SKorea develops 3D container scanner

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A team of South Korean researchers has successfully developed three-dimensional (3D) scanning technology for shipping containers, the South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries announced.

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South Korea’s Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering (KRISO) spent nine years and 25.3 billion won ($22.36 million) working on the project, and believe they are the first facility in the world to successfully develop the technology.

NOWHERE TO HIDE A computer-enhanced x-ray image of a container truck. Researchers in South Korea have developed a three-dimensional cargo container scanner, which could reduce inspection time to one-tenth that of current two-dimensional scanners. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY PHOTO

The 3D system could cut inspection times down to one-tenth of what is required by completing the task in a single view as 2D devices currently used in the industry need separate horizontal and vertical checks, the ministry said.

When put into full operation in March, inspection of the annual 640,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of exports container cargo to the United States would be shortened by some 90,000 hours with a manpower cost reduction of an estimated 580 million won ($500,000), the ministry said.

Eom Ki-doo, Head of the ministry’s Shipping and Logistics Bureau, was quoted by South Korean media Yonhap News Agency as saying “We will be installing the inspection machines on-site after seven months of functional tests and verifications.”

Deploying the new technology is of particular interest to South Korea because of the high volume of cargo being shipped to the US, which recently mandated pre-inspection at departure ports of all US-bound cargo.

The ministry also said expedited inspection would make South Korean ports attractive to foreign container ships while the 3D technology can become a new export item. The global market for such devices stood at $850 million as of 2015, with a 12 percent expansion every year. By 2019, the market will grow to $1.5 billion, the ministry said.

“We will make efforts to gain market competitiveness and make the machines a key export product,” it added.

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