• Preserving historic aerial photographs with Innovative fume cupboard technology
    Monmouth Scientific ’s Recirculating Fume Cupboard creates a healthier workspace for National Collection of Aerial Photography staff preparing and digitising film archive.
  • Monmouth Scientific’s Recirculating Fume Cupboard is used by National Collection of Aerial Photography staff as mould is safely removed from photographic prints before a digital replication is created.

Fume Extractors

Preserving historic aerial photographs with Innovative fume cupboard technology

Jul 20 2023

The Recirculating Fume Cupboards from leading clean air solution manufacturer, Monmouth Scientific, are providing invaluable support to image restoration and preservation experts at the National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP). This cutting-edge solution ensures a highly clean environment, enabling the NCAP team to safely preserve their vast collection of millions of aerial images capturing historic events and locations from around the globe.

Recognising the pressing handling and conservation challenges faced by the team at NCAP, Monmouth Scientific's skilled team identified the Recirculating Fume Cupboards as the perfect solution to address their needs. With the move to a specialised state-of-the-art collections care and digitisation facility in Edinburgh, the NCAP now has ample space to accommodate the processes required to tackle these critical challenges effectively.  

Digital Imaging Manager Alan Potts said: “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.”

Due to the archive's age and previous storage conditions, some items have experienced degradation over time. Among the 6.5 million photographic prints, mould growth has occurred, necessitating safe removal before digital replication can be initiated. The critical task of mould removal can only be safely carried out within a Recirculating Fume Cupboard, in combination with appropriate PPE. This ensures the safety of both the restoration experts and the valuable collection during the preservation process.

The film archive faces a distinct challenge as the acetate base of the film can undergo autocatalytic degradation, resulting in the production of acetic acid. Although not hazardous, the emitted odour is unpleasant and can cause irritation during prolonged exposure. To address this concern and promote a healthier workspace for all staff, preparing and digitising the film within a Recirculating Fume Cupboard effectively mitigates this issue.

The Circulaire® Recirculating Fume Cupboard offers the advantage of not requiring any external ducting, allowing for flexible installation anywhere within the workspace. Its specialised design guides airflow inward, effectively capturing and containing vapours at their source within the controlled working area. The fume cupboard utilises Activated Carbon filters to purify the air, releasing clean air back into the laboratory. With its minimal energy consumption and outstanding performance, this recirculating technology not only provides optimal functionality but also leads to significant cost savings and contributes to a greener, more sustainable laboratory environment.

The integration of this innovative solution into the new facility has resulted in transformative effects on workflow and output for the NCAP. With active programs now prioritising critical conservation issues, the Circulaire® Recirculating Fume Cupboard has played a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency and reinforcing the organisation's commitment to preservation efforts.

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