“Global passenger traffic is expected to nearly double by 2025 and airports have a limited footprint,” explained Doug Deihl, Senior Director Business Development of computed tomography (CT) technology and aviation security developer Analogic Corporation. “The checkpoint area in which airports screen passengers can’t expand without millions of dollars of infrastructure investment, and so, one of the key challenges of today is getting an increasing number of passengers through that space safely, securely and quickly without creating a huge bottleneck.”
Security screening and detection processes have historically given rise to challenges for airport operators; the requisite for unfailing safety and accuracy being met in equal measure by the need to deliver a seamless and convenient journey through security for passengers. In response, the industry’s leading manufacturers have developed innovative, next generation technologies that conquer both demands, and also fulfil the increasingly prevalent financial and spatial requirements that are vying for the top spot on airports’ lists of priorities. “Factor in additional security threats to detect and screen and, simply, technology needs to take a step forward – to enhance security while also improving the passenger experience. New technology is the pathway forward; both to meet the needs of the travelling public and to save the airport money,” Deihl said.
Innovating for passenger and airport
Bruker Detection’s DE-tector instrument detects traces of explosives and drugs on passenger’s property that could have been transferred if a passenger has handled or otherwise been in contact with explosives or drugs materials or devices. It is based on Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS), a highly sensitive technique that can detect a passenger’s contact with explosives even if they have washed their hands in the meantime. In use, a passenger suspected of having been in contact with explosives would have their property ‘swabbed’ by a non-scratch PTFE ‘swipe’, which acts like a vacuum cleaner, collecting tiny particles of whatever is on the surface of the property. The swab is inserted in the instrument, in an ATM-like aperture, and an analysis is performed automatically. If explosives are detected, the instrument also identifies the type of explosive it is.
With concern surrounding exposure to certain forms of radiation as a result of screening becoming an emerging challenge in the security field, the Bruker DE-tector system, as well as being highly sensitive and highly specific, boasts a unique advantage. “One key feature that is attracting much attention is that our system achieves this sensitivity and specificity without using the type of radioactive source found in competitor instruments,” Bruker Detection’s spokesman explained. “By not having a radioactive source in our products, our clients have significantly less administration to undertake. Overall, this feature reduces cost of ownership; an important criterion for the users of multiple units that we supply to large airports.”
Together with an assurance of safety, passengers and airports alike also seek a streamlined security process, with ease and expedition at the heart of the experience. Alongside its core aviation business segment in checked baggage, Analogic Corporation also develops checkpoint detection systems. Since it developed its first airport explosive detection facility in the 1990s, Analogic has deployed 1,200 airport systems in more than 30 countries worldwide, and has made and continues to make revolutionary strides in the field. Its COBRA® Checkpoint CT Security System supports the industry-wide passenger growth. Using computed tomography (CT) technology, the system can process up to 550 bags an hour, and its state-of-the-art detection capabilities enable enhanced operational efficiency for the airport, meaning higher throughput and a better passenger experience.
The pioneering 3D system allows passengers to leave liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) and laptops in their carry-on baggage as the baggage goes through the screening process. The COBRA system enables the use of 3D images so that operators can see around corners and rotate a bag image to locate prohibited items. “Passengers can just ‘Throw and GoTM’, which means baggage can be put on the conveyor belt without divesting laptops, tablets, liquids, or duty free purchases from carry-on bags,” Deihl added. “Our system was designed to significantly improve operational efficiency and passenger convenience.”
Eric Zanin, Vice President and General Manager, Security Systems at Analogic, commented: “As you look to this concept of airport cities – and the fact that airports are becoming part recreational, part leisure and part business – it’s our aim as a company and a leading provider of security technology to make the passenger experience a very good one, and to underpin a highly secure environment with technology that makes the airport journey seamless.”
“Today’s security sector and the ever-stricter regulations relating to security screening equipment require devices with the highest operational and functional performances,” said Luca Pitti, International Sales Manager at CEIA. “CEIA security screening equipment grants 100% detection capability of the threats according to the specified regulations and authority standards, assuring an extremely high security level and maintaining high throughput.”
CEIA is a developer of cutting-edge Enhanced Metal Detectors (EMDs), which comply with the most stringent security levels while maintaining a very high transit flow rate. “CEIA EMDs enable a non-invasive screening process that preserves passenger privacy. The analysis done by the CEIA EMDs is completely automatic, and does not provide to the operator any image of the passenger but just a green or alarm message. This aspect is very important because it makes the passenger very comfortable and relaxed during the inspection screening,” furthered Pitti. “CEIA security screening solutions improve airport passengers’ experience. For example, CEIA EMDs, thanks to their extremely high discrimination (low nuisance alarm rate) on passengers’ metal belongings, allow a smoother and more comfortable screening process for both passengers and operators, reducing to the minimum the need for manual search.”
It has also designed and introduced the EMA-3 Bottled Liquids Scanner, a compact device, which has met the EC detection requirements under the ECAC common evaluation process. It is designed for the screening of bottles and their contents, with the goal of detecting the presence of combustible, flammable and explosive liquids.
The needs of both passenger and airport are at the crux of Smiths Detection’s vision for security equipment that satisfies current and will fulfil future regulatory requirements. Smiths Detection is a one-stop supplier for airports, specialising in advanced security solutions for civil and military markets worldwide, developing and manufacturing government-regulated technology products that identify explosives, chemical and biological agents, weapons and contraband – with one of the most comprehensive ranges of detection technologies in the world. “Smiths Detection’s passion is to be one step ahead of future security requirements,” said Monika Witt, Communications & Marketing Manager EMEA Transportation. “We provide one-stop solutions for checkpoints such as Explosives Detection Systems (EDS) for carry-on baggage, metal and trace detectors, people-screening technologies, and conventional X-ray products, including liquid detection according to EU LEDS Standards. It is one of our declared goals to offer excellent technologies, and products that fulfil future standards and legal requirements already today.”
Its state-of-the-art innovations include the HI-SCAN 10080 XCT, a next generation automated explosives detection system for checked baggage – EU Standard 3 approved and TSA Lab certified; the eqo millimetre-wave people screener, which is the only one of its kind to meet EU Standard 2 requirements; and the HI-SCAN 6040-2is, a newly launched X-ray system for automatic explosives detection at checkpoints.
Smiths Detection has invested heavily in exploring the future of the security process. An IATA member, ‘Strategic Partner Security’ and ACI member, it participates in regular IATA and ACI workshops on the future checkpoint solutions shaping aviation security. Smiths Detection is also in constant dialogue with airport operators and end users, and aviation associations such as ICAO and GATE. Witt explained that the Checkpoint of the Future will see: “Process improvement for increased operational efficiency, minimal waiting times, minimal need to divest, minimal interruption, and a more effective level of security.” Risk-based security strategies and differentiated screening, she explained, will also become more prevalent, with passenger data, identity management and Known Traveller Programs enabling airports to allocate resources to where they are most needed. Every airport will be equipped with technology for enhanced detection capability with individually facilitated lanes for different passenger categories, while the divesting of liquids and laptops will no longer be necessary, and automation will become a larger part of the process.