World-wide the trade in counterfeit products is estimated to account for 10% of world trade, approximately £200 billion. Pharmaceutical counterfeiting is particularly serious, potentially damaging patients health and in the worst cases resulting in death. The World Health Organisation estimate that counterfeit medicines account for 6% of all pharmaceuticals sold globally at a cost of around £12 billion. Counterfeiting also harms the national economy by denying it tax and excise revenue and can affect the commercial viability of companies whose products are faked.
The project has demonstrated that the nano scale features required to produce a hologram can be replicated reliably using injection moulding.
The user creates an encrypted image file so that only they know the data to be validated. The design software includes random number generators in the code making it impossible to reverse engineer the original data. The data is converted to a hologram which is etched into an insert to suit a mould. Each part made using the mould is formed with the holographic pattern embedded in its surface.
The reader technology is based on the measurement of reflected light from the holographic pattern on a moulded surface. This enables parts to be authenticated using a portable reader device which emits light and captures the reflected signal. Comparing the reflected image against the brand owner’s remotely stored data gives a pass or fail result. The reader device has no intelligence and therefore it cannot be reverse engineered to break encryption.
Additionally, the amount of data covertly stored in a 1mm2 area is more than sufficient to store part codes and manufacturing data, hidden within a random data set, allowing legitimate parts to be tracked back to their point of moulding by the brand owner. The tooling inserts used during moulding can be rapidly changed to allow, for example, date of moulding to be included.
It is envisaged that the reader will be integrated into the infrastructure used for electronic point of sale e.g. ‘chip and pin’ credit card terminals removing the need for a new security infrastructure.
OVD Writer Reader allows you to authenticate an injection moulded thermoplastic component throughout the supply and distributions chain, and when in use.