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Security inspection puts kink into electronics firm’s demo

There are good things about the U.S. Department of Homeland Security: no shoe bombs on planes. And then there are frustrations: having your company’s newest electronic device broken on the way to a trade show.

There are good things about the U.S. Department of Homeland Security: no shoe bombs on planes. And then there are frustrations: having your company’s newest electronic device broken on the way to a trade show.

That’s what executives from Carlisle-based Z-Band Inc. dealt with when they flew to Anaheim, Calif., last month for a trade show, said Richard V. Snyder, executive vice president.

Z-Band makes video-distribution electronics for commercial applications, such as hotel, school and government-information systems.

When they touched down, executives unpacked the equipment to find the tape removed from the latches of the carrying case and a printed, rectangular paper note saying security officials had inspected the case’s contents, per regulations.

There was only one problem.

The company’s newest, third-generation unit was damaged, bits and pieces rattling around inside, Snyder said. Z-Band wanted to demonstrate the device — capable of receiving more high-definition TV channels — at the conference.

Snyder is all for tight airline security, but damaged goods are not the way to attract clients, he said.

“If they felt they needed to inspect it for security reasons, then they should take the responsibility to put it back as they found it,” he said.

The new unit — one of only two for demonstration purposes — was inoperable. Z-Band produced a limited number of the new units for show while it finalizes manufacturing arrangements with a Central Pennsylvania factory. Z-Band has not yet identified the manufacturer that will mass-produce the electronics. The company had the second one shipped overnight from Carlisle.

“We’ve had to use our second-generation device to demonstrate the equipment’s capabilities for now,” Snyder said via cell phone from InfoComm, one the largest audio-visual conferences in the nation. The exhibition and conference was held June 15-21 by InfoComm International, a trade association for the industry. Despite the complications, the trade show was a success, Snyder said. Z-Band received more requests and visibility there than in the nine years they’ve been in business, he said.

“It worked out,” he said. “But we went through the agony and the expense.”

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