Preserving aerial photography with recirculating fume cupboards

The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP) is one of the world's largest repositories of aerial imagery, boasting millions of historic images capturing significant events and locations across the globe.

Key objectives

NCAP's primary responsibility is to collect and safeguard these valuable records, encompassing digital and physical formats, ensuring their preservation for future generations.

To address the considerable challenges related to handling and conservation, Alan Potts, the Digital Imaging Manager, sought out Monmouth Scientific for a solution to establish a meticulously clean environment for the NCAP team's secure collection management.

Monmouth Scientific’s solution

  • Circulaire® Recirculating Fume Cupboard

Preserving aerial photography with recirculating fume cupboards

Image Credit: Monmouth Scientific Limited

Upon relocating to a state-of-the-art collections care and digitization facility in Edinburgh, the National Collection of Aerial Photography gained the necessary space to address these crucial challenges.

Monmouth Scientific's proficient team identified the Recirculating Fume Cupboard as the optimal answer to meet the team's requirements, providing the technicians with a safe and efficient workspace.

Due to the archive's age and previous storage conditions, certain items have suffered degradation over time.

This resulted in mold growth on around 6.5 million photographic prints. Before creating digital replicas, these prints require careful mold removal within a Recirculating Fume Cupboard, along with suitable personal protective equipment (PPE).

For the film archive, a distinct issue arises, as the acetate base of the film can autocatalytically degrade, generating acetic acid.

Although not harmful, the smell can be unpleasant and cause irritation over extended exposure. This concern is mitigated by carrying out film preparation and digitization within a Recirculating Fume Cupboard, ensuring a healthier workspace for all staff members.

The Circulaire® Fume Cupboards offer the advantage of not needing external ducting, enabling flexible installation within the workspace.

These cupboards efficiently channel airflow towards the interior, capturing vapors at their source and confining them within a controlled working area. With the utilization of Activated Carbon filters, clean air is then expelled back into the laboratory.

By implementing this recirculating technology, which consumes minimal energy while delivering optimal performance, substantial cost savings are achieved, contributing to a greener and more sustainable laboratory environment.

With the new facility and workflow improvements, the NCAP experiences a significant transformation in addressing critical conservation issues as a top priority.

Working with Monmouth Scientific has been excellent. We had no knowledge of Recirculating Fume Cupboards within the team prior to this, so relied on Monmouth Scientific to guide us through the process of identifying and defining our risks and selecting the most appropriate equipment for the job.

Our unique application has required some bespoke solutions and Monmouth Scientific have been a great partner in engineering and building cabinets that fit our needs. Having the correct equipment and practices means that The National Collection of Aerial Photography can now move ahead with the monumental task of preserving this unique record of world events as seen from above, for future generations."

Alan Potts, Digital Imaging Manager , Historic Environmental Scotland | National Collection of Aerial Photography

About Monmouth Scientific Limited


At Monmouth Scientific environmentally responsible recirculating technology is the core of our expertise. 

Our specialised Fume Cupboard, Laminar Flow, Biological Safety, Powder Containment, and ISO Class Cleanroom solutions provide the best protection and performance for your personnel.

A UK Market Leader in Clean Air Solutions and at the forefront of the industry, we           employ cutting-edge technologies and innovative engineering, to ensure that our solutions consume minimal energy while delivering optimal performance.  

As experts in clean environments and laboratory personnel safety, our team continue to proudly pioneer innovative new technologies to guarantee the highest levels of safety for a diverse client base including; 

  • Laboratory
  • Research
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Electronics
  • Aerospace

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Last updated: Sep 13, 2023 at 8:02 AM


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