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Pearl Document Scanning Blog

News and updates related to the document scanning industry.

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.

Space Saving Solutions- Aperture Card Scanning

space saving aperture cards
Saving space has been a hot topic for a long time but before you start investing in the latest foldaway furniture, take a look at those boxes of aperture cards instead.

Space! It’s out of this world

So you’re looking for a space saving solution for the office and who can blame you? It doesn’t come cheap, especially in London where office space is some of the most expensive in the world. This has led a lot of businesses to look for ways they can reduce the amount of space they need. Bizarre contraptions and pop up offices are now regular occurrences and anything that reduces the space needed to run a successful business seems to be a good thing.

Use It or Lose It

On the other side, there is sometimes the view that if you are renting space at a premium rate, you need to use every inch of it. This is not true as airier and brighter office can actually bring more profit in the long run with higher office morale resulting in better productivity.

A Better Solution for your Aperture Cardsaperture card

If you’re still storing aperture cards in boxes around the office then you’re missing one glaringly obvious space saving trick.

Aperture cards are rarely used anymore with the business world increasingly utilising digital technologies. This has resulted in a lot of companies scanning their aperture cards which helps to free up space while also letting them deal digitally with the files that were previously only able to be viewed on the cards.

Other benefits of going digital with your aperture cards include;

  • Instant file retrieval
  • Easier file sharing capabilities
  • Reduced or even abolished storage costs
  • Off-site file access
  • Files are protected from loss, theft and damage

Pearl Scan Can Help

Here at Pearl Scan we recognise the importance of using space efficiently and we provide digital solutions to help you deal with your files in a more efficient and cost effective way. Our aperture card scanning service is completely bespoke so you can tailor it to suit the exact needs of your and your company.

We can scan aperture cards to TIFF, PDF, JPEG or any other format you require and we can provide your digital files fully indexed and OCR processed to make it easier to retrieve the file you need, when you need it. We offer a one stop service right down to the delivery of your documents and we can even set up an image management system for you with our software, Halogen.

For more information about the aperture card scanning we do here, take a look at our dedicated website and blogs or give us a call for your free quote.

Related articles;
Hidden Costs of Storing Aperture Cards
Best Way To Modernise Your Aperture Cards

Hidden Costs of Storing Aperture Cards

New banner aperture card
Some companies still store engineering or architectural drawings and plans on aperture cards and while it might seem like a suitable storage method, it is in fact draining the budget more than you realise.

For many years aperture cards were the tried and tested way of storing large format drawings and plans. They were space saving devices meaning companies could save office space and abolish extortionate off-site storage costs. This is what lulled people into a false sense of security while aperture cards began to drain company budgets in a number of ways.


By their nature, aperture cards cannot be viewed simply by looking at the card. An aperture card reader or lense and a light source are needed for the drawings to be viewed and while the reader itself may only set you back around £30, we have to remember the maintenance and repairs that will be needed over time, especially if it’s used regularly.


Hold on! Didn’t you say that aperture cards abolished storage costs? That I did. However, once you’ve begun to regularly store documents on aperture cards, these cards will stack up and begin to fill boxes, filing cabinets etc. Depending on the amount that you end up having to store, you may resort to offsite storage facilities once again which kind of defeats the object doesn’t it?

Wasted Time

One of the biggest costs involved in storing documents, drawings and plans on aperture cards is the amount of time wasted on tasks such as file retrieval, sharing and editing. In business we all know that time is money and time spent on unnecessarily long and drawn out processes is definitely wasted.


Aperture cards are also still susceptible to damage and if the card gets bent, damaging the film contained, then the files can be lost. The cost and time involved in reproducing those drawings and plans would be huge and there would still be significant costs involved in backing files up by keeping multiple copies on aperture cards.

How Can That Money Be Saved?cost of document scanning

Digital files are the most cost effective way of storing documents because they cost nothing (or next to nothing) to store and there is no wasted time involved when fully indexed files can be found in seconds and shared just as easily. Files can be backed up to ensure they are not lost and password protected to safeguard them from theft.

To reclaim those costs and stop the drain on your budget, all you have to do is digitise your aperture cards. If this sounds like a daunting task, don’t worry because scanning services like us here at Pearl Scan can take your aperture cards and scan them to a range of useful formats with a quick turnaround. We are an aperture card scanning company which has completed projects for companies from a range of sectors including aperture card scanning London, aperture card scanning Manchester and across the rest of the UK.

We also provide a number of additional extras which can be tailored to suit the needs of each individual client;

For more information about our aperture card scanning service and the extras, follow the relevant links, explore our website or give us a call today to receive your free, no obligation quote.

Related articles-
Best Way To Modernise Your Aperture Cards
What is Large Format Scanning?
Drawings Scanning – From A0 to A Nothing