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X-ray Baggage Scanner


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Do you ever wonder if your X-ray baggage scanner is sensitive enough for accurate baggage inspection? 

Both transportation and security agencies rely on the accuracy of tools like metal detectors and X-ray baggage scanners to accurately identify threats to the safety of travelers and their properties. 

The sensitivity of these scanners determines the efficiency of security agents in averting impending dangers at public places and traveling locations like train stations and airports. 

Uni X-ray has some of the most innovative and highly sensitive X-ray machine baggage scanners to help you inspect and identify hidden threats within the baggage and in packaged objects.

X-ray Baggage Scanner: the Beginner's Guide

Table of Contents

The ability to see through packaged items without unpacking them has become essential for security personnel, especially at airports and other public places. 

This ability relies on the workings of tools like the X-ray machine baggage scanners.  This guide will help you understand the workings of an X-ray baggage scanner and how much it costs. So, let’s start by defining an X-ray baggage scanner.

1. What is a X-ray Baggage Scanner?

X-ray baggage scanners are devices that use radiation energy generated from a source, such as an X-ray tube, to inspect the contents of packages. 

They often present the contents of these packages as an image that an inspector then analyzes to identify if they contain contrabands and life-threatening objects.

The workings of X-ray baggage machines involve the generation of radiation projected on the object to penetrate it. 

After absorbing this radiation, The object casts an image of its contents on a screen. This image depends on the samples’ radiation absorption, with thick objects absorbing more radiation and appearing darker than lighter objects.

2. Why Do You Need an X-ray Baggage Machine? 


Airport security

Recently, many countries in the world have undergone varied public security issues. Few criminals utilized varied dangerous goods to create a threat in public places. This act not only caused fatalities to the citizens but also affected their safety by casting a shadow on social harmony.

Long back, we only relied on manual processes for a safety inspection, which consumed a lot of time to complete the security work, causing invasion and negligence of public privacy. When the X-ray machines were launched, many issues were solved. When the luggage passes through the X-ray machine detection channel, it is possible to quickly detect whether it carries any contraband. That’s how security machines play a major role in major public places like railway stations, airports, and subway entrances.

3. How does an X-ray Baggage Scanner Work?

The X-ray baggage scanner is an electronic device that inspects every baggage in a conveyor belt when it enters into the X-ray inspection channel. When the baggage enters the X-ray inspection channel, it blocks the package detection sensor and sends the detection signal to the system control section to generate an X-ray trigger signal, to emit the X-ray from the source. As the X-ray beam penetrates every target object on the conveyor belt, the radiation gets absorbed by the object, followed by the bombardment of the semiconductor detector mounted in the channel. The semiconductor detector converts the X-rays into signals, gets amplified, and transferred to the signal processing frame for more processing. These signals are finally processed and then displayed on the screen. Even if there are many layers in the baggage, X-rays can penetrate and show the contents of the baggage layer by layer.


When you are walking through the metal detector, your bags are going through the X-ray screening. A conveyor belt transfers each item towards an X-ray machine. X-rays are electromagnetic waves with high energy, compared to light. Hence, they can penetrate through any material. The equipment used in airports is usually based on a dual-energy X-ray system. This system has one X-ray source emitting X-rays in the range of 140 to 160-kilovolt peak (KVP). KVP denotes the quantity of penetration an X-ray makes. The higher the KVP, the further will be the penetrating power of X-rays. After passing through the items under X-rays, the images are captured by a detector. This detector then transfers the X-rays onto a filter, which blocks the lower-energy X-rays. The resultant high-energy X-rays hit the second detector. The computer circuit compares both these pickups to represent low-energy objects like organic materials easily.

4. What is the Application of X-ray Machine Baggage Scanner?


Application of X-ray Machine Baggage Scanner

X-ray baggage scanners are used in varied places, such as buildings, transport terminals, airports, factories, embassies, courthouses, military installations, convention centres, hotels, prisons, schools, security checkpoints as well as special events.

The X-ray baggage machine can detect dangerous and illegal items such as smuggling goods, hidden contraband, weapons, explosives, or narcotics items.

