1. What is the XTE imaging standard?
1. XTE is an independent test standard, originally developed by N. Blagojevic, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and Prof Dudley Creagh, University of Canberra (UC) for the Australian Government.
2. The development of XTE was supported and sponsored by the:
– Australian Customs and Border Protection Services (ACBPS)

– Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (DOTARS, now Infrastructure)
– Department of the Australian Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C)
3. XTE is a patent-pending technology with the intellectual property belonging to ANSTO.
2. Why was the XTE standard developed?
  1. Medium and large screening systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated and now include material discrimination and automated explosive detection systems (EDS). However it is not possible to rely on manufacturers minimal specifications alone. Manufacturers often don’t provide a comprehensive ‘kit’ to test a machine; manufacturers even lock some of the systems access; a lot is pre-programmed.
  2. The Australian Government, represented by DOTARS, required independent advice to determine the effectiveness of X-ray systems in the detection of explosives and improvised explosive devices in air cargo.
  3. The standards provided test data for a significant industry report: “Capability Assessment of Current X-ray Technology in the Air Cargo Environment” (May 2008) which demonstrated the need for a comprehensive, independent imaging standard.
  4. Previously, no standards existed to test medium and large scanners for normal radiography tests and material discrimination. XTE is the only system that provides a fully comprehensive range of tests needed to thoroughly test the resolution, penetration and material discrimination parameters that current model scanners are expected to have.
3. How and when should XTE be used?
A. Acceptance Testing and Evaluation (ATE) – When purchasing and evaluating new medium to large size imaging systems.
B. Operation Testing and Evaluation (OTE) – ANSTO recommends to test and evaluate the ongoing performance and maintenance of existing imaging systems on a twice-monthly basis, to ensure that the standards of the imaging systems are 100% compliant.
C. Our experience is that manufacturers will produce the best quality systems when subjected to a customer audit during the procurement process. Using XTE allows operators to make unbiased decisions when dealing with manufacturers before and after acquisition of their equipment by conducting:
– Factory testing prior to delivery

– Acceptance testing prior to payment, and
– Ongoing testing before and after maintenance of systems
D. Our experience:
– Manufacturer’s setup standards are not suitable for regular QC use.

– Long and tedious testing procedures are discouraging, and because of that are avoided by the operational staff.
– Management of operations avoid procedures that tie up staff and equipment, so QC is not enforced.
4. For which applications is XTE suitable?
Applicable to all medium and large imaging systems used in the screening of:
– Air cargo

