Advanced track and trace systems

Holograms lead the way to value-added solutions

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Working with security authentication solutions provider OpSec, the English Premier League team, Manchester United, has attached a secure OVD label to all its merchandize to protect against the threat of product counterfeiting

So, against this backdrop, it’s no surprise that holography has arisen to become one of the most effective, easy-to-use and accessible brand protection devices, and a frontline weapon in the ongoing war on counterfeiting.

The technology’s ability to incorporate various data forms and product tracking information is becoming increasingly important, and commercially acceptable, with the added bonus of being able to link on-pack product identification with supply chain management, market enforcement and forensic support services.

New imaging techniques and combinations of other overt authentication technologies with holograms are producing a sophisticated new generation of optical security devices that combine ease of recognition advantages with significantly enhanced resistance to counterfeits. This enables the identity and distribution of goods to be controlled through an expanded system solution involving security authentication features, tracking mechanisms and investigative facilities.

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Under ISO 12931, which specifies performance criteria and evaluation methodology for authentication solutions, track and trace technology by itself is not a security solution. However, in conjunction with an optically variable device (OVD) such as a hologram, it becomes a potent security solution. Indeed, the technology can help users generate unique sequential, encrypted or random serial numbers, or identify and mark products overtly or covertly either via special self-adhesive labels or directly onto product using a variety of print technologies.

The combination of holography with a holoQR and compass is opening up new potential as an anti-counterfeit system for documents and products

The identity of individual items can be linked to packaging through a unique code, which in turn can be linked to case ID, pallet ID or container ID. The recording of this so-called parent/child relationship between unit pack, carton and pallet is the beginning of an electronic pedigree that allows the item to be tracked and monitored throughout the supply chain—from the production line and packaging through distribution channels to the final end-user. This type of usage can also be used to capture important events in a product’s life cycle—for instance, quality assurance rejects and product returns—creating a flexible database, which offers a unique product history and other business recording benefits.