As product supply chains have become truly globalized, brand owners are increasingly faced with the threat of smuggling and counterfeiting of products. Diverted product can result in lost revenue, while some products are adulterated or replaced entirely with counterfeit goods. Threat of illicit activity makes protection of the supply chain paramount to maintain revenue streams, protect public health and support brand integrity.

Security inks and integrated systems can be applied to flexible packaging materials, such as foils, bags, pouches, shrink sleeves and roll fed labels, to protect products and maintain brand integrity.

Putting Ink to Work

While use of commodity inks for basic package printing or sophisticated brand design is not new, employing security inks can put packaging to work for your brand, particularly with flexible packaging materials. Inks can be used for more than just aesthetics, providing complete packaging protection and applicable for printing on a variety of substrates.

Security inks are easily integrated into existing flexible packaging components, offering overt, covert and forensic levels of protection to secure packages and individual units from unlawful duplication or alteration. The effects of security inks cannot be digitally replicated and different inks can be combined for additional security. Inks are versatile, protecting an entire area or only small portions that need protection.

Authentication of a product through ink technology is simple and proven effective. Security inks are often more cost-effective than other security solutions available, which may require major packaging redesigns, and can be easily incorporated into packaging design using conventional printing processes – without sacrificing design or aesthetics.

Options in Security Inks

When considering use of ink features by the public, overt security features, such as color-shifting inks, are easily used by consumers to authenticate a product. These inks are authenticated using basic human senses, generally sight and touch. Color-shifting inks, for example, generate an obvious color-shift when viewed at different angles. This shift is easily recognizable to and provides a simple way to securely authenticate packaging. Additionally, iridescent and metallic inks are simple, overt security features that also provide a decorative element to package design.

Further packaging protection may employ inks with semi-covert or covert properties. These inks are authenticated by investigators, agents or people with some level of education or training – knowing what feature to look for when authenticating. Simple devices are used to aid in the verification, including polarized filters and ultra-violet (UV) lights.

Covert features make use of hand-held detectors with no human judgment required. These machine-readable inks are verified by measuring the presence or absence of the machine-readable feature. Detectors are customized for each organization and this technology is not available on the commercial market, offering additional protection from counterfeiters.

With today’s counterfeiters being highly skilled and able to duplicate most packaging down to intricate details, a sophisticated multi-layered security system employing overt and covert security is necessary in order to protect your customers.

By incorporating security inks early in the design process, you can produce aesthetically pleasing, highly-secure flexible packaging applications that can be authenticated by various groups using various methods. This will help ensure your brand owners are happy with the decreased amounts of lost products, and potential increase in revenue.

SICPA Product Security, LLC
(703) 455-8050; www.sicpa.com