, making it the ideal long-term investment. As with the OS Q series, the ScanStudio exceeds the highest ISO, Metamorfoze and FADGI standards.

Celebrating the Old, Providing the New

The Crowley Company is fortunate to have shared in the shaping of the above-mentioned Zeutschel scanners. Our manufacturing, technical and sales teams collaborate closely with Zeutschel as new technologies evolve. While we’re a bit sad to see the groundbreaking OS 14000 series retire (we currently utilize four in our digitization services bureau), we couldn’t be more excited about the OS Q series and the ScanStudio – two uniquely designed digitization solutions created to serve the changing needs of those charged with protecting our records and archives for future generations. In addition to the OS 14000’s (and a several 12000 and 10000 models that are still in great working order), Crowley Imaging is using both the OS Q and the ScanStudio with excellent results.

If you’d like an in-person or web demonstration of the OS Q, OS HQ or the ScanStudio (or all three!), contact your Crowley representative, call (240) 215-0224 (U.S.) or request a quote.

*North American Zeutschel OS 14000 owners: Be sure your scanner is under a maintenance contract with The Crowley Company to protect your investment with software updates, annual maintenance cleanings and calibrations, support calls, service visits and more. Call (240) 215-0224, email [email protected] or click here for more information.

Cheri BakerCheri Baker, Crowley’s Director of Communications, has a career that spans newspaper, agency and corporate communications. A self-described “generalist specialist,” she believes common sense, good grammar, nice manners and a dash of fun go a long way toward successful public relations. Find Cheri Baker on LinkedIn+


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