X-Ray & Screening Systems
X-ray technology has been in use for some years in the form of scanners designed to detect any suspicious packages. These scanners range from little ones in mail rooms to large, industrial sized ones commonly found in airports. The detection of weapons and other contraband materials is essential in maintaining the safety of people in the modern world.
While it goes without saying that X-ray scanners are found in the security section of airports, they are also located in a number of other places. The hand baggage zone at check-in and the cargo pallets also have X-ray scanners, working towards finding substances at various locations and lowering the risk of someone tampering with baggage.
On top of that, border crossings and seaports are also likely to have X-ray scanners due to the high volumes of people passing through them each day. Areas that hold sensitive information on people of high importance, like embassies and government buildings, will also have scanners to ensure individuals stay protected. On a slightly smaller scale, commercial buildings and mail rooms may have scanners to ensure no suspicious packages make their way through the postage system or reach specific people. Anywhere that is deemed to be a target by terrorists like airports, courthouses and military installations are likely to have some sort of X-ray scanner in addition to the standard security procedures in place.
How they work
X-ray scanners work by passing electromagnetic waves through the items they scan. Once the rays have passed through an item, they are then picked up by a detector. The detector passes the rays onto a filter that blocks the lower energy X-rays and the higher energy rays then reach a second detector. Different materials absorb X-rays at different levels and so the machine can project a clear image onto the scanner screen for the operator to then analyse.
The items are generally split into categories of organic, inorganic and metal - then colour coded accordingly. Some of the more advanced X-ray scanners have more categories and other colours to further drill down the types of items being scanned. This can make it quicker and more accurate to detect anything suspicious, preventing further delays during the security check process.
Threat Image Projection
Threat Image Projection (TIP) is a software package that randomly inserts a suspicious image into items being scanned such as a gun, knife or explosive. If the operator of the scanner flags the item, the TIP software notifies them that it is a TIP image. However, if they miss the item, this is recorded against their login. Administrators can then check how many items have been spotted and missed, making the TIP software a great tool for training and quality control. Helping to improve the skills of the operators may ensure they spot things sooner or pick up on more suspicious items, cutting the risk level.
Many newer X-ray scanners are now network ready, allowing them to be integrated easily into an existing infrastructure. This gives staff the option of monitoring the scanners remotely from a central control room, potentially speeding up the whole process and removing unnecessary delays.
On top of that the Screener Assist software works alongside operators to scan everything moving along the belt. It will automatically look for suspicious items like explosives or other potential threats by utilising advanced material classification and atomic density analysis. The software highlights any areas of suspicion, alerting the operator to something that they may have otherwise missed.