The products, DataLase and DataLase Clear, achieve brand protection and security by providing products with their own unique mark. Combining chemistry and substrate conversion, the groundbreaking technology's colour change mechanism is triggered by low power CO2 laser light energy.
Anti-counterfeiting is a growth market, the objective being to identify luxury or high-value products in a way that minimises their fraudulent reproducibility. DataLase allows products to be tagged permanently and discreetly, without the mark being removable.
DataLase technology can be used for a range of covert and overt security applications. For example, DataLase has the ability to overtly mark a product with its own distinctive 'finger print'.
This 'finger print', such as a tiny 2D Datamatrix code is formed through films, such as Polypropylene and Polyethylene, allowing it to be permanently embedded or 'sandwiched' in laminates. The DataLase chemistry is incorporated at the manufacturing stage and can be subsequently laser marked.
This technique can be used in products as diverse as cigarette and cosmetic packaging. It is a particularly effective tool in preventing counterfeiters and grey market trading as the 'finger print' can not be easily reproduced or removed.
DataLase Clear enables the covert checking of a product's authenticity. This unique product allows images to be transferred onto transparent media via a laser without interfering with the translucency of the underlying substrate.
Counterfeiters are unable to spot the presence of the laser responsive DataLase Clear material as it only becomes visible when exposed to energy from a low power CO2 laser. The DataLase Clear image remains undetectable up to the very point where authenticity needs to be verified, a unique feature not possible with other techniques.
"The application of DataLase technology for the purpose of security features is a very new and exciting project," said Sherwood Technology managing director Steve Kelly.
"Existing methods have become stagnant and predictable to counterfeiters who find ways around them. However, DataLase has the potential to revolutionise the market. We expect brand protection applications to be key development areas for the DataLase technology."
The DataLase technology security applications will be available as a result of new and existing application licensing agreements and strategic partnerships with security substrate manufacturers.
According to Scot McLeod, vice president of marketing at software provider Ross Systems, this market is set to carry on growing.
"What we are seeing now, and what we are likely to see in the future, is greater emphasis on safety," he told FoodProductionDaily.com last week. "In the past, retailers have perceived customers as being primarily concerned about price, quality and customer service, but I think now you could add to that brand protection."
Private label manufacturers are most directly in the firing line of this drive towards brand protection.
"If you are a private-label processor, then the increase in pressure on you in terms of guaranteeing food safety is almost like being under a magnifying glass," said McLeod.
"It's a bigger issue because you are producing products with someone else's label on them, and this company will be keenly sensitive to all risks. If they come and do a mock recall and are unsatisfied with the results, then this could have serious repercussions."