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Agreement to commercialise cargo screening technology

28 March, 2008

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Geoff Garrett and Zhijun Li, Vice President of Chinese security-inspection-system specialist Nuctech Company Ltd, has launched a new venture to commercialise the next generation in air cargo scanning technology.

In a move that will advance front-line border security worldwide, the joint venture will see the two partners working together to develop a new scanner incorporating CSIRO’s world-first neutron technology and Nuctech’s proven x-ray systems.

According to Dr Garrett, CSIRO’s scanning technology is designed to accurately and rapidly detect a wide range of threat items concealed inside air freight containers.

“This includes metal items such as weapons and organic materials such as narcotics and explosives – in real time without unpacking the container,” Dr Garrett says.

“Development and commercialisation of air cargo scanning technology will create significant added value for aviation security in the long term.”

Conventional x-ray scanners are good at detecting objects based on their density and shape but are quite insensitive to composition. By combining neutron and x-ray imaging, the new technology creates material-specific images of the contents of air cargo containers. This helps the operator detect any anomalies that should be inspected more closely.

The technology is easily integrated with existing airport systems and is designed to be non-intrusive to minimise the impact on rapid freight movement. Scanning an air freight container should take less than one minute.

The new venture will see Nuctech and CSIRO working together to manufacture the first commercial unit of the new air cargo scanner in Beijing. A detailed program of trials will then be undertaken to demonstrate the technology.

Nuctech Vice President Mr Li says the mutual understanding between the two organisations and the increasing needs of aviation security are the driving forces for the partnership.

“Development and commercialisation of air cargo scanning technology will create significant added value for aviation security in the long term,” Li says.

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