Luggage detectors are also accompanied by an unparalleled global support network apart from other benefits such as high security, speed, reliability, ease-of-use, and cost-effectiveness. Based on these characteristics, it is possible to predict the performance quality of an X-ray baggage scanner.

5. How Much does an X-ray Baggage Scanner Cost?

The cost of an X-ray baggage scanner depends on a few critical factors that you should consider diligently before purchasing your scanner.

However, before choosing a suitable scanner, you need to first understand the nature of the inspection you want to carry out. Identifying things like the thickness of the object, material properties, and material types is critical.

Some factors that substantially affect the price of an x-ray baggage scanner include the type of X-ray tube, the generator, the console, and the level of automation of the scanner.

The X-ray tube generates the X-ray for the penetration of the objects with different types having different capacities depending on the anticipated thickness of the inspected samples. However, regardless of the capacities, X-ray tubes often come as either sealed or open tubes, where sealed tubes cost less than open tubes. 

The generator supplies the power to the X-ray tube and can be a single-phase generator or high-intensity generator. The high-intensity generators cost more than their single-phase counterparts as they produce more power for the X-ray tube with high-frequency energy and better image quality.

The console (the interface for controlling the amount of current and voltage) and the automation level increase the cost of the X-ray machine baggage scanners as their sophistication increases.

In all, an X-ray baggage scanner can cost between $30,000 to $600,000. 

6. How to Select the Right X-ray Baggage Scanner?

There are three criteria to be followed to select the right security screening machine:


1. Learn to distinguish between “cargo inspection” and “passenger inspection”.

Security inspection equipment is classified into “passenger inspection” and “cargo inspection” in terms of the thickness of the bottom plate, transmission speed, penetration, and so on. “Passenger inspection” security equipment is light to handle, works directly in front of the passengers, and the requirements for the bottom plate are relatively low. “Cargo Inspection” security equipment works by directly facing the goods, like in the express industry with individual throwing phenomenon, as well as the higher requirements of the bottom plate. Hence, the “passenger inspection” type is followed in railways, civil aviation, and other departments, whereas the “Cargo inspection” type is followed in the express industry.


2. The more the penetration, the better will be the use. Is it true?

Penetration is considered as the core technology of a security machine. Many people feel that if the penetration level is greater, the better will be the use of security equipment. But that’s not the case. If the penetration ability is higher, the cost will be more, followed by the higher radiation risk. Hence, select the intensity that suits your demand. Be sensible, and do not overdo it.


3. Finally, don’t opt for low quality.

People believe that the number of X-ray security check equipment used in express delivery businesses is more compared to the railway and civil aviation due to which they have a low service life. But that’s not the case. The security check equipment in the railway division works for more than 22 hours per day, whereas the security check machine in express business works for only 15 hours per day. The security machines of Express enterprises have a short life, due to their cheap and poor quality. Over-underpriced machines will have lesser product specifications with inferior quality. Hence it is advised to purchase a security check machine price close to the cost price. 

7. What Instructions should we Follow while Using the X-ray Machine Baggage Scanner?

1) Properly trained personnel can only install and operate the screening equipment.

2) Only the technicians can remove the protective parts or cover plate during maintenance.

3) Avoid using an X-ray safety machine outdoors.

4) The security check equipment must work under the specific working voltage. So, it is necessary to check the working voltage before using the machine.

5) The security check equipment must have proper grounding. The installation site for using the equipment socket should have a grounding terminal.

6) If there is excess voltage fluctuation in the specific area, it is recommended to use the AC regulator.

7) It is not advised to connect any electronic component that is not part of this equipment to the power distributor of this X-ray security instrument.

8) Any improper modification can damage the X-ray security inspection equipment. Hence the users are strictly prohibited from making those improper modifications to the instrument.

9) The security check machine is only used to check items, and not the animals or humans.

10) If the instrument has not been used for more than 6 months, it is advised not to turn on then. Call the professional to restart the machine.

11) Remember not to stand or sit on a conveyor belt.

