As well as the term planetary scanner, the terms orbital scanner or book scanner are used to describe a category of scanners that are specifically designed for the high-quality and gentle digitization of documents and objects.
In contrast to flatbed scanners and document scanners, the scanning unit of the planetary scanner is located above the support surface, so that the originals can be scanned from above without contact. Bound originals such as books and magazines can be conveniently placed with their backs down on the scanner’s support surface. As a result, they can be opened and pages turned over normally and thus scanned very quickly and easily. In contrast to flatbed scanners, in which the book is pressed upside down on the plate and the spine is exposed to high pressure, planetary scanners are extremely gentle to the book spine.
High-quality planetary light scanners also provide adjustable book cradles, which compensate for the differences in height when turning the pages and also release the spine of the book in order to avoid any pressure. However, if a glass plate is needed such systems often also offer the possibility of an adjustable pressure control.
High-quality optics and sensor technology also guarantee the capturing over the entire surface without distortion, so that even difficult areas such as book folds and marginal areas can be easily scanned in the highest quality.
Planetary scanners are available in a wide variety of designs and formats.