Anti-counterfeiting measures are necessary due to the high value of cosmetics and the safety and health risks associated with counterfeit pharmaceuticals or cosmetics.
PACKAGING REVIEW talks to Grant Hubbard, MD of Uniprint Labels about the brand protection methods the company offers with its new HP Indigo 20000 press.
Whilst Uniprint expects pharma and cosmetics customers to be particularly interested in the speed and cost effectiveness of the new press, the areas of product authentication and anti-counterfeiting are where the biggest developments can be made.
The HP Indigo 20000 will be installed later this month.
‘The quality of counterfeit products is astounding. Sophisticated counter measures are now required. The powerful software and printing parameters of digital printing offer the best new methods of reducing this problem,’ says Hubbard.
Uniprint offers unique codes such as barcodes, QR Codes and 2D codes, which create a response by using a reading device linked to unique content such as an expiry date or a website. These are used for both track and trace and authentication systems.
Microtext is also popular. This small text looks like a thin line or decoration. It is readable only with a magnifying glass.
A series of thin curved lines, known as Guilloche, interlace to create circular designs. As the lines are thin and adjacent, reproduction of the picture is made extremely difficult.
By matching patterns, using a barcode scanner, authentication can be done by the consumer or brand inspector. The result is a pattern that matches the design on the label.
Digital watermarks, comprising marks embedded in a label, hold information that can be magnified and verified by using a plastic lens. If reproduced, the print loses the watermark. A digital watermark can also be changed using transparent ink.
Red UV invisible ink is used extensively in the market for a number of variable applications, including covert print and authentication. Owing to demand, HP has also developed blue and yellow invisible inks, which will be released soon.
Closed-loop verification solutions combine two or more of the above core protection method options into a proprietary solution. This can be integrated into the label, packaging or a standalone label. Authenticity can be verified in the trade using handheld devices or cell phone applications.