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10/16/2014 - New Standard in Explosives Trace Detection Delivers Greater

New Standard in Explosives Trace Detection Delivers Greater Value for Cargo Screening
By Nav Mosey, Air Cargo Sales Manager

Explosives Trace Detectors, or ETDs, have been the go-to choice of airlines and freight forwarders to screen cargo to date. Reliable detection capabilities, coupled with a small footprint and low capital cost, have made ETDs an obvious choice for shippers to move their freight through the screening process.

Conversely, until recently, many of the technologies certified to screen air cargo had not been specifically designed for a cargo environment, instead originally having been developed to meet the needs of screening passengers and checked baggage.

Legacy ETDs have presented challenges to cargo screening operations, proving expensive to own with high consumable expenses. Additionally, these legacy systems are sensitive and can be complicated to use, requiring frequent manual calibration to accommodate changing environmental conditions like humidity and air pressure. Legacy systems also use radioactive materials that increase costs and logistical requirements for screening operations. The result of these issues is increased cost, hassle, and slower than desired performance for screening operations.

As air cargo security has received greater focus in recent years, especially with plots like the 2010 Yemen terrorist plot that sought to utilize printer ink cartridges filled with explosives, it is imperative that more effective and user-friendly technologies be brought to market. Recently, a new standard of ETD technology has been approved and made available, purpose-built to meet the operational demands of the air cargo market.

These next generation systems feature a simplified interface so operators can focus on screening and through-put without worrying about the technology. These new systems also no longer need to be manually calibrated, as they internally, and automatically, calibrate themselves. This means systems are operational more of the time (increased “up-time”), allowing for increased screening time and system availability.

Moreover, the self-calibrating systems don’t require the costly calibration kits that were necessary to operate older systems. Combined with lower consumables costs, the cost of owning and operating this type of technology are significantly reduced. Maintenance has also been simplified, allowing for just the push of a few buttons to ensure that systems are ready and able to screen, thereby further increasing up-time and system availability.

Finally, these new ETD systems don’t employ any radioactive materials. The result is that any cargo operation with a global presence can more easily deploy and move these systems. Logistical and regulatory costs and headaches are eliminated because of the advancement of these non-radioactive ETD systems.

The air cargo market has been waiting for new technology: technology built to make screening faster, easier and more economical. That day has arrived. A new standard in screening technology is now available and is already being deployed for cargo operations.

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