Category: press releases

X-Sight’s FODetect system deployed at Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK)

X-Sight have announced the deployment of their FODetect system to Suvarnabhumi International Airport :

X-Sight Systems FODetect® Automated Foreign Object Debris Detection System has been successfully deployed and handed over to Airports of Thailand at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK)

Tel Aviv, March, 2012 – X-Sight Systems (Xsight) is proud to announce the handover of the FODetect system to Airports of Thailand (AOT). The system deployment process at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport’s (BKK) two runways lasted five months and was handed over after the system successfully passed a Site Acceptance Tests according to the FAA regulation for FOD detection equipment.

Foreign Object Debris (FOD) refers to any misplaced objects found on airport surfaces that could damage aircrafts, engines, tires or fuselage, presenting a risk to passenger safety, disrupting airport services, and leading to expensive repairs. FODetect is a leading automated FOD detection technology and has been tested by the FAA at Boston’s Logan International airport. FODetect was found to meet or exceed the highest level of performance in every parameter required by FAA regulation.

As Mr. Nutt, the Vice President of Aviation Safety at AOT notes: “Safety and security have and always will be our top priority. We are proud to utilize a cutting edge automated FOD detection technology. BKK will offer its operators, airlines and passengers the ultimate in runway safety”.

Mr. Alon Nitzan President and CEO of X-Sight Systems states: “We are delighted to handover the FODetect system to AOT. By choosing to equip their runways with Xsight’s innovative hybrid sensing solution, BKK has demonstrated a heightened commitment for safety by preventing FOD mishaps. The installed system already detected a hazardous FOD on one of the runways at the airport, which was retrieved immediately and demonstrated the system’s efficiency while contributing to runway safety”.

See the full press release here.

It took more than 11 years, and it wasn’t worth the wait.

Charles de Gaulle Airport, where the Concorde accident occurred over 11 years ago have finally installed a FOD detection system, they have chosen to install a single FODspot unit at a taxiway intersection. I always thought that Charles de Gaulle should lead the way and be an early adopter of FOD detection technology, but they didn’t (luckily another airport did decide to lead the way).

So after 11 years of dithering the end result is a single safer taxiway intersection. Who knows, in 20-30 years they might have a safer runway, I for one won’t be holding my breath.

Download the Press Release (or don’t)

Malaysia airports launch safety campaign to instill and promote safety culture

Press Release:

SEPANG – Malaysia Airports today launched the Airside Safety Campaign, a joint safety campaign with the objective to inculcate safety culture, in addition to promote awareness of safe working area and further stimulate safety-conscious to all airside workers.

KLIA in collaboration with the agencies such as Malaysia Airlines, KL Airports Services, LSG SkyChefs Sdn.Bhd, Petronas Dagangan, Shell Aviation, Exxonmobil, Air Asia and Air Asia X, jointly organizedthis apron safety campaign to educate all apron users on the importance of safety while they carry out their duties at the apron area.

Among the activities held during this month long campaign are Safety Model, Play Card Presentation, Safety Talk by participating agencies, Safety Exhibitions, Safety Quiz, Fire Fighting Simulation, FOD Hunt and Blood Donation by Tabung Darah Negara.

During this campaign, the apron users were exposed to proper handling of all equipments used at the apron area so as to safeguard the safety of the aircraft, crew and other workers, hence minimizing the probability of accidents to occur.

Dato’ Azmi Murad, Senior General Manager, Operations Services of Malaysia Airports, who launched the campaign this morning said, “KLIA achievement is not only measured from the number of passengers, aircraft and cargo handled every year but safety aspect in the operations of the airports are also very important and must be in compliance to the regulatory-bodies such as Department Civil Aviation (DCA) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).”

He added, “The campaign is themed ‘FOD! We See, We Pick, We are Safe’ as we are calling for all airside staff to mind and pay attention to the foreign object debris (FOD), although it may be small in sizes, but it have potential to cause major incidents. We are giving the FOD a special attention this year although numbers of incidents caused by FOD is still minimal.” (more…)

Photo/radar sensors detect debris on airport runways

There’s an article at Gizmag today describing a radar/camera based system, and it’s not Tarsier or FODetect. The original article can be seen at the Fraunhofer web site.  One part of the article caught my attention:

While similar radar systems have been developed, these are only capable of detecting metal objects, and they often give rise to false alarms. What is more, because they are mounted high up on masts they can easily be damaged in the event of an airplane accident.

This statement is so factually incorrect that it’s a little worrying (I hope they didn’t develop their system based on these assumptions!).