12) Never touch the rollers or edges of the conveyor belt.

13) Never permit any part of the body to come under the inspection channel when the device is on.

14) Never stack the baggage both in the inspection aisle and at the exit. If the baggage is blocking the inspection aisle, remember to turn it off before cleaning.

15) Never run the equipment with a broken lead curtain.

16) No liquid must enter the equipment accidentally. If this condition arises, shut down the machine immediately.

17) Strictly follow the radiation safety rules all the time to avoid radiation injuries.

8. How to Maintain and Repair the X-ray Baggage Scanner?

The X-ray baggage scanner must be checked regularly and calibrated accordingly. The maintenance work should be performed by the trained personnel who is approved by the machine manufacturer. The equipment hardware maintenance step should be carried out only after the power failure.

1. Proper maintenance:

  • The security screening equipment should be installed in a dust-free, dry, ventilated environment. Avoid installing it under high humidity, high temperature, or under direct sunlight.
  • Clean the equipment with a brush followed by a vacuum cleaner to eliminate the dust.
  • In case of any loosely fitted terminals or components, tighten them at once.
  • If the attached components are corroded, it’s mandatory to replace them, especially if they are necessary.
  • In case of any component damage, it is mandatory to find out the cause of the failure, before replacing them with new components. After replacing the components, calibrate the relevant parameters before using the machine.
  • In case of accidents or electric leakage during the maintenance phase, never allow any foreign object or liquid to enter the equipment.

2. Specific aspects of maintenance and upkeep

  • Inspect the power indicator on the top of the instrument: While switching on the device, the green indicator lights up.
  • Inspect the X-ray indicator on the top of the instrument: The red indicator will remain on when the X-ray is emitted.
  • Inspect the emergency stop button above the channel: By pressing the emergency stop button, the device will get switched off immediately. Without resetting the button, it’s not possible to restart the device.
  • Inspect the key switch at the top of the channel: After connecting the key switch, the start button can start the instrument. Similarly, the ray stop button disconnects the power supply to the ray controller. In case if the key switch is still insensitive, it is better to replace it.
  • Inspect if the touch screen matches the screen image: By pressing the zoom button, the image can zoom. By pressing the image processing button, the final display image can be altered accordingly.
  • Inspect the entrance light barrier: Place an opaque item on a mobile conveyor belt for the rays to open properly. When the power is switched off, it is advised to clean the lens of the light barrier as well as the glass installed on the channel wall using a dry silk cloth.
  • Inspect the electric roller: By pressing the corresponding key, the electric roller can work and halt in the predetermined direction. The drum noise will be normal with no oil leakage.
  • Inspect the travel switch on the collimator and detector box: Strictly remove the cover plate to halt the radiation.
  • Inspect the belt deviation to see if the belt has perfectly deviated from the motor.
  • Inspect the vents if they are covered and remove the dust from them.

X-ray Baggage Scanner: FAQ Guide

The identification of the varied materials is based on the principle of color analysis, where varied materials show diverse colors under the x-ray image, in order to identify the category of the material. The varied colors that appear on the screen are reflections of the quality, quantity, and density of the object. Hence, the category of the object can be determined as per the color and depth of the image.


When the luggage passes through the security check machine, the screen will display many varied colors. 

Let us see what each color represents.

  • Light Yellow – A single cloth piece, thin plastic, or a smaller number of papers.
  • Orange – Soap, leather products, wood, drugs, explosives.
  • Dark Orange, Yellow – More books, papers, a high quantity of liquid, large bags of rice flour, RMB, and so on.
  • Blue – Iron, copper, zinc, and other inorganic substances. Things such as thick cables, bullets, defibrillators, guns, magazine cartridges, and knives depict varied shades of blue.
  • Green – Stainless steel products, cables, etc. which show varied shades of green.
  • Red – Impenetrable objects, such as thick objects and heavy metals.


The display of such varied colors helps the staff members to identify the dangerous items or hidden deeper items easily. Since this identification ability of the security check apparatus is combined with the database, it is possible to screen and identify the objects automatically. The attached automatic alarm to detect the prohibited items, if any, can greatly improve the efficiency of examination.

