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Israeli technology IDs traces of explosives

Posted By David Brinn On April 2, 2006 @ 2:55 pm In | No Comments

‘We believe that our innovative products can introduce an unprecedented level of automation to airport luggage screening,’ says TraceGuard CEO Ehud Ganani.”I’m what people might refer to as a ‘rocket scientist’,” Ehud Ganani says with a laugh.

His credentials certainly back up that statement. Ganani served as CEO of Israel Military Industries, makers of world class, combat-proven weapon systems. And before that, he had spent 27 years as an executive at military technology powerhouse RAFAEL, 16 of those years dealing with rocket motors and explosive charges.

“My PhD [at Washington University in St. Louis] was in the processing of propellants and explosives. I spent many years for RAFAEL in Washington doing business in defense and security-related fields,” Ganani told ISRAEL21c.

With his impressive background, when Ganani says that the patent-pending automated explosive trace extraction technology of his company TraceGuard Technologies, Inc. (OTCBB:TCGD) is going to make air travel in the US and around the world safer and more convenient, then one tends to takes him seriously.

The result of seven years of research, TraceGuard’s CarrySafe puts the company at the forefront of the battle to prevent explosives from being taken aboard planes.

“We provide a vital need in today’s world – of identifying people and passengers who are trying to carry live explosives onto planes or into crowded areas. It’s the right technology for the right time,” said Ganani who decided to resign from IMI to “use my experience in the small business sector.”

Targeted at the airport security requirements of the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) and other regulatory authorities, CarrySafe is designed for integration into existing screening equipment.

According to Ganani, CarrySafe automatically extracts and collects air particles from both the outer and the inner surfaces of luggage. The carry-on luggage in question is first placed in the inspection chamber. A flexible adaptive enclosure allows the rapid release and extraction of traces of explosives from external and internal surfaces of the bag. The collected trace material is fed to a chemical analyzer for further analysis. And the results of this fully-automated computer-controlled cycle are displayed on the operator’s screen.

Bulk detection systems such as X-Ray and CT systems yield a high false alarm rate because they cannot distinguish between explosives and objects with a similar density to explosives. But according to Ganani, because TraceGuard’s trace extraction technology is designed to make explosive detection more accurate, the false alarm rate should be significantly reduced.

“To the best of my knowledge, there’s nothing else out there that deals with this issue like CarrySafe. There are a lot of sniffers and analyzers. And if you’ve been in an airport recently, you’ve probably seen security personnel swiping a cotton swab over a bag, and then analyzing it – using technology that is able to detect explosives. We’re not doing that,” said Ganani.

“We extract traces from inside and outside the bag – we’re not competing against X-ray machines.”

Because CarrySafe is designed as an addition to – and not a replacement – for the standard chemical analyzers already deployed, airport authorities should be able to maintain their existing investment in equipment.

The TraceGuard technology was developed principally by the company’s chief scientist Dr. Fredy Ornath, an internationally acclaimed welding and materials engineer who served as chief developer of an FAA-funded research project on air cargo explosive detection.

By delivering greater accuracy and speed than screening solutions based on manual checking, CarrySafe is designed to dramatically shorten passenger lines. No longer will lines at the airport be held up by screening personnel having to open carry-on items that failed the initial x-ray detector. The item will simply be inserted into the CarrySafe device where the TraceGuard process will take over.

“We’re doing it using a machine – it’s faster than the three or four minute manual process and much more effective,” said Ganani.

Unlike many startups, TraceGuard is not scrambling for funds, and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Ganani said that the financial security has allowed the company, which has Israel headquarters in Petah Tikva, American corporate offices in New York City, and a Sales and Marketing office in, Arlington, VA, to concentrate on finalizing its product and getting certification.

“We expect to get certification by the Israel Security Authority by the end of the year, and we’re in the process of teaming with strategic partners – mostly in the US. We’re also in close contact with the TSA in the US,” said Ganani.

TraceGuard was recently showcased at the ValueRich financial expo held in Miami, which offers small-cap companies the opportunity to present their products and services to a highly targeted audience. According to Ganani, there was “positive reception” to the unveiling of their technology, and the company are pursuing contacts with a dozen investment banks.

Future products which are on the TraceGuard drawing board include HoldSafe for checked-in luggage, and CargoSafe for palletized airborne cargo.

“Only about two percent of cargo on planes is checked at all,” says Ganani. “So, we’re developing CargoSafe to extract traces out of cargo, not just carry-on luggage.”

The company intends to expand the applications of its extraction technology to include drugs and biological contamination.

But Ganani has his sights set on the ground for now, with the goal of launching CarrySafe in American airports next year.

“We believe that our innovative products can introduce an unprecedented level of automation to airport luggage screening. TraceGuard’s ultimate goal is to become a major player in the Homeland Security market.”

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