– Maritime containers
– Road and rail vehicle inspection
– All scanners with a tunnel aperture exceeding 1000mmx1000mm
– All systems including dual energy, dual view and backscatter technologies
5. What specifications does XTE meet?
A. XTE exceeds ANSI N42.46 – 2008
B. Fully complies with ASTM F792-02. Note however that ASTM F792-02 is not suitable for tunnels sizes over 1000mm. XTE is the only standard for tunnel sizes of 1000mm and above
6. What is the difference between XTE, ANSI N42.46, ASTM F792?
XTE
Does nine ASTM F792 compatible tests. Takes up to 15-20 min to evaluate the system, including transport, setup and scoring. Do all tests, including multiple contrast sensitivity and material discrimination tests, in one pass. Compatible and thus essential for air cargo useElectronic-assisted scoring and result storage
ANSI N42.46
Does basic resolution and penetration tests onlyANSI is not capable of material discrimination tests, therefore should not be used in air cargo environments (except for resolute / penetration tests)Can only to be used in tunnels above 1m x 1mRequires multiple scans to do the complete job. Takes approximately 4 hours per complete testPaper-based scoring only.
ASTM F792
Not suitable for tunnels above 1mx1m as declared in the standard specs. Of limited use for anything large, as all tests are physically too small to be effectively viewed.
7. Has XTE been independently tested?
A. The standard was tested and evaluated by USA’s Department of Home Security (DHS) and reported in: “Snyder M, Bell C. (2013). Test and evaluation report for the assessment of the Australian Image Quality Test for palletised cargo X-ray systems. DHS/ST/TSL-13/133”
B. XTE has also been in use by UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), Physical Detection Team, Security Sciences Department, for a number of years.
C. Australian Customs and Border Protection Services (ACBPS) have standardised their testing operations throughout all their operations by using XTE systems.
8. Don’t manufacturers of X-ray units meet their own published specifications?
A. Not always. Our experience is that they either do not provide specifications or they do not meet them fully once installation is complete
B. Most manufacturers provide only very basic data and performance parameters for their scanners including the systems approved for use in air cargo environments. Typically, they provide only resolution and penetration figures, which, by basic physics are easily derived. Usually the test parameters missing from the advertising data are properties derived by the operational software, which includes:
– Image Quality Index,
– Contrast sensitivity,
– Material discrimination values,
– Ability to detect contraband and explosives behind concealments, and
– Operator’s ability to detect all of the above and be able to measure quantitatively continuous performance of the systems
C. XTE was designed to provide standard, non-changing environment to allow operators to monitor scanners and their complex components in a quantitative way. The XTE system is easy to operate, easy to score and sufficient training will be provided to interpret the results and maintain the records. Moreover, XTE and its training partner, S4T will be able to consult with the operators on continuous basis to ensure that the correct interpretations are derived from the image results.
9. How easy is XTE to operate?
A. Forklift ready: no other equipment is required.
B. Single Pass: All tests are done simultaneously and in one pass, with a single scan.
C. Time: scan time is less than 5 minutes.
D. Evaluation time: 10 to 15 minutes for experienced staff.
E. Throughput: disruption is negligible as the XTE unit is simply scanned like normal cargo, and can be conducted when the system is off-line or during quiet period. The resulting image is then available for evaluation at the operator’s convenience.
F. Testing frequency: XTE system can be used on regular basis as it is the only system that can test multiple X-ray views without modification. We recommend a daily QC regime to ensure that the scanner is running optimally.
10. How comprehensive are the tests I can conduct with XTE?
1. Major grouping of test parameters
  • Wire resolution
  • Spatial resolution
  • Penetration
  • Material discrimination
2. In all, nine tests are used to determine scanner capabilities, including:
  • Wire resolution in air, behind organic and steel concealment
  • Material discrimination of organic martials (explosive and contraband)
  • Image Quality Index (IQI)
  • Penetration to 6MV requirements and optionally to 9MV
  • Spatial resolution in air and behind steel
  • Material discrimination colour assignment ranging between Zeff values of 5.5 to metal
11. How does the XTE scoring process work?
A. Two methods of testing are possible: paper-based or electronic.
B. When using paper-based test sheets, the operator simply ticks the boxes on a hardcopy of the test plate image.
C. Paper scored system can then be entered into software at a later stage.
D. When computer is used, the operator simply clicks boxes which are automatically filled until the test is evaluated. The scores are given and saved in a directory.
E. The data scores can then be kept, filed and reviewed at any time.
12. Does XTE have electronic assistance for scoring of scan images?
1. The XTE’s electronic scoring system is completely independent of the scanner software and does not interfere with normal operations.
2. The computer-based electronic sheet is an Excel based program that:
– Allows all data to be captured and maintained

– Print and file all data for all scanners under operator’s car
3 . The software can run on the scanner computer, if available, or on a portable laptop.
4. The scan image can be analysed immediately or saved for review at a later stage.
13. What is the audit process and how should it be reviewed?
As all government organisations must show continuous improvement and satisfactory quality control of existing equipment, audits are frequently carried out. Use of XTE provides a method of predicting potential failures before they occur and thus operators can schedule maintenance before the system fails. This in turn will make for more efficient use of maintenance contracts as well as optimise the operational uptime of scanners.
Specifically, the XTE system will assist with:
1. Compilation of strengths and weaknesses of the scanner range deployed with the aim of:
  • Acquiring new acquisition of new equipment in the future
  • Enforcing effective testing regime
  • Effectively, and in an informed manner, negotiate maintenance contracts to reduce cost of ownership
  • Establishing effective training for operators, new and experienced,
  • Assessing level of staffing required to operate and test scanners,
  • Determining how much central support is required in operation of systems.
In order to ensure constant improvement of capabilities, evaluation of the performance and impact of currently deployed border technologies.
14. How does the XTE system assist with Specific Audit Recommendations?
1. Compiles a summary of strengths, weaknesses and general characteristics for the range of deployed x-ray models, to help inform the acquisition of appropriate models of x-rays in the future.
2. Allows local experts to take a more active role in the central management of maintenance contracts, including enforcement of obligations.
3. Allows for emphasis to be placed on the maintenance deliverables during the procurement process when Customs seeks to replace the current x-rays.
4. Reviews the training curriculum to assess whether there is the correct balance of practical elements and theoretical components.
15. How can the collected data in the audit process be used?
1. To satisfy an official audit examination, demonstrating that regular testing is done.
2. For maintenance purposes, by showing reasons for failure.
3. To check on maintenance work performed.
4. For negotiation of improved maintenance contracts.