Engineers enjoy better access to drawings and plans with aperture card scanning

When planning any new construction or infrastructure project, the large format technical drawings that an engineer will provide are an important part of the development process. Aperture cards have long been a popular method for safely storing these big drawings in a way that is easier to mange than the huge, delicate original paper files. Although effective, these cards implanted with microfilm still have their drawbacks, requiring organised filing systems and physical space to store the documents and bulky, time consuming machinery to read the files. Leading document scanning solutions provider, Pearl Scan offers an intelligent aperture card scanning service, giving engineer betters access to their valuable drawings and plans.

Pearl Scan converts the drawings or maps stored on traditional aperture cards into digital formats such as TIFF, PDF and JPG. The document scanning specialists also offers Halogen, its open source document management and retrieval software, free of charge to its customers. Using these virtual files, engineers can access their drawings using any compatible PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet, making it easy to show clients and colleagues these technical documents, even when on the go. With aperture card scanning, time that would have been spent on searching for drawings through a vast, physical archive of aperture cards can be reduced to a simple click of a button or a swipe of a screen.

Naveed Ashraf, Managing Director at Pearl Scan said, “Aperture cards have been an effective method for storing large files for decades, but technology has now advanced offering an even better solution. Using our aperture card scanning service, construction companies can keep up with client demands, enabling their surveyors and engineers to have instant access to their technical drawings anywhere, any time.”

Ashraf continued, “As well as improving their current services, converting the data found on aperture cards in a digital format means that this information can be preserved forever, storing large archives without requiring any physical space in the office.”

Pearl Scan offers its specialised document scanning services throughout the UK, capable of collecting aperture cards across the nation to be scanned on the same day, or any other day as required. Once the aperture cards are scanned, each file is subject to strict quality control, going through correction and image enhancement processes in order to ensure that clients are only given highly accurate files. 

What is aperture card scanning?

Before digital technology seemingly took over business communication, aperture cards were imperative for storing and retrieving engineering and technical drawings. They provided faster retrieval than more traditional forms of storing large format drawings so made processes simpler and quicker for businesses all over the world. The height of technology, these dominated the corporate world in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s. However as with everything, they had a self-life and were replaced by more modern technologies as time went on.

As a result of their popularity however, there are hordes of valuable collections of engineering drawings that are sitting dormant on aperture cards. And as you’d expect, the equipment required to display and print the images has become scarce are people ditched it for new technology, or simply ran it into the ground meaning it is now too expensive to repair or replace. And this is where aperture card scanning comes in.

Converting aperture cards to digital images such as TIFF, PDF or Jpeg provides a plethora of advantages for those working within the engineering industry. It allows information to be found, printed and distributed in seconds from a computer, all at the touch of a button. Helping to speed up processes, it is imperative for making sure businesses are able to work effectively. It also means that old equipment that is likely not in working order, can be thrown away, potentially making room for useful equipment that can further help to improve productivity.

The images that are collected from the scanned aperture cards can also be supported by existing data backup procedures – just like modern files and saved in the same, high quality, formats. This allows them to be accessed anywhere, and at any time.

How does aperture card scanning work?

At Pearl Scan, we pride ourselves on our expert knowledge and first class customer care. In order to make your aperture cards more usable, we prepare sample digital images of the drawings stored on aperture cards and index them based on your indexing requirements. We index them based on each individual storage and retrieval specification, such as, drawing number, drawing title, drawing description, sheet number and issue number. The file formats we convert to are PDF or TIFF, making them usable in a range of settings going forward.

Those who have a large volume of aperture cards may benefit from our open source, free of charge document archive and retrieval software, Halogen.

Find out how aperture card scanning can help your business progress into the 21st century.

Do You Really Need Aperture Cards?

aperture scanning services

Do You Really Need Those Aperture Cards?

Businesses around the globe are in a constant state of audit, trying to figure out new and dynamic ways to streamline their internal processes and boost their profits. One of the elements coming under the spotlight as businesses seek to improve is aperture cards. Traditionally used to store technical data like blueprints and engineering drawings, many companies still use these cards – but with more technologically advanced options out there for the storage of technical drawings, do you really need those outdated aperture cards?

Here at Pearl Scan, we provide a comprehensive aperture card scanning service, extracting all of the information from the cards. Images of the drawings are then produced, checked and corrected to ensure the highest quality. We can even optimise images which are aged or of poor quality, using sophisticated image enhancement tools to obtain the best image possible.

The future does not lie in aperture cards, that much is clear. Here’s why you should be considering whether now is the time to digitise your archive:

Eliminate the need for scanning equipment

Aperture cards come with their very own card readers, many of which are old and prone to malfunctioning. Businesses can remove the consumables and maintenance required to keep these readers going by simply digitising their aperture card archive.

Fast access

Forget sorting through hundreds of archived aperture cards in physical format – digitised documents of this kind are fully searchable, allowing all users to locate and view historic files with a few taps or clicks.


Now more than ever, businesses need to be thinking of investing in solutions that will see them through the next ten or twenty years. Digitised documents are going nowhere – the business world has already started digitising, and it may end up being a slow process, but all signs point to a world in a few decades when all documents are in digital formats.


To read an aperture card, you’ll need the card itself and a compatible reader-printer. But if the files are digitised and uploaded to a cloud server, you can access them from anywhere with just a laptop, tablet or PC. This could give a large workforce access to a vast catalogue of files that can be referred to at any point, rather than needing to go through the lengthy process of finding the card, scanning it and viewing the contents.