ISJ Exclusive: Setting the gold standard in security screening

Setting the gold standard in security screening

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ISJ – April Edition Exclusive

International Security Journal catches up with Jason Wakefield, Sales Director, Todd Research.

How has the demand for effective screening technology changed over the years?

If you were to revert to 50 years ago, security screening was essentially for aviation and high end government buildings. Terrorism has evolved dramatically and we find ourselves in a place where screening is expected and is fast becoming the norm. Devices that are intended to inflict harm designed by terrorists and activists have evolved and can quite easily be disguised in everyday objects, often making them extremely difficult to detect. Most materials can be easily purchased either online or in store and then with minimal expertise be turned into a potentially lethal device.

Like all technology, it has become a race to get more efficient equipment to be able to complete your task effectively. This is no different in the x-ray industry, where it is not just about producing x-rays, it is about what you do with the images after the x-ray that really makes a difference. The number of features now available on Astrophysics’ scanners such as screener assist, picture perfect and AI – that were not available 20 years ago – are now invaluable options to help enable the user to identify suspect packages and weapons with ease.

What are Todd Research’s key focuses in 2023?

Todd Research has experienced significant growth over the last five years; we have tripled our production capability and we have opened up new distribution channels both in the UK and overseas. We have bolstered our portfolio of security detection products, enabling us to be the go-to provider for advice and detection equipment. During 2023, we are focusing on increasing our distribution network and launching our latest generation cabinet x-ray scanner that will once again show Todd Research as a market leader within the x-ray detection industry. We are fast growing into the aviation market and we will continue to do this over the next couple of years.

How important is training to the progression of the screening sector?

When purchasing an x-ray machine, there are many factors to take into consideration – one of these is the expertise of the staff operating the units. You could spend tens of thousands of pounds to get the very latest technology, but one thing that should not be overlooked is the training of your staff.

Unfortunately, good security courses can be hard to find and some even allow the participants to achieve certification without ensuring that all the necessary concepts have been properly understood. It is imperative that training and support of the x-ray screening operator is always available, providing them with courses that will give them the knowledge they need to do their jobs with confidence; trusting in their own judgment is a must.

We have found that no matter where people buy x-ray units from, training is often only provided at the time of installation – and then training for future staff is delivered from the current x-ray operators within the building. The danger of this is that the message gets diluted and it is never updated with the very latest advice. Training needs to be regular and ongoing to ensure that operator skill levels are always to the highest standard.

You frequently highlight the importance of recycling old equipment – can you tell us more about this?

X-ray scanners, regardless of the country of installation, need to comply with stringent regulations. Within these regulations, you need to provide cradle to grave documentation on the ownership and disposal of your x-ray scanner, to ensure that the unit has been serviced regularly throughout its lifetime and that ethical disposal has been carried out.

Typically, a scanner in regular use will need replacing after about six to eight years, either because the efficiency and image quality have decreased over time or to upgrade and keep up to date with the latest technology and innovations. Fortunately, most of the components of superseded equipment can be recycled when it reaches the end of its working life. Once the x-ray generator has been removed and the oil within it drained, the various metal components, which include hard steel, lead and aluminium, can be recycled.

Todd Research is conscious of the impact on the environment when disposing of old x-ray machines. With this in mind, the Todd Research R&D team is currently working on the latest generation of its x-ray cabinet scanner. The design of our CT5 scanner is taking the environment and recycling into great consideration; when it is time to upgrade to the latest technology, a customer will simply keep the shell of the scanner and we will upgrade the internal components, ensuring less impact on the environment and a vast cost saving for the customer.

Why is your partnership with Astrophysics so valuable?

Todd Research has worked extremely hard to grow its brand and we are proud of the excellent reputation we have gained so far. Therefore, it is important that when looking for a new partner, we choose a manufacturer that mirrors the same quality standards, service levels and business ethics that we adhere to.

There is so much choice in the world when it comes to conveyor manufacturers, but partnering with Astrophysics was the obvious choice for us. As well as having an excellent product range that fits with both aviation, government and the commercial market, like Todd Research, Astrophysics sets the gold standard when it comes to product quality and customer service. We foresee our relationship with Astrophysics going from strength to strength over the coming years and we are excited for the future of our partnership.

This article was originally published in the April edition of ISJ. To read your free digital edition, click here.

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