DHS continues the search for liquid explosives detection

Published 4 June 2007

Tests begin on ICx’s PaxPoint machine, but Sellex International presses hard with its Sencion alternative

Thanks once again to the tireless bloggers at Gizmag for bring us news of a new liquid explosives detector. Known as the Sencion and manufactured by Columbus, Ohio-based Sellex International, the device is noted by its ability to assess the contents of a bottle without having to remove the cap — a key point if passengers will ever again be permitted to bring drinks from home. (Carbonated drinks, for instance, would be spoiled if opened prematurely.) Rather, the bottle is placed on a small metal platform, where electro-magnetic radiation is used to scan the contents. The Sencion is already in use in Japan’s Kansai International Airport, and DHS officials are currently considering whether to follow suit.

We believe the Sencion is the only threat liquid detection device that addresses all of the department’s security concerns and is ready for immediate deployment in airports nationwide,” said Sellex CEO Jerry Sellman. Competitor ICx Technologies, however, does not agree, and that company’s similar PaxPoint machine already has a head start. TSA recently announced that it would deploy 200 of the $20,000 machines at airports nationwide. There are a few differences between the rival machines. Unlike the Sencion, the handheld PaxPoint relies on a sniffer held an inch away from the suspicious container, and it does not seem to have the same range of capabilities. “It’s designed to detect a very specific type of liquid threat that is found in common household liquids,” he said.