The Pipeline

We are family, I’ve got all my printers with me; Bomb detection in a suitcase

We are family, I’ve got all my printers with me

One new printer is good, but a whole new family of printers is even better.

Just ask Lexmark, which recently announced its C770 family of workgroup color laser printers. It includes one multifunction product that can copy, scan, fax and print.

The C770n is affordable, with an estimated street price of $999. This printer is useful if you print modest volumes of documents and have no special requirements. It can handle as many as 1,100 sheets of input.

Next in line is the $1,499 C772n, which handles higher print volumes. You can add extra paper-handling options for as many as 3,100 sheets. You can later upgrade the printer to a multifunction product by purchasing a modular scanner.

The Cadillac of the C770 family is the X772e multifunction product. This $4,499 model can print, copy, scan and fax. It features a large touch-screen interface that you can customize to carry out business processes at the touch of an icon.

What’s cool about these products is their ability to print on such diverse media as special weather-resistant outdoor materials and hospital wristbands that include color photos of patients.

You can also print color documents, brochures and other signs in-house to save money. The printers can handle up to 48-inch banners on media such as glossy card stock and vinyl labels. They can all print as many as 25 pages per minute in color and monochrome. Each product has an 800 MHz processor. Networking is standard on all models so large workgroups can share one printer.

The operator panels on all models display graphical help messages. And they have another feature we love: a USB port that allows you to print files directly from a flash storage device. The panels also have a 10-digit numerical keypad so you can protect confidential print jobs with a passcode.

Bomb detection in a suitcase

Explosives are a major threat, and these days one of the biggest dangers comes from the proliferation of improvised explosive devices. Terrorists can make IEDs at home with materials at hand.

HiEnergy Technologies offers an explosives-detection product, the SIEGMA 3M3, which it says is capable of detecting IEDs. The portable, suitcase-borne system uses the company’s proprietary Stoitech technology.

Company officials said the product can decipher the chemical formulas of selected substances and determine with 95 percent accuracy whether an object or container carries dangerous or illicit substances, such as explosives, biological agents or illegal drugs.

“The system is an intelligent diagnostic tool that has not been available on the market before,” said Sean Moore, vice president of sales and marketing at HiEnergy.

The SIEGMA 3M3 weighs less and provides more efficient weight distribution than its predecessor, the SIEGMA 3E3. It has a ruggedized modular design. One portion of the system contains a neutron particle accelerator and gamma ray detector. The other contains a computer, power supply and other electronic components.

To use the device, the operator places the neutron particle accelerator next to the target. Targets for a detection system of this size would typically be items such as suitcases or boxes, the company said.