Photoscribe Technologies will provide the lasers systems, which are capable of covertly marking products and packaging at and beyond production line speeds, Microtrace said.
Food products, especially imports, are among the most frequently pirated consumer products, according to a European Commission report. Customs seized about 85 million counterfeit or piratedarticles at the EU's external border in 2002 and 50 million in the first half of 2003. About 66 per cent of counterfeit goods seized in 2002 came from Asia, the Commission data showed.
The food industry accounts for about 15 per cent of Microtrace's anti-counterfeit ink business, company vice-president Brian Brogger told FoodProductionDaily.com.
The addition of laser systems to Microtrace Microtaggant ink technology gives processors a high level of flexibility and the ability to create extremely small covert marks unique to the individualpackage, he said.
The small markings made by the Photoscribe laser systems cannot be seen or located by the unaided human eye. High magnification isneeded for clear, detailed viewing.
The laser technology is capable of marking information in a variety of different formats including intricate logos, photo images, alphanumeric, serial numbers and two-dimensional barcodes, down toa minimum size of about 30 microns.
For high security applications, two-dimensional barcodes may be encrypted to allow only specific software to decode the information.
The Microtaggant technology provides multiple levels of security within a single encoded particle for batch identification and authentication. Brogger said.
Microtrace is also able to deliver laser-markable compounded plastic resins. A colour change occurs where the laser beam takes an image of the compounds. For the highest level of security,the Microtaggant identification particles can be compounded into the laser-markable resins. Both options can be delivered in a single master batch for plastics applications.
Microtrace is located in Minneapolis. The company offers a variety of identification and authentication solutions in the form ofcompounded plastic resins, films, adhesives, paper, security labels and security inks. The Microtaggant security inks allows any printer to apply the anti-counterfeit technology to packagingusing flexographic or screen printing processes.