The security design of the X-ray baggage scanner produces X-rays when the instrument is switched on. During this time, the risk of exposure to X-rays can be kept under control due to shielding. Hence, these rays will not harm health as people worry. Both sides of the security equipment have a thick lead-based curtain to shield the X-ray and not to block the dust. Every product will be assessed for the radiation dose before the production stage.

The quantity of X-ray levels in a security machine while working in a station, airport, subway, or dock is minimal, like that of the quantity in a mobile phone while passing through or standing next to a security machine. But in some cases, passengers who are in a hurry will take their bags out before they complete their security check. In that case, the level of radiation is equivalent to visiting the hospital for an X-ray examination. If the X-rays directly hit the human body only for a few seconds occasionally, there will be no harm to the human body. But if the exposure is more or repeated regularly, the radiation dose will cause harm to our body.

Some people worry whether the food inside the bag may get contaminated due to radiation exposure. X-ray dose used for screening the baggage is of low power (less than 1 ΜSV), which is usually tested only once. This quantity is far less than the level used to irradiate food for preservation and sterilization purposes. Most of the time, the food we eat is more irradiated.

A well-designed X-ray detection system must abide by the local rules and regulations with respect to the use of ionizing radiation. In the United Kingdom, it is governed by the 1999 radiation regulations. In the United States, this X-ray detection system is governed by the American standard 1020.40 CFR. These provisions ensure the secure use of the machine as well as the health and safety of the system operator, even if he or she is standing next to the machine all the time.


Yes. The X-ray based nondestructive testing (NDT) method does not leave any residual radiation on the test product. The reason for the X-ray is an electromagnetic wave. X-rays are produced in the form of energy, and not as matter. Hence when there is any power shut down, the electromagnetic wave of X-rays disappears and does not leave any residue on the target area, similar to an ordinary light bulb.


Research evidence reveals that X-rays do not cause any damage to the food items. A 1997 scientific study performed by the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that the X-rays exposure up to 1,000 SV does not affect the nutritional value or safety of food. This study intends that the food can be exposed to about ten million times of radiation, and the food will be safe to eat without affecting its nutritional value.


Anyway, the quantity of radiation used in X-ray testing is less than one-tenth of one-millionth of the quantity used in the WHO study. The food which passes through the X-ray detection system remains under the X-ray beam for about 250 milliseconds. In this short duration, the food receives a radiation dose of around 200 ΜSV (0.2 MSV), which is anyway low. Hence, organic food does not lose its organic state after getting examined under X-rays, and it is safe to eat.

Before the shipment, repeat the reverse step of installation while removing the security check equipment.

The security check system should be stored in a dry, clean, and well-ventilated area. Remember that the overheating and moisture entry will damage the system components. If the machine is not used for an extended duration, it should be placed in the original packing box.


The storage conditions of the instrument are:

  • During transport, packaging, or storage, the machine can be stored for 15 weeks under the following conditions:
  • Humidity: 20% ~ 95%; The relative humidity should not be more than 80%.
  • Storage temperature: -20°C ~ + 60°C with no condensation.

Hence, it is recommended to use long-term storage equipment with good storage conditions.

There are five methods of image recognition methods for security check equipment:


1. Image Monitoring Method: Here, the X-ray perspective image configuration is used to identify objects. Depending upon the image on the screen or visual display, the suspicious objects can be identified as unusual or unsafe. Hence, they will be carefully investigated, as per the requirement to trace the image analysis.


2. Restitution Judgment: Luggage items may be segregated based upon the view in different shapes by looking at the X-ray images of the objects.


3. Analytic Hierarchy: While inspecting the overlapping images of objects, their original shape can be determined by analyzing the shapes and colors of different layers.


4. Structure Judgment: Usually, every object has its own structure. According to the X-ray’s perspective, some don’t have a structure. Hence products such as radio without speaker or batteries, or the absence of a magnetic rod must lead to high alert.