  • The system on the market most similar to the Fraunhofer system is Tarsier. And anyone who has used Tarsier (or can read a web site, or has a basic understanding of high-frequency radar) knows that it detects plastic, paper, grass, metal, birds, wood etc.
  • If a system on a mast/tower is susceptible to damage from aircraft, then a system on the ground is susceptible to damage from aircraft, and every ground vehicle used on the airfield, not to mention the local wildlife. But, it will also lose line-of-site due to signs, ground vehicles, snow banks etc. If the system is mounted on the ground it will not have line-of-sight to the far side of the runway (due to the runway crown), so it would require twice the number of sensors when compared to a tower based system. When they do their site design they will then realise that there are places where their sensors cannot be placed due to the density of taxiways, so they will have large gaps in their coverage.

From the article it appears that they are currently 8-9 years behind the competition, and their system does not appear to offer any advantage (actually, it appears to have a few disadvantages) compared to the radar/camera based systems already available.

My suggestions:

  • Perform some market research prior to developing a new system.
  • Perform some basic fact checking before describing what the competition is capable of.

If my tone in this article appears a little “off” then I apologise. I like competition and innovation, what I don’t like is misleading articles/marketing material. Customers are not stupid, if you try to mislead them about the capability of a competitor they will find out for themselves, and if they don’t, I can guarantee you that I will let them know on this blog.

If you are interested in a radar/camera system that works right now, then please check out FODetect or Tarsier.

Stratech’s iFerret Patent Approved

Stratech Press Release:

Singapore, 19 May 2011 – Singapore Exchange Mainboard-listed Stratech Systems Limited (“Stratech” or “the Group”) today announced that its Singapore patent application for the iFerret™ Intelligent Airfield/Runway Surveillance and FOD (Foreign Object and Debris) Detection System has been approved by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (“IPOS). Beyond Singapore, Stratech is seeking to protect its IP in iFerret™ with similar patent applications filed in countries worldwide.

Designed and developed in Singapore, Stratech’s iFerret™ is the world’s first Intelligent Vision-based FOD Detection System. Using Stratech’s Intelligent Vision software and state-of-the-art Electro-Optic (EO) Sensors, iFerret™ automatically detects, locates, classifies and records FOD in commercial airports and military airbases. Upon the detection of FOD, iFerret™ enables operators to zoom in on the subject for visual verification before sending a remote alert to ground crew to remove the FOD. (more…)

Israel Airports Authority and X-Sight Systems sign a major contract

X-Sight have just released details of their contract to supply FODetect to Ben-Gurion International Airport (BGIA) in Tel Aviv, Israel.

From the press release:

The IAA’s selection of the FODetect® system for BGIA followed a rigorous two year evaluation process. The IAA determined that the Xsight FODetect® system is the best fit to the airport’s runway performance requirements. Furthermore, the IAA is confident that the FODetect® system will reduce the risk of FOD damage to aircrafts and thus increase flight safety for all passengers & cabin crew members alike.

I believe that the FODetect system was the only system that underwent an evaluation at BGIA. I also believe this is the first sale of a FODetect system.

Source (press release)

Tarsier press release regarding Heathrow

Tarsier press release image

QinetiQ issued a press release today that was written by Neil Pritchard, the London Heathrow Airside Operations Manager. It’s not a detailed account by any means, and unfortunately it’s not very forthcoming with data regarding actual Tarsier FOD finds, which is a pity. It does state:

For any airport operator, the area of highest risk is the runway

As we’re aware from comments left on a previous article, this is not a belief shared by everyone in the FOD detection industry. It’s also important to point out that QinetiQ’s Tarsier system does not cover taxiways or aprons, it’s runways only.

The release is available as a PDF document and can be downloaded here.

Xsight launch “new” FOD product: FODetect-Intersections

Xsight have announced the launch of a “new” product, named FODetect-intersections, here’s a quote from the press release:

Following demand from the world’s largest airports, Xsight Systems announces FODetect-Intersections; the first and only product offering low cost coverage for a single or small number of locations.

