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11 August 2010
A new mobile x-ray machine jointly developed by MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) and an Otahuhu sheet-metal company started work this week in the Auckland area.
Based primarily at the Biosecurity Centre at Auckland airport, the unit can be used to screen goods at express freight and other importing companies and clear cruise ship passengers at various ports, such as Tauranga.
The idea of modifying an existing x-ray unit to enable it to be mounted on a specially designed, custom-built trailer was suggested by MAFBNZ inspector, Wayne Grant, who developed the concept over several years. The unit was manufactured by Otahuhu firm Ashworth and Taylor Sheetmetals.
At under two tonnes in weight, the trailer fits the design brief that the unit's overall weight be as light as possible, while including the x-ray components and remaining easy to operate and maintain.
Mr Grant said with the unit able to operate anywhere, even where mains power was unavailable, MAFBNZ for the first time had the ability to provide cover in any location.
"For instance, we would be able to move quickly to process passengers and check baggage in emergency situations where X-rays had been damaged or destroyed, such as following fire or water damage or bomb scare," Mr Grant said.
With its distinctive signage, the trailer could well double as a MAFBNZ public relations tool and was likely to feature at field days, fairs and other community events emphasising that Biosecurity was a collaborative effort involving the whole community.
"Everyone has a role to play in keeping out unwanted pests and diseases and containing or, where possible, eradicating any that establish here," Mr Grant said.
MAFBNZ led a biosecurity system which worked on three fronts, namely overseas to stop travellers and importers from bringing in pests, at the border to identify and eliminate pests that did arrive, and within New Zealand to find, manage or eliminate pests that established here, Mr Grant said.
Approximately four million passengers a year arrived at New Zealand's eight international airports on around 30,000 aircraft, and about 590,000 containers passed through 10 ports on 2,900 ships. As well, around 700 pleasure craft, 38.5 million mail items and 70,000 to 140,000 used cars arrived in New Zealand annually.
For photos of the mobile X-ray machine and more information contact:
Senior Communications Advisor
04 894 0687 or 029 894 0687
To report an exotic pest or disease call the MAF Biosecurity hotline on 0800 80 99 66