balscan system image

Ballistic Identification System (bullets, cartridge cases, firearms)

Bullets & Cartridge Cases Digitization

Wide range of calibers can be digitized in BalScan, from small-bore rifle ammunition to 12-gauge shotgun shells. Bullets, cartridge case bottoms, or cartridge case surfaces are scanned in high 3 µm resolution including 3D information. BalScan is very suitable for scanning and comparison of deformed bullets, bullet fragments and even direct scanning of the breech face and the firing pin of a firearm.

Designed to examine fired ammunition

The BalScan system by Laboratory Imaging has been developed for examination and comparison of markings on fired ammunition. Cartridge cases and bullets are examined, compared, scanned in 2D or 3D, and saved to a database. A special software application searches the database and displays a hit list of possible matches. The forensic expert has a full set of comparison functions at hand to confirm the match.

Database and Networking

The reliable Oracle database is an important part of the BalScan system. The database is organized in two logical units - a database of criminal cases and a database of firearms. The criminal cases database contains evidences related to crime scenes, test bullets and test cartridge cases of found firearms. The firearms database contains test bullets and test cartridge cases linked to registered firearms.

The database can be installed on a separate powerful server connected to other BalScan workstations within a private network. This powerful server, i.e. the central database, can also be connected to several local databases. We call this configuration a nationwide solution - a combination of a central server and regional systems with their local databases, with synchronization and a customizable database structure.

Active workstations (with the BalScan device) provide live examination, digitizing of bullets and cartridge cases, searching and comparisons. Passive workstations (without the BalScan device) provide only searching and comparisons. A minimal setup contains just one active workstation which covers the complete functionality (digitization, database, comparisons).

Filtering and Searching

A filtering can be applied to the database. The user can easily display only records of a certain caliber, of a certain type (2D/3D/bullet/cartridge case), or created within a certain period of time, etc. The filtering conditions can be combined so that only relevant records are displayed.

The automatic database search is based on comparing significant areas of the digitized evidence. Land impression marks on bullets and breech face marks, firing pin marks, and ejector marks on cartridge cases are compared. Advanced algorithms and the 3D data analysis are used to achieve maximum reliability. The resulting hit list is sorted by match probability of candidates.

Comparison of markings

There is a rich set of 2D and 3D comparison tools available with user friendly interface and intuitive image handling. The compared surfaces can be visualized texture free, highlighting the topography under any illumination direction which can be easily varied and synchronized. A breech face and a firing pin of a firearm can be directly compared with the markings on the cartridge case.

Device Features

Acquisition Features
  • Top quality monochrome digital camera (optionally color)

  • Top quality telecentric lens developed specially for the BalScan device

  • Precise laser focus

  • Segmented circular LED illuminator, LED linear side light

  • High resolution of 3 μm/px

Motorization and Control
  • The device is fully controllable via the BalScan software and a programmable joystick

  • Precision stepper motors are used to move the object in four axes: X, Y, Z, and rotation

Included System Accessories
  • Bullet holders for calibres .177; .22; 6.35mm Browning; 7x57mm; 7.65 Br.; 8x57mm; 9mm; 9.5; .40 S&W; .45 ACP; .50 BMG

  • Universal cartridge case holder – up to the size of a 12-gauge shotgun shell

Speed and Data Size

scanned material stripe width scan time ~ file size
9mm bullet surface 5,8 mm 3:25 min ~ 72 MB
8,6 mm 6:25 min ~ 103 MB
.45 bullet surface 5,8 mm 3:30 min ~ 95 MB
10 mm 8:10 min ~ 154 MB
9mm cartridge case surface 5,8 mm 8:40 min ~ 80 MB
9mm cartridge case bottom - 1:10 min ~ 32 MB

Network Configuration

Several workstations can cooperate over network. The function of each workstation in the network may vary:

Workstation purpose Image Acquisition Search & compare Database Hosting
Active system (PC + Device) YES YES YES
Passive system (PC only) - YES YES
Dedicated DB Server - - YES

100+ BalScan systems have been sold to 20 countries

Czech Republic (6), Estonia (1), Georgia (4), Germany (9), Italy (9), Latvia (2), Lithuania (1), Poland (1), Slovakia (3), Spain (1), Switzerland (2), Ukraine (35), United Kingdom (1), China (7), India (5), Macao (1), Malaysia (1), Mexico (2), Pakistan (5), Vietnam (1).