Exclusive Q&A Jean Olivier Fer, Director of Product Management, Smiths Detection



Jean Olivier Fer, Director of Product Management (Cargo Detection Systems), Smiths Detection, Paris, France


What are your key products – are you launching anything new?

We offer a complete range of cargo inspection systems for varying customer requirements. We help in the prevention of the transportation of explosives, arms and other threats, as well as alleviate bottlenecks at checkpoints and deter tax evasion activities. On October 1, 2014, we launched the IONSCAN 600; a cost-effective, portable desktop trace explosives detector, weighing just 10.4kg. The IONSCAN utilises non-radioactive technology, resulting in no special licensing or handling requirements. Other innovations include our suite of iCmore software enhancements for the automatic or assisted recognition of targets or threats. iCmore supports effective cargo analysis across the Smiths Detection HCV cargo inspection product range, with current available options including cigarette detection and radioactivity detection. Today the operator is provided with general X-ray images, which he must match with the original manifest report, relying solely on his own initiative and training to look for potential threats and targets. In the future, the iCmore suite will assist operators by automatically focussing and highlighting a range of defined threats and/or abnormalities within the load. This lessens guess work and speeds up the overall analysis process.

How are your products applied in port applications and what sort of lifespan do they have?

How much operator training is required and how many operatives are needed for each unit? The lifespan of our systems depends on the type of system – mobile, stationary, etcetera – and the amount of usage. Our reliable systems can be easily upgraded to allow port operators to conform and adapt to industry and regulation changes. For example, our HCVS stationary systems can be easily upgraded with advanced software and hardware options, increasing the system lifespan for up to 20 years. These upgrades can include options such as the Dataset Management System (DMS), which offers remote image analysis of cargo and storage of all associated data; creating a centralised operator analysis pool and reducing the strain on on-site operators. Detailed and in-depth image analysis training is provided to system and image evaluation operators as well as operational training for system operators at the time of installation.

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