To meet the demands of higher-throughput cargo inspection, American Science and Engineering [ASEI] has developed and introduced Sentry Portal, a high-energy system that can scan up to 150 trucks an hour and allows drivers to stay in their vehicles.

In addition, the company says the relocatable system has a small footprint, making it a viable solution to integrate into existing traffic operations as well as at sea ports, and also produces high quality X-Ray imagery, making it competitive with larger, high-energy systems that still may produce better images but have dramatically lower throughputs.

Typical high-energy mobile and gantry X-Ray systems scan up to 25 trucks per hour. These systems emit a high radiation dose so a truck driver must exit the vehicle before it is scanned.

The most interest in the Sentry Portal now is coming from customs organizations as well as others interested in protecting critical infrastructure and high threat facilities, Joe Reiss, vice president of marketing at AS&E, tells TR2. The military is also a potential customer, he says.

Sentry Portal has plenty of opportunities in the international market and Reiss says there is interest from Middle East customers for critical infrastructure and high-threat facility protection. He also says that the high-throughput capability combined with ability to install it into existing traffic operations makes it a strong candidate for use at ports of departure where cargo first enters a gate.

At this point truck drivers are already slowing down to show their identification and have their credentials checked so they could pass through a Sentry Portal system as they’re entering the port complex a Sentry Portal system would fit into the operations, Reiss says.

The Sentry Portal is a 7.5 MeV transmission X-Ray system capable of penetrating up to 12 inches of steel. Vehicles can pass through it a 7.5 miles per hour. The system itself is 12.2 feet front-to-back, 27 feet wide and 19 feet tall.

In existing traffic operations AS&E is finding customer interest in combining the Sentry Portal with the low-energy Z Portal backscatter imaging system, which comes in configurations for screening either passenger vehicles or trucks. The Sentry Portal automatically begins scanning after the truck cab has passed thorough the system. The Z Portal can scan a vehicle with the occupants inside.

“We see security applications in a variety of locations overseas where you don’t just worry about the cargo container; the truck [cab] itself is a big issue,” Reiss says. “So we’ve seen a lot of customers’ interested in having both of the systems together in a drive through configuration. Kind of like [our OmniView system], all the same imaging, and you can drive through it and it’s less expensive, higher throughput and easier to install.”

OmniView is a high-energy gantry system that moves on rails and requires the driver to exit the cab before it can be operated. The system also requires a much larger footprint than Sentry Portal and can scan up to 24 trucks an hour.

Reiss says that whether a customer decides to go with a high-energy mobile or gantry system or a higher throughput system like Sentry Portal comes down to customer needs.

In addition to being integrated inline with the Z Portal, AS&E says the Sentry Portal can also work inline with radiation portal monitors, container identification systems and license plate readers.