5. Character Recognition: Since every object has a specific external shape, the security personnel should remember the shape of each object on the screen. Only then, he can determine the type of object, whether it is a hair gel or facial cleanser even if they display the same color. However, the hair spray has a start button.

No. Although it’s worth taking safety precautions, most batteries as well as data storage devices should be resistant to a high dose of X-rays since they don’t have any living tissues or DNA to worry about. Only in living cells, a high dose of ionizing radiation like X-rays damages the DNA so much that it cannot be repaired.

However, there are exceptions to this condition but not to worry. Electronic items like laptops, power banks, and cameras are more likely to get unaffected by an airport baggage x-ray machine or 3D airport security scanners. But dropping these items or exposing them to extreme cold and heat can surely affect them. Hence, it is mandatory not to do these actions.

X-ray baggage machines can efficiently pick up the detailed images of your luggage items. They can easily detect metallic and non-metallic products, including organic materials. Hence, it is impossible to get away with smuggling banned foods in your baggage.

Luggage scanner equipment depends upon the X-rays to see through the luggage to accomplish the complete images of the items inside it. It is also possible to calculate the density of each object which helps the security officers to spot contraband. These officers might not be able to track every item in the luggage. In case of finding any suspicious items, the luggage will undergo a complete search. Hence, it’s always advised to keep the rules in mind regarding the transport of banned items in the luggage.

After undergoing an X-ray examination, things inside the luggage will be displayed on the screen as green, yellow, black, and so on.

  • Yellow color indicates organic foods, plastic, and so on, and they are safe.
  • Green or black color indicates that the product requires attention. If green or black colors are shown more, there might be a dagger or knife. In that case, the passengers must open their luggage for detailed inspection.
  • Red color indicates inflammable goods, explosives, corrosive, toxic or radioactive substances, pathogens, ammunition, guns, and so on. They are prohibited from transporting via the train and will be confiscated if found during a security check.

Hence, it is recommended not to carry knives, axes, hammers, scissors, steel (iron) files, and other sharp objects, and should be placed inside the luggage checked.

Your Reliable X-ray Baggage Scanner Manufacturer: Uni X-ray

One other thing that can affect the price of your X-ray baggage scanner is the choice of your X-ray baggage scanner manufacturer.

Here is the thing. Chinese manufacturers tap from their great resource of abundant technical experts and the cheap cost of labor which makes their prices very affordable compared to European and American manufacturers.

But that’s not all. 

Chinese manufacturers also produce one of the most advanced and innovative X-ray solutions in the industry.

Uni X-ray is a major Chinese manufacturer of X-ray solutions with almost two decades of consistent delivery of innovative solutions to world-class multinationals locally and internationally. One thing that makes Uni X-ray outstanding is their research and development endeavors that have made sure that they deliver tailor-made solutions to their clients across the world. What’s more, they also have excellent customer support that ensures that customers can solve any challenge they encounter while using the X-ray baggage machine. 

The good news is that they don’t have to be present on-site to resolve your challenges. Their technical experts connect with you online to troubleshoot and effectively find the solution to your challenges. Their portfolio reflects uni X-ray’s consistent track record of successful delivery of X-ray solutions. It includes reputable manufacturing brands, including BYD, BMW, Phillips, etc., all of whom rely on Uni X-ray for their inspection needs. Their X-ray baggage machines include various highly sensitive and powerful scanners that deliver accurate results with high repeatability. Their X-ray baggage scanning machines are very affordable with varying levels of automation, including semi-automatic and fully automatic options based on the client’s requirements. 


To wrap up, finding a suitable X-ray scanning baggage scanner that meets your security inspection needs will require that you first identify your inspection requirements. 

You can then compare brands that meet your inspection requirements, considering specific criteria like the X-ray tube, generator, and console of the X-ray scanner.

Uni X-ray can meet your inspection requirements with their wide variety of innovative and accurate X-ray machine baggage scanners to ensure that you can guarantee the security of airport passengers and their properties.

Why not contact them today and request a quick quote? The ball is now in your court. 

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