Using Printing Technologies to Authenticate and Fight against Counterfeits

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Today manufacturers and brand owners are engaged in a long-term battle with companies that counterfeit their goods. New printing technologies are making it easier and easier to emulate the packaging of brands, often with readily available office equipment.

This counterfeiting can have severe effects on both the brand owners and the purchasers of the goods. This effect can result in the loss of profit or the end user being misled into buying something that it is not-in effect theft.

For the brand owner the consequence is greater-they lose both the value of the sale and they put their own brand at risk when the products sold turn out to be of poor quality-leading to reduced perception of the brand and potentially lost future sales.

There is now increasing evidence that counterfeiters are moving into product lines where the effect is not only economic, it can put lives at risk Food, car parts, aircraft parts, medicines, electronics and electrical good are all suffering.

Whilst in first stage counterfeiting the result was only economic, in these categories of goods fake goods put lives directly at risk. Faulty brake pads, drugs with no active ingredient, or sometimes poisons present, unsafe or out of date food, repackaged as wholesome, high quality products. These are life-threatening consequences of the desire to make easy money by copying real products

Fortunately, the development of new printing and coding technologies also enables new authentication and traceability techniques that are available to manufacturers to trace, authenticate and then defeat the march of counterfeit goods.

In this paper, we will look at techniques that can be cheaply applied to products to ensure that fake goods can be identified, supply chains managed and counterfeiters controlled.

Topics to be addressed are:-

□ Digital printing of products with identifiable features to tie products to batches or markets

□ The use of active or reactive inks to provide additional features to allow end users to verify the products they buy.

□ The use of latest generation bar coding to act as a complementary data carrier-allowing verification of products without the need to use expensive or complex IT systems.

□ The techniques covered use a number of different, low cost and already available printing and coding techniques to show what can be achieved with today's technology.

We look at coding techniques, authentication and layering options available to manufacturers and show how they can be used as part of an assault against the manufacturers and distributors of fake goods.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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