GE Puffer Machine to be installed in forty busy airports

Published 10 January 2006

At times there is a mismatch between technology and how it is described: The Web page describing GE’s innovative puffer machine, an explosive particles detector, used to carry the header: “California Screening”; the juvenile header was removed, and the technology gains new adherents in the nation’s airports

About forty of the busiest U.S. airports will have bomb-detection equipment known as puffer machines from GE installed by spring, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced. There are now twenty-four airports with the walk-through machines, which puff air onto a person to dislodge tiny particles from skin and clothing. The machine sucks up the particles and then analyzes them for traces of explosives. A puffer machine takes about seventeen seconds to check a passenger and can analyze particles as small as one-billionth of a gram.

Puffer machines were installed Monday at Washington’s Dulles International and Reagan National airports. In the next few weeks, airports in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Sacramento, California, will get the machines. The airports that already have them are in: Baltimore; Boston; Dallas (DFW); Detroit; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Gulfport, Mississippi; Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Florida; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; Newark, New Jersey; New York (JFK); Palm Beach, Florida; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Providence, Rhode Island; Rochester, New York.; San Francisco; San Diego; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Tampa.

-read more in this report

GE puffer machine