Airport bottle scanner wins EU approval

Air travellers in Europe will soon be able to carry liquids again following certification of a new scanner.

Kromek, a British company specialising in technology for airport and border security, has received EU certification to provide colour X-ray liquid detection systems to all European airports.

By April 2011, liquid items bought in transit will be allowed on board, providing the appropriate security measures, such as screening, are in place at the airports concerned. Trials led by the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) have established that the technology is ready to allow the 2011 deadline to be met by the airports. By April 2013, the ban will be lifted completely, allowing the carriage of liquids on flights across Europe.

The certification means that all EU airports are now free to buy and implement Kromek's bottle scanner. The device is a desktop inspection unit that can handle various shapes and sizes of sealed glass, plastic and metal containers. The liquid is scanned and analysed based on multi-spectral analysis of X-rays using a combination of detectors and a proprietary algorithm to determine whether the spectral fingerprint matches that of the claimed content. Additional materials can be added to the database as required.

Dr Arnab Basu, CEO of Kromek, said: "It's a significant milestone as the approved listing is vindication that colour X-ray detection has been proven. The next generation of X-ray technology has arrived, with a market ready machine that can detect liquid threats.

"The threat from Liquid, Aerosol and Gel (LAG) based explosives became apparent in August 2006 following discovery of a plot to use such devices aboard multiple transatlantic flights. Although Kromek had not set out to produce such equipment we were quick to realise with our capabilities we had the versatility to produce a solution for this market need."

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