Answer 2 Simple Questions to Choose the Right X-Ray Machine

Mike is nervous. As Procurement Manager his responsibilities include buying his company’s security equipment. And his boss wants him to buy x-ray scanners and update their building entrance security. Mike doesn’t know much about buying x-ray systems, though. His only experience with x-rays are from doctor and dentist visits, and he desperately wants to choose the right x-ray machine.

So Mike starts doing some research, hoping to find some answers and calm his nerves. He isn’t sure about what’s most important, and decides to look up x-ray technology first. Mike browses Wikipedia and then watches some helpful YouTube videos. He even finds a little bit of useful information on the TSA’s and FDA’s websites.

Armed with some basic x-ray knowledge, Mike is feeling a little more confident. He’s beginning to understand how the machines work and thinks he’s ready to start comparing x-ray units. Maybe this project will be easier than he expected. Maybe he’ll impress his boss and end up getting a glowing review!

Mike’s sense of hope doesn’t last long – it evaporates the moment he starts visiting x-ray company websites. The websites make him more confused than he was before he got the project! The machine names are confusing jumbles of numbers and letters! (If Mike visited Astrophysics, Inc’s website he’d have found our handy x-ray naming guide). He’s shocked by the almost limitless combinations of sizes, shapes and features for these scanners!

Mike’s head starts spinning. He’s feeling overwhelmed. Questions start popping into his head, making the pit in his stomach grow larger.

There’s more than one generator size? How do I know which to pick? And what’s steel penetration? What’s wire resolution? What are all these different imaging tools? Do I need all these? Do I even have a choice? What will the x-rays actually look like? Can these machines even find what we’re looking for? What is all this going to cost me? Can I even keep this under budget? What if I can’t figure this out? What will my boss think?

Mike knows he needs answers fast. He could talk with a sales rep, but he’s feeling too anxious. He just wants simple answers to help him choose the right x-ray machine. He wants to make the right decision and impress his boss. But now he’s not sure that he can, and he has no idea where to turn for help.


Finding the right x-ray scanner should not be an intimidating or overwhelming process. You don’t need to know all the technical details about x-rays or how the machines work. You just need to answer 2 simple questions about what you’re trying to accomplish. That’s it. Answer 2 questions and you (and Mike) will be well on your way to impressing the boss.

So what are these 2 simple questions you need to answer?

#1 – What objects are you looking at?

#2 – What items are you looking for?

These questions may sound similar but they have a few important differences. Let’s explore each question in detail below.

answer question


Put another way, this question asks What objects are you trying to see through? Mike learned the hard way that there are almost limitless combinations of x-ray sizes and shapes. But knowing what you’re trying to see through helps narrow your options to a manageable few. At that point you’re more than halfway to finding the perfect x-ray scanner!

Let’s check on Mike again. What might Mike say if we asked him, What objects are you looking at? Since these machines will secure building entrances he’ll say they’ll likely be scanning briefcases, backpacks, purses and mail parcels. This answer tells us a lot about the scanners that will be best for Mike needs.

The objects Mike mentioned tend to be small so the system doesn’t need a large tunnel size. Also, they aren’t too heavy so a standard conveyor will suffice. Finally, this question tells you what extra features your system may need. In Mike’s case he’s securing entrances so the scanners won’t be moving after installation. Otherwise they might need handles and reinforced wheels for easy relocation. But perhaps the entrances have limited space and narrow doorways. In that instance Mike’s best option will be scanners with narrow frames, perfect for fitting into the tight space.

All this x-ray information came from answering 1 simple question. After answering the next one, Mike will have a great idea of which x-ray scanners to buy.

x ray caution


This question asks you to identify the threats, weapons, or contraband you want to find. Are you looking for drugs? Guns? Explosives? Counterfeit goods? Combine this answer with your answers from Question 1 to find your perfect x-ray system.

Let’s get back to Mike. How would he answer Question 2? His scanners will likely be looking for small knives and possibly guns. The units might even scan employees leaving the building to help deter theft. He needs x-ray generators that can see these items and imaging software that will help identify them.

Briefcases and backpacks aren’t usually made of materials that are hard for x-rays to penetrate. In this case a smaller x-ray generator should offer plenty of visibility. Also, certain objects need more than one viewing angle for proper identification. The generator angle and system views (either single-view or dual-view) can help operators see hidden objects more easily. When combined with the x-ray imaging features, such as 6 color imaging and material discrimination, offer operators the best opportunity to identify and isolate threats before they enter any buildings.

AS EASY AS 1, 2, 3…

There you have it – 2 simple questions that help you choose the right x-ray machine best suited to your needs. If Mike had know these before he started his research he would have saved himself a lot of stress. As it is, he and anyone else looking to buy x-ray scanners now know how to quickly narrow down their options to the one best suited for them. From there, they can start the 3rd and final step – contacting a knowledgeable x-ray sales rep! With their answers in hand, they can easily tell the rep exactly what they want, ensure they are buying exactly what they need, and deliver security systems that relieve their personal stress and make their bosses extremely happy!

Are you trying to choose the right x-ray machine? Have you answered Questions 1 & 2? At Astrophysics, Inc. we pride ourselves on designing state-of-the-art x-ray scanners that make hidden threats visible. Our dedicated Sales Team is ready to help you find x-ray systems perfectly suited for your security needs! Call our team at (909) 598-5488 or submit a brief Sales Inquiry form to start a conversation today!

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