By Cassandra Balentine
Security measures are invoked in many forms to protect brands and consumers against fraud and counterfeiting. Print is no exception, and new tools continue to emerge to combat theft.
According to the Global Impacts Study by the International Chamber of Commerce, the upper bound of the global value of counterfeit and pirated goods was estimated to be as high as $1.77 trillion in 2015.
Both overt and covert options are available for a layered approach to document security. Many digital press manufacturers offer features that fall under the security umbrella and are visible to the naked eye, including specialty inks, magnetic ink character recognition (MICR), and micro printing. Additionally, covert features found in digital inks and toners offer invisible characters that are only recognized with a special device or application (app).
The need for secure printing is essential to few, and an occasional concern for many. However, those that need these features rely on the latest technologies to ensure secure applications.
Ed Jansen, VP, professional services, Canon Solutions America, suggests that an increased need for security around the world as well as the ability to certify and protect personal identities, intellectual property, and monetary value items are all factors that help drive the need for secure document printing.
Jim Reiman, director of brand protection, Sun Chemical, says counterfeiting and diversion are at the heart of what is driving interest in security printing products—and with good reason. He explains that counterfeiting threatens public health through the production of inferior medicines, foods, and beverages; causes taxes to increase by sidestepping official channels; increases public spending by boosting enforcement to counter illicit trade; and raises the price of legitimate products and brands that seek to recoup their losses.
“The problem of counterfeit products cuts across all industries and can be found in a range of diverse product types,” suggests Reiman. He says that in fact, some of the industries that are most vulnerable to counterfeiting include automotive parts, alcohol, computer hardware, mobile phones, packaged foods, pharmaceuticals, and tobacco products. “With profits, corporate liability, and brand reputations at stake, more companies are fighting back to protect themselves. Brands are increasingly expanding their budgets for confronting both counterfeiting and diversion issues by being more proactive in applying technologies to ensure the supply chain is safe and legitimate,” he shares.
Packaging applications represent one area where brands can protect themselves with anti-counterfeiting technology. “We definitely see a growing request for brand protection features from printers in our label and packaging segment. It is clear that more brand owners are confronted with counterfeit goods, resulting in profit/image damage,” comments Jeroen Van Bauwel, director product management, Xeikon. He says the package is the “perfect container” to implement anti-counterfeit tools, especially for those already created digitally. This is because digital print technology is already in use and therefore the cost to implement security features can be low.
This trend is also acknowledged by HP, based on a recent memorandum of understanding (MOU) that debuted at dscoop 2016. “Packaging across many industries, particularly for pharmaceutical products, is an area of demand for security and anti-counterfeiting applications. Pharmaceutical companies can increase product safety and brand protection by investing in packaging and printing, which assures the supply chain and consumers that their drug or product is authentic,” explains Thomas A. Nicolette, president/CEO, VerifyMe, in a press release announcing the MOU.
Features and Functions
Print engines and consumable manufacturers offer options for clients that require secure document printing. In addition to print engine offerings, like super fine resolution for micro-text applications and variability for unique codes, other providers offer toner and ink solutions featuring taggants that are detectable by special devices for authentication. Many hardware manufacturers partner with targeted companies to offer unique secure print features.
Canon Solutions America currently offers security printing solutions for its Océ-branded JetStream, ColorStream, and VarioPrint 6000 digital printing series. Jansen says the company plans to add security features for the VarioPrint i300 and Canon imagePRESS C10000VP this Summer. “Specifically, we partner with Arcis Digital Security, a provider of void pantograph technologies as well as covert authentication document security features to the print industry. In addition, we offer security inks that include MICR ink, Fugitive Ink, and invisible ink.”
Jansen explains that its Fugitive Ink offering—also known as solvent sensitive ink—reacts when it comes in contact with certain solvents. Invisible ink is undetectable to the eye under normal lighting conditions, but is revealed when the print is placed under a UV light source.
Canon’s secure printing options are embedded into the workflow on compatible machines specific to each customer’s workflow. “We work with our customers to understand the exact type of security features their operations require and then we build the requirements into the workflow specific to the printing device they are operating. We leverage the technology the printer is using to incorporate the security features through the Arcis solution, which is typically a custom add on. For our security inks, MICR ink is generally available. Fugitive and invisible inks are provided on a project basis and customized for each customer’s security application,” says Jansen.
Security inks are OEM or contracted with a third-party to be made to each machine’s specifications.
In partnership with Arcis, Canon offers a number of security features over select printing devices, including multiple solutions—like Halo Covert, Micro signature, Digital Void Pantograph and Digital Verification Grid, and 7 Prismatic Print—that prevent duplication on other devices, resulting in distorted recreations of these secure documents.
Document Security Systems, Inc. (DSS) offers its AuthentiGuard solution, which is compatible with digital production platforms. “We’ve used AuthentiGuard with a variety of print engine manufacturers including Xerox and Xeikon, but our solutions can be utilized with many other platforms,” offers Mike Tobin, VP of marketing, DSS.
