Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Wool Industry Plugs In To Airport Scanners

NEWS RELEASE
2 DECEMBER 1999

WOOL INDUSTRY PLUGS IN TO AIRPORT SCANNERS

New Zealand scientists are setting the pace internationally in adapting airport luggage scanners to increase the marketability of major exports. New Zealand’s merino wool industry will be the first of several to benefit from the latest scanning technology called Dual Energy X-ray Absorption (Dexa).

The Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Limited (GNS) is working with NZ Pac Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Merino New Zealand, to measure yield and contaminants in fine wool. The Dexa scanning system will give instant and accurate measurements over whole fleeces without touching them. This will be a milestone for the wool processing industry internationally.

The modified luggage scanner will allow New Zealand’s entire merino clip to be graded as it is processed at NZ Pac’s new wool-handling facility in Christchurch. The facility is rated the most advanced of its type in the world. Its automated measurement and grading systems are expected to enhance the premium position New Zealand merino wool enjoys internationally.

GNS project leader Murray Bartle is working with an American supplier of Dexa luggage scanners to convert the information provided for the customs and security industries into information useful for the fine wool industry. Similar applications are likely to follow for the meat and coal industries.

“ The scanner will give wool yield as a percentage of total fleece weight. It will also pick up contaminants more efficiently than the human eye. This includes pieces of plastic and metal, as well as vegetation and polypropylene string which can be a headache for manufacturers,” Dr Bartle said.

Two years of research by GNS using a standard airport scanner showed that Dexa technology can provide rapid and complete information on the composition and contamination of bulky products, including wool and frozen meat carcasses. Existing quality control methods in the wool, meat, and coal industries involve relatively slow analysis of small samples.

“ The speed, accuracy, and efficiency offered by modified luggage scanners will be a boon to many bulk industries where grading and quality control are important.”

Dr Bartle’s team in Lower Hutt is fine-tuning a new Dexa machine to operate in NZ Pac’s Christchurch facility by March 2000. The facility will grade every fleece before shipping to further differentiate New Zealand merino wool from other suppliers.

The hi-tech processing facility will give buyers and manufacturers a more consistent product and farmers will receive more feedback on their breeding programmes and stock management.

GNS became involved with the wool industry in 1993 and took out a provisional patent for grading wool with X-ray scanners when the potential of using Dexa technology became apparent.
The X-ray technology used in luggage scanners is similar to that used in hospitals to measure bone density and as a general diagnostic tool.

The scanner’s versatility is based on the fact that it measures effective atomic number. This means it detects subtle variations in the elements that make up a series of products or objects of the same type.

END

For more information contact:
Murray Bartle
Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Ltd Ph: 04-570-4637 (reception) or 04-570-4655 (direct)
or
Tony Hewitt
NZ Pac Ltd Ph: 03-384-7910 or 021-220-5908
or
John Callan
Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Ltd Ph: 04-570-1444 (reception) or 04-570-4732 (direct)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 


Stats: Auckland’s Population Falls For The First Time
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, New Zealand’s population growth slowed down with Auckland recording a population decline for the first time ever, Stats NZ said today. “New Zealand saw slowing population growth in all regions... More>>



BusinessNZ: Third Snapshot Report Reveals $9.5 Billion Business Investment In Climate Action

Signatories to the Climate Leaders Coalition have committed to invest $9.5 billion over the next five years to reduce emissions from their businesses, as revealed in their third anniversary snapshot report released today... More>>

Digitl: The home printer market is broken
Printers are more of a security blanket that a serious aid to productivity. Yet for many people they are not optional.
Even if you don’t feel the urge to squirt ink onto dead trees in order to express yourself, others will insist on printed documents... More>>


Retail NZ: Some Good News In COVID Announcements, But Firm Dates Needed

Retail NZ is welcoming news that the Government is increasing financial support for businesses in light of the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown, and that retail will be able to open at all stages of the new “Covid Protection Framework... More>>

ComCom: Companies In Hot Water For Selling Unsafe Hot Water Bottles And Toys

A wholesaler and a retailer have been fined a total of $140,000 under the Fair Trading Act for selling hot water bottles and toys that did not comply with mandatory safety requirements. Paramount Merchandise Company Limited (Paramount) was fined $104,000 after pleading guilty in the Manukau District Court... More>>



Reserve Bank: Robust Balance Sheets Yield Faster Economic Recovery

Stronger balance sheets for households, businesses, financial institutions and the government going into the pandemic contributed towards maintaining a sound financial system and yielding a faster economic recovery than following previous deep recessions... More>>