Company Profile: ibml
Tailored Technology Made to Order
History in Brief: Founded in 1992 by Gary Murphy; his son, Derrick Murphy, is now ibml’s CEO and chairman of the board.
Headquarters: Birmingham, Alabama
Employees: Over 200
Hardware products: ImageTrac, ImageTrac-Lite and ImageTracDS document scanner lines
Software products: SoftTrac Capture Suite (eight products)
On the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama, you’ll find a rarity in the document imaging industry: a document scanner/capture company developing, manufacturing and distributing its own products. BLI recently visited ibml’s world headquarters to present its BLI Summer 2015 Pick award for the ImageTracDS 1085 for Outstanding A3 Mid-Volume Production Scanner.
Marc Noviello, senior product marketing manager at ibml, gave us a tour of its manufacturing facilities and offices. In one area, we watched as raw sheets of steel were cut, bent, treated and transformed into individual scanner components. In another area, seasoned employees hand-crafted device engines and internal feed units. Beyond shelves filled with feed trays, engine fans and the countless other scanner building blocks, rollers, belts and other moving components vigorously rotated to gauge quality control. Back in the shipping section, where the flags of each country ibml sells to (48 total) adorn the ceiling, fully configured scanners sat waiting for delivery across the world. Once a deal is close to completion, the in-house manufacturers start the intricate task of assembling a unit. From the software bundle right down to the sorting bins, each device is individually assembled for a particular customer to suit its specific imaging needs. This niche level of customization also lets the scanner adapt over the years. If a customer’s needs change, ibml can be there to make the proper configuration adjustments, such as adding/removing sorting bins or changing software configurations.
This production process is reserved primarily for the ImageTrac and ImageTrac-Lite series of scanners that range in speed from 286 to 429 ppm (A4-sized) and cost several thousand dollars each. Considered “open-track” scanners, the ImageTrac series operates in a manner similar to a conveyer belt, whereby paper is typically fed from the high-capacity ADF in a straight line onto a series of rollers that lead to a set of sensors and cameras, and ultimately end up in various sorting bins, or pockets, depending on the configuration. A monitor is mounted on the top of the scanner to provide a live feed of scanned documents. The tension level of the rollers can be manually adjusted to accommodate various paper types. Users can even adjust the spacing between each page as they slide along the belts and rollers to help with the sorting process. For example, if one document needs to be imprinted and then indexed, while another document simply needs to be separated from the batch, the leeway between scanned pages lets the scanner identify the page type and the associated action required during the scan process to prevent any lag time and increase processing accuracy. Currently, the ImageTracDS-line of scanners are the only ibml-branded scanners manufactured by a third-party.
ibml provides training sessions for its customers and dealers on both the hardware and software components. Product resellers work with each customer to design a variety of custom workflows for various job types. For example, one scan job may require the ability to recognize paid and unpaid invoices, then sort them accordingly. ibml’s SoftTrac DocNetics solution, which uses image-based topographical analysis, barcode decoding, logo classification and OCR extraction to identify and evaluate documents at the point of capture, can be configured for just that type of workflow. By the time ibml is finished customizing the software components, there is very little programming the end user has to do, unless they desire to do so. This unique level of customization is partly why the device earned its Pick award for the Summer 2015 season.
ibml scanners cater to vertical markets such as financial, healthcare and government. In addition to its suite of hardware and software products, the company provides conversion assistance services, document automation, mortgage and loan services, disaster recovery services and more. Check out the company website for more information on the company and its unique products.