The current FODetect system uses a high number of short range sensors to cover a runway, while iFerret uses around 10, and Tarsier just 2 or 3. It’s clear to see that this “new” product from Xsight is trying to play to their strengths, it’s economically viable to deploy a single Xsight sensor (low-cost, short range) to cover a small intersection, it might even be practical to use an iFerret sensor, but a Tarsier sensor? with it’s greater than 1km range? One advantage of the Tarsier system is the fact that it can cover an entire runway with just 2-3 sensors, greatly minimising disruption to the airfield, but this makes the system quite impractical (well, uneconomical) for covering small areas, such as intersections. It’s clear to see why Xsight are now concentrating on these areas. But let’s be clear, this is not the only reason Xsight have diversified, FODetect is the only system so far to have not made a single sale, if FODetect were selling well I doubt very much they would be diversifying with this new Intersections product.

It’s not dissimilar to the direction in which Stratech are taking their iFerret system, they have been emphasising the fact that their system can be deployed on aprons, while the QinetiQ team and their Tariser system continue to concentrate on runways. It’s interesting to see this fragmentation occur, could we one day see all three systems deployed at a single airport? Tarsier covering the runways, iFerret the taxiways and aprons, and FODetect-Intersenctions, the intersections? God I hope not, at least not yet, these systems all have their proprietary data formats, and would all require an extra console in the ops centre. The fact that the current systems on the market do not share a common data format is something I will write about at a later date. As the guy behind the Tarsier Toolbox I have very strong feelings regarding FOD data, and how it could (should) be recorded in a common format, and even shared with the rest of the aviation industry, in much the same way as bird strike data is, but more on that at a later date. (more…)

Stratech’s iFerret wins ATC global 2010 award for innovation

This is starting to become a bit of a trend for FOD detection systems, last year QinetiQ won this award for their Tarsier system, this year it’s the turn of Stratech’s iFerret. It’s great to see these innovative systems being rewarded, but unfortunately a bursting trophy cabinet will not provide much comfort when the sales book is empty. None of these systems have yet penetrated the market in any meaningful way, and maybe this award for “innovation” is actually pointing out one of the major barriers to sales. All the systems currently available are technically complex and innovative, and so far only a handful of airports have taken on the role of the “early adopter”.

Whether any of these systems will ever become mainstream is a good question. It’s been almost 10 years since the Concorde incident, and it’s that incident that first brought the issue of FOD to the attention of the public, but since then we have had 9/11, which shifted the focus of the airports to security, and then the miracle on the Hudson, which shifted it to the threat from bird strikes, and more recently another shift back to security with the desperate requirement to install full body scanners.

For many airports the FOD problem appears to be down the priority list, and it’s not entirely surprising. If you were to ask a passenger what he/she is most concerned about when boarding a plane: security, bird strikes, or FOD,  the answer you’ll get is obvious, “what’s FOD?” When you combine this lack of public (and therefore airport) interest with the technically complex nature of the systems available, it’s not surprising that we don’t see many FOD detection systems being sold. (more…)

Stratech Partners Itochu to Penetrate Japan Market

Stratech press release

Singapore, 26 January 2010 – Singapore Exchange Mainboard-listed Stratech Systems Limited (“Stratech” or “the Group”) today announced a strategic alliance with Itochu Singapore Pte. Ltd. (“Itochu”) to market Stratech’s iFerret™ intelligent Airfield/Runway Surveillance and Foreign Object and Debris (FOD) Detection System in Japan.

Under the agreement, Itochu will market, sell to and deploy, support iFerret™ at Japan Self Defense Force airbases as well as targeted commercial airports in Japan. Itochu is one of the largest global trading companies in Japan.

Besides operating as a FOD detection system, iFerret™ can be deployed at airbases to meet the military’s surveillance needs. Featuring its unique advanced intelligent Vision technology, iFerret™ is a pioneering system capable of Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) during war time for runway surface condition monitoring and to support rapid runway repair (RRR).

Regular human inspection or running of vehicles in a search pattern for hours along the runway is ineffective and dangerous during war time. iFerret™ utilises electro-optic sensors to automatically detect, locate, classify and record craters/unexploded ordnance in the airbase. The timely and accurate assessment of damage to the airfield/runway resulting from the application of military force is critical as it allows the re-planning of flight landing/take-off and the prioritization of runway repair.

“We are delighted to appoint Itochu as our value-added reseller for Stratech’s state-of-the-art iFerret™ system. Itochu’s strong foothold in Japan offers Stratech tremendous leverage in penetrating the market for Battle Damage Assessment and FOD Detection Systems,” said Dr. David K.M. Chew, Executive Chairman of Stratech.

iFerret™ is currently in operation at Singapore Changi Airport for FOD detection. Concurrently, iFerret™ is being piloted at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, the second busiest airport in the world, to monitor both the runway and taxiway.

Latest Tweets

Filter by category

Browse the archives