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Project Details

Historic Environment Scotland

Cobot Scanning Cells Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh


A unique collection of millions of aerial photographs featuring 55 Commonwealth countries is currently being digitised to enable researchers to track environmental changes since the 1940s. The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP), part of Historic Environment Scotland, holds an incredible number of prints at their headquarters, including many taken over Europe during the Second World War.

The process of digitising the volumes of photographs involved the manual scanning of each image is a mammoth task for humans alone. Due to the sheer scale of this project, it became apparent that there was a need for automation to enhance the efficiency of the process.



We designed, created and commissioned seven bespoke Cobot workstations that run 24/7. These Cobots automatically pick and place the photographic prints on to scanner bed using a bespoke End of Arm Tool we purpose-made for this application. The system then automatically operates the lids and triggers the scanning process, during which, the Cobot operates a second scanner to minimise waiting time and ensure maximum efficiency of each Cobot. Once complete, the Cobot then safely places the finished print into the completed hopper and the process is restarted.

Historic Environment Scotland Website