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Blog publish date is 10/03/2021 Physical Security

Discriminative Metal Detection Systems Test Method

As National Technical Authority for physical (and people / personnel) security, NPSA seeks to encourage development and support effective operational adoption of innovative security solutions.

In conjunction with technology developers, end user site owners and operators, government stakeholders and independent experts, NPSA has produced a Discriminative Metal Detection (DMD) Systems Test Method. 

This test method provides a means to evaluate, test and compare metal detection systems designed to detect larger metallic threat objects concealed on a person, or in any bags they are carrying.

The test method has been developed to improve device manufacturers’ ability to effectively communicate performance characteristics of DMD systems and improve end users' (e.g. site security managers’) ability to make effective performance comparisons. 

Applicable technologies

The DMD Systems Test Method is applicable to products that are designed to discriminate larger metallic threats from benign items (i.e. everyday items carried on a person or in their bags). It is primarily aimed at products able to screen large numbers of people without them needing to slow down significantly or remove contents of pockets etc.

The test method is part of NPSA’s wider activity to promote development and understanding of efficient and effective screening measures suited to use at high footfall locations.

In order to support and encourage continued innovation, the test method is intended to be agnostic of technology. Technologies that may be potentially relevant for this method include (but are not limited to):

  • pulsed-induction and continuous-wave metal detection
  • passive magnetometers
  • microwave or millimetre wave radar systems
  • technology utilising other RF or microwave phenomena. 

Scope of DMD Systems Test Method

The DMD Systems Test Method sets out a standard approach for testing. It is not a specification standard in that it does not specify threshold performance values that the system must meet in order to be deemed acceptable. The intention is that end users will review the results of the testing and make their own judgements on whether a system is suitable for their particular application. 

The DMD Systems Test Method is not intended to be a substitute for other (national or international) metal detection test standards or methods. It provides a means to assess (and compare) the functional performance of products within this newly emerging category, with the aim of supporting end users in making informed decisions regarding their operational adoption. Other, primarily non-functional aspects of DMD system performance such as mechanical and electrical safety, operating environmental conditions, power consumption and usability are not included as they can be evaluated using the techniques available in existing standards.

Contact us

The Discriminative Metal Detection Systems Test Method is one element of NPSA's work aiming to support development of a wider variety of options for screening people and their belongings for concealed threats and facilitate their uptake into operational use at UK sites. If you would like advice or support on designing and delivering a High Footfall Screening process at your site please contact us [email protected].

The test method is available to manufacturers and developers of suitable products on request from NPSA. If you have a product that you think is suitable for DMD testing, or are developing a technology that could make use of it in future, and would like to discuss it further please get in touch with us [email protected].

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