Better planned maintenance with Digital Pen and Paper

The main reason for choosing this digital pen and paper solution is that it was easy for the users to adopt. Previously, the drivers used ordinary pen and paper and the workflow has remained the same as before. No training has been needed. After the initial pilot, the drivers adapted very well to this new technology.


With this system, the driver writes down the information the way he has always done, but now the information is sent in real time and in digital format to the operators and the work-shops. This allows the information to reach all the parties of the maintenance process immediately. Since we started using this system we have been able to optimize the availability of rolling stock material. The workshop can also be better prepared in advance to minimise the time for a maintenance stop, resulting in increasing the availability of the trains.

About Us

EMEF, the largest Portuguese maintenance company for rolling stock, such as  electric and diesel locomotives
and railcars. MEF also has a large experience of train refurbishment and freight wagon production. The company was founded in December 1992, and started its activities on January 30th 1993, with CP – Portuguese Railways as the company’s exclusive shareholder.


It is obligatory to document events that occur during the train trip. These events are reported in a logbook – this has been the case for more than 50 years. For example, the train driver notes down disruptions in the electrical supply, or regarding climate control. The driver also has to report any events that occur in his compartment, for example a stone crashing against the windscreen.All events that are not unusual have to be reported.

At planned or unplanned maintenance stops, service technicians will board the train and attend to the problems described in the logbook, for example the replacement of windows or fixing of doors that do not close properly. Their work is also documented in the logbook.


When EMEF was introduced to Anoto Digital Pen and Paper technology by Fluxima, they immediately saw the possibilities to improve a very old, but crucial process. With this new solution, a proof of report can be kept of the drivers’ and technicians’ notes as well as of the technicians’ signatures once they have solved a problem. The solution enables real time communication between the back-office and the workshops, and information can be shared. Currently there are 210 pens being used and up to 1,200 pens are expected to be installed altogether.

“This partnership made it possible to develop an advanced technological solution to help our costumer improve the quality of services that they offer to their train passengers”, says Costa Franco, Director of Railway Technology and Innovation Unit, EMEF.


A benefit for the driver with the new solution  is that since the information is transferred in real time to the back offi ce, the driver receives direct response to what he has noted down and thus feels that his comments are taken
more seriously than before.

“This is a very innovative solution that corresponds to our technical, organizational and environmental needs. Technical faults are now detected and transmitted on a real-time basis with information from all the main departments of EMEF and ourselves – CP. Nowadays we can get handwritten information directly to our SAP database, which saves us time and increases the reliability of the data. We have also reduced 50% of the actual paper consumption, which in the future means 7.500.000 sheets less, and this corresponds to 1,500 trees in five years”, says Pontes Correia, CEO of Portugal Long Course trains, CP.