Clampdown at customs

Smiths Detection has recently secured a €10m order with Belgian Customs for its screening technology, which has the ability to differentiate between organic and inorganic matter.


Smiths Detection has secured a €10m order with Belgian Customs for its screening technology, which has the ability to differentiate between organic and inorganic matter.



The Heimann Cargo Vision (HCV) system, will be deployed over the next 12 months at ports in Antwerp and Zeebrugge where they will be used to check import and export cargo transported in trucks and containers for illicit goods and contraband. Equipment will be housed in specially designed buildings, inside which trucks will be scanned. One of the systems has a two-lane screening process, allowing Belgian customs officials to scan two vehicles at the same time.



Simone Gradassi of Smiths Detection explained that the technology uses high-energy x-rays that can penetrate the thick metal container and enable custom officers to establish whether explosives or drugs are present through a colour-coded image. Two high-energy x-rays are used to scan the container, 9MeV and 6MeV, which produce images that are then merged to produce the colour image. Orange denotes organic material, blue inorganic and green will be a mixture of both. Gradassi added that a 9MeV x-ray can penetrate up to 400mm.



This is the second contract for container and vehicle inspection systems at Belgian ports to be awarded to Smiths Detection, though the earlier systems did not have material discrimination functionality.


Belgium has also ordered the high-energy mobile cargo screening system HCV-mobile that can screen more than 25 loaded trucks and containers per hour and generates high-resolution images of the cargo.