He explains that his team creates and customizes marks for placement on a product’s packaging, which are embedded during the prepress stage and printed. The embedded mark can be covert or overt and when scanned with a smartphone application, it validates product authenticity and can provide users with various information including product name, origin, intended destination, expiration, and serial number. Investigators in the field, or even consumers, can read a product’s mark with their authorized smartphone and quickly determine a product’s authenticity,” says Tobin.
Sun Chemical offers a taggant solution, known as Vericode technology. This solution offers a lock and key approach to securing and authenticating brand packaging and documents of value for inkjet printers. “Using machine readable taggants and readers available only from Sun Chemical is a highly effective system of covert marking and verification for both visible and hidden ink applications,” suggests Jim Reiman, director of brand protection sales, Sun Chemical.
Reiman says that since digital printing allows the embedding of a variable mark that is invisible to the naked eye, Sun Chemical can supply a taggant for inkjet printers or DSS can provide a mark for digital/electrophotographic printers to print a mark and supply a reader/smartphone to authenticate the product.
As previously mentioned, VerifyMe, Inc. recently announced an MOU with HP where the companies will incorporate VerifyMe’s pigment products with HP Indigo’s ElectroInk to create a new product, Security-ElectroInk, to be used for authentication and anti-counterfeiting.
The new product is marketed and sold globally by VerifyMe to HP Indigo customers, along with VerifyMe’s readers and authentication tools that can be used in conjunction with Security-ElectroInk. As part of the understanding, both companies will provide support to HP indigo customers that use the product on HP Indigo digital printing presses.
VerifyMe’s patented, anti-counterfeiting pigment technology integrates into the printing process to produce visible and invisible marks, enabling two levels of authentication. First, consumers see the patented ink without any specialized equipment. Second, manufacturers use customized devices to view characteristics of non-visible pigments to support their supply and distribution chain security.
Xeikon’s print technology allows for printing on standard substrates without the need for pre-treatment, this lends the technology well to security papers. Additionally, elements such as variable data, numbering, barcodes, or even variable hidden images can be considered security functions. The technology’s high-resolution imaging technology enables micro text and fine sharp lines for guilloches of complex patterns.
Most of the described features are implemented by Xeikon customers using the standard functions of the front end and prepress technology. Some of the features work in collaboration with partners. For example, track and tracing functionalities are referred to Xeikon partners to generate the codes. With Xeikon’s front end, these codes can be integrated into the design.
Secure Supply Chain for Secure Applications
The need for security spans more than the printing industry and affects nearly every vertical.
Jansen suggests government and licensing agencies need to prevent documents from being duplicated—such as birth certificates, voting ballots, licenses, permits, insurance cards, titles, and deeds. Healthcare, financial, and pharmaceutical companies need to prevent personal information like names, addresses, social security numbers, and credit card information from falling into the wrong hands. Educational and creative companies need to protect their intellectual and creative property like event tickets, diplomas, and admission letters. “The need for secure printing runs the gamut in terms of companies and industries, thereby driving constant demand,” says Jansen.
He offers the example of a customers in the financial industry currently using Fugitive Inks when printing checkbooks.
Tobin says brands often don’t know their products have been compromised and it can be very difficult to determine authenticity. “Counterfeits are being introduced in almost all of the steps in a supply chain. So the need to verity authenticity quickly and easily is becoming critical to protect consumers and revenue.”
He points to warranty fraud as an area where anti-counterfeiting tools can make a difference. In one popular scam scenario, a thief can purchase a genuine product, replace it with a counterfeit product, and return it to the store that refunds the purchase, the thief then sells the genuine product online, and the brand compensates the store for the returned product. “This costs the brand real dollars. By using security features like AuthenticGuard, these stores can equip their personnel and train them to effectively authenticate a product when it is returned,” says Tobin.
Future of Secure Printing
The need for secure printing is apparent, and new technologies enable brand owners and print providers to offer anti-counterfeit and fraud solutions that are simple and affordable.
“The current state of the world points to a growing need for secure documents across multiple applications and uses,” says Jansen. “Fraud has become more prevalent around the world and we see no indications of this decreasing in the future. We expect that there will be more advancements in document security features as manufacturers develop technologies to evolve with changing security needs.”
Reiman suggests unique marking and digital smartphone authentication are the fastest growing and most intriguing solutions to brand owners trying to combat counterfeiting and diversion. “The reality is that they are losing control of the production process. The exploding of good counterfeit products is making it look credible enough for customers to buy it. Consumers have a difficult time determining what is real and what is fake,” he warns. Anti-counterfeiting tools help brand owners better support their supply chain.
Tobin adds that solutions featuring a smartphone app are piquing interest because of the additional marketing benefits that it provides. “Brands like to know what consumers are buying and want to tailor promotions based on their buying tendencies. It also provides an aspect of service to the individual that wasn’t available before,” he offers.
The manufacturing world is in a constant state of evolution. Unfortunately, criminals are also evolving. To stay ahead of their product’s reputation and reduce theft, brand owners must consider secure document printing to help authenticate goods at various stages of the supply chain. Both overt and covert printing features are available to serve these needs. dps
Oct2016, DPS Magazine