LEDS Equipment Trials and Evaluation for Heathrow

The challenge

With impending regulation change and existing LEDS equipment approaching end of life, Heathrow
wished to replace the three liquids screening machine types currently in use with a single Type B
LEDS which can screen LAGs of any (reasonable) size, including those less than 100ml, in
containers made of any material. o&i consulting was asked by the airport operator to evaluate the
operational performance of the three ECAC-certified and DfT-approved systems and therefore
assist with the final selection process for appropriate replacement equipment for Heathrow.


Our role

To help Heathrow fully understand the operational performance of each LEDS equipment type, o&i consulting completed a series of offline tests and a live trial over a number of weeks on a passenger search lane equipped with a CT scanner (which was used for primary LAGs screening). The purpose of the tests and trials was to enable us to assess the False Alarm Rate (FAR) of each piece of equipment, usability from the perspective of security officers, and reliability and maintainability of the machines from an engineering viewpoint. We also supported the client in developing an understanding of the full life cost of ownership of each product.

Using liquids from airport retail outlets, a series of offline tests enabled us to assess scan durations and false alarm performance on a wide range of products, brands and material types. Each item was tested on all three machines to provide a direct comparison of performance, also recording whether and why items could not be tested e.g. due to material, size or shape of packaging.

A live operational pilot was also necessary to provide a ‘real life’ view of the performance of each of the three machines. This pilot enabled data to be gathered on performance using a “real world” flow of LAGs, accounting for the impact of item types which typically fail screening on the primary CT machine, varying container fill levels and the different proportions of LAG types carried by passengers. Over a number of weeks, we worked in the operation alongside the security team on duty, screening every liquid that alarmed on the CT pilot lane on each of the trial Type B LEDs machines.

To ensure comprehensive feedback to the client, our methodology included an impact assessment on aTiX lanes and a staff search area, a feedback survey from security officers and managers, fault recording and engineering ‘teardown’ sessions.

Over 1,100 individual LAGs were tested during the offline tests and the live operational pilot, providing o&i consulting with sufficient data to fully evaluate the three Type B LEDS systems. Based on this operational analysis, combined with other criteria such as engineering and security team feedback, the assessment identified a clear best performing LEDS.

Heathrow is in the process of replacing existing equipment with this new system airport-wide.


o&i expertise

  • LEDS equipment research and familiarisation
  • Operational trial design, set up and management
  • Officer training and communications
  • App development
  • Quantitative and qualitative data collection and management
  • Data analysis and modelling
  • Stakeholder engagement and management
  • Presentation and reporting

Project Key Facts

Title: LEDS Equipment Trials and Evaluation for Heathrow

Client: Heathrow

Theme: Passenger Security Screening