Markings on fired ammunition can be examined and compared using the BalScan system. Cartridge cases and bullets are scanned in 3D and saved to a database. The database can be searched automatically to produce a hit list of possible matches. After that, there is a full set of comparison functions prepared to help a forensic expert confirm the match.
Wide range of calibers can be digitized by BalScan, from smallbore rifle ammunition to .12 Gauge shotgun shells. Bullets, cartridge case bottoms, or cartridge case surfaces are scanned in high 3μm resolution and saved as 3D models. BalScan is capable of scanning and comparison of deformed bullets, bullet fragments, it can even directly scan a breech face and a firing pin of a firearm.
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 standalone server connected to other BalScan workstations within a private network. 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).
A filter can be applied to the database. The operator can easily display only records of a certain caliber, 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 the candidates.
The software provides a very friendly environment for the user, working with multiple images is very intuitive and there is a rich set of 2D and 3D comparison tools. The compared surfaces can be visualized texture-free thus emphasizing the surface topography. Direction of the simulated illumination 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.
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 3μm/px
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.
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 .12 Gauge shotgun shell
9 mm LUGER / mono camera
|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 CC* surface||5,8 mm||8:40 min ~ 80 MB|
|9mm CC* bottom||-||1:10 min ~ 32 MB|
* CC = Cartridge case
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|