General Electric’s security business on Thursday announced the first order for a new portable device for air cargo facility checkpoint security which detects traces of narcotics and explosives.

The GE Itemizer DX trace detector device, which is about the size of a large briefcase, received an order for 15 units from screening equipment supplier US Testing Equipment, Ltd. On its website, the supplier listed the DX device as costing $48,000 per unit.

GE says trace detection technology can be used to close security loopholes by detecting residue on skin, clothing, parcels, bags, cargo, vehicles and other surfaces. It can be used alone or as a complement to X-ray scanners, metal detectors and canine patrols.

The DX device, which GE described as an upgrade to the previous Itemise3 detector, has met the Transportation Security Administration’s requirements for the Certified Cargo Screening Program.

US Testing’s chief operating officer Reese Carpenter said the DX unit has become a “solution of choice,” adding that the product provides “an ideal product interface.”

The general manager for GE Security’s Americas Aviation division said US Testing could add value to the product, saying it is in a “prime position to help air cargo facilities benefit from Itemiser DX thanks to their in-depth knowledge of air cargo mandates and facilities’ needs.”

The Big Picture

GE’s Security business is a part of the conglomerate’s Enterprise Solutions unit, which in turn is a part GE’s Technology Infrastructure segment.

Within the Technology Infrastructure segment, Enterprise suffered the largest profitability percentage drops in the second quarter of 2009 compared to the previous year. Other businesses in TI include Aviation, Healthcare and Transportation.

Net profit at Enterprise was down 44.4 percent to $90 million from $162 million in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue fell 25.6 percent to $918 million from $1.235 billion a year earlier.

Technology Infrastructure revenue was down 11 percent to $10.555 billion, compared with $11.851 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Other GE segments include Energy Infrastructure, NBC Universal, and Capital Finance, Consumer & Industrial

Net earnings at GE in the second quarter were down 49 percent to $2.683 billion down from $5.256 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue at the entire company was down 17 percent to $39.082 billion from $46.840 billion a year earlier.