How does the X-ray Machine at Airport Security Work?

X-ray Machine at Airport Security

Yes, you see them at the airport, but do you ever wonder what makes security X-ray machines tick? X-ray machines’ functions and security capacities often make security professionals prefer it for checking passenger baggage every time people travel by air.

Saying X-ray machines are effective security tools is only stating the obvious as it has proven to accurately detect several potentially harmful items locked away in numerous bags.

The truth is X-ray machines offer numerous benefits for security applications when comparing different security equipment.

However, you need to understand how the X-ray machine works to appreciate its efficiency and why it is preferred at airports and other public spaces for detecting security threats. 

I. Are X-Ray Security Machines Safe?

X-ray machines use radiation to detect the presence of harmful or illegal objects in parcels and closed compartments without opening them.

This use of radiation often makes some individuals fearful, knowing the impact of some types of radiation on human health.

However, X-ray machines release very low doses of radiation when compared to other radiation-emitting equipment like the dentist’s scanner. 

Metal detectors at airports release about a tenth of the radiation emitted by a dental scanner.

Also, bags don’t retain any radiation after scanning, and people don’t spend more than a few seconds passing through metal detectors which makes it safe. Only long exposure can be harmful to human health. 

II. What are the X-Ray Security Screening Applications?

Security applications of X-ray machines are numerous, and both governmental bodies, as well as private organizations employ the capabilities of X-ray machines for their security needs. 

Here are some places where institutions apply X-ray machines for security purposes.  

  1. School 

The recent increase in school shootings and knife attacks has made it necessary for schools to put in place high-level security measures.

These security measures are meant to mitigate and possibly eradicate the occurrence of harmful activities.

X-ray machines and metal detectors are often installed at school entrances and gates to detect metallic and non-metallic weapons that individuals carry around to cause harm.

  1. Office

Corporate organizations also install X-ray machines and metal detectors in their offices to keep them safe for work.

Offices often have safes where companies keep valuables like money and proprietary technology, making them a target for attack.

This equipment eliminates the passage of weapons by unsuspecting individuals that might intend to attack employees or customers during working hours.

  1. Airport

The rise in airplane hijacking and attacks at airports over the years have made it necessary to increase the security at airports.

Security X-ray machines are very accurate at detecting both metals and non-metallic material that can be a source of harm to passengers. 

Introducing X-ray machines to detect harmful and illegal substances hidden in bags at the airport has reduced these activities’ occurrences.

Also, transportation of narcotics and other banned drugs through the airport has significantly reduced since using X-ray machines for inspecting baggage at airports.

  1. Hotel

Hotels are public places where numerous people lodge while in transit or go to have fun as many entertaining activities happen here.

However, the spate of attacks on customers and guests have made it compulsory for hotel management to install security X-ray machines to secure the lives of their customers.

X-ray machines disallow weapons and harmful metals entrance into the hotel premises, thereby reducing these dangerous activities. 

III. How does the Security X-Ray Machine Function?

Understanding how Security X-ray machines work is the first step to choosing the suitable X-ray machine for your security challenges.

It helps you to know the most critical factors to identify when choosing your X-ray machine manufacturer.

It also helps you know the capabilities of the security X-ray machine to ascertain the extent of inspection you should carry out. 

These are some important reasons you should consider the functions and workings of the security X-ray machine. 

  1. Scanning Technology Based on X-Ray 

You will find various scanners at airports and other public places that scan baggage and handbags without opening them.

The reason they scan without opening bags is that they rely on X-ray technology that radiates energy.

The radiation is often absorbed by the objects, with the level of absorption based on the object’s density. Denser objects absorb more radiation and might be hard to identify if they absorb so much radiation that none gets to the detector.

The detector receives the remaining radiation left after absorption by the object and produces an image of the object based on the radiation reaching it. 

However, advanced X-ray technology has color codes that make it easy to identify the category of the objects, including an organic and inorganic material. 

  1. Check the X-Ray Images

The quality of the images often determines the exactness and accuracy of the result of scanning. Hence, security X-ray machines usually have the highest level of quality with increased magnification capabilities and high-definition images. 

Therefore, when in the market for a security X-ray machine, one critical factor you should look out for is the quality of the image you will get from the security X-ray machine. 

One determiner of the quality image is the capacity of the X-ray tubes. X-ray tubes come in different voltage capacities, and it is always best to check the density of the objects you intend to inspect against the voltage capacity.

Another factor that enhances image quality is the level of magnification offered by the security X-ray machine, as more magnification means better image analysis capabilities. 

  1. Under What Circumstances are Bags opened after scanning?

The extent of security inspection you can carry out with a security X-ray machine depends on your knowledge of the exceptions to the general rules of the equipment.

Though X-ray machines don’t need you to open the bags before they can inspect them, there are specific exclusions to this general rule that entails opening bags to check them accurately.

When security X-ray machines identify an object that has the potential of causing harm, then security officials must open the bags for adequate inspection.

Also, when scanners find an unidentifiable object within the bag, the official will have to open the bag to conduct the inspection.

Lastly, random searches often occur without finding any implicating item on the scanner’s screen. The decision is dependent on the security official. 


In all, security X-ray machines have proven to be effective for reducing attacks in places like airports, schools, and hotels.

However, you need to understand the workings of the X-ray machines to choose the best suited for your peculiar security challenges.

Also, you need to purchase your security X-ray machine from a reliable X-ray machine manufacturer that can guarantee quality X-ray security solutions.

One outstanding security manufacturer is Uni x-ray, with close to two decades of successfully delivering quality security X-machines both locally and internationally in the US and Europe.

They provide tailored-made security X-ray solutions at a very competitive price and with excellent after-sales support to help you effectively use your security X-ray machine.

It’s always best not to leave your security to chance. So, what’s stopping you?