A system allows pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers—and
perhaps their supply-chain partners—to authenticate packages through
Rondo-Pak (Norristown, PA) and Alcan Global Pharmaceutical Packaging are each offering the
Cryptoglyph security solution from AlpVision SA (Vevey, Switzerland). The solution helps reduce converters’ costs by enabling covert marking using standard inks and printing processes. Users in the field can then quickly verify a package’s authenticity using standard electronic devices.
"We like this system because of the ease with which it can be applied in the printing process and the ease of authentication by the end-user," says Jeff Espin, technical services manager, Rondo-Pak.
Cryptoglyph prints a bit mapped image of micro-dots invisible to the naked eye. Printed across the entire package surface, the dots are camouflaged within a package’s imperfections, which shields them from discovery by magnification. The markings contain encrypted information that is deciphered with a 128-bit encryption key provided to the customer.
"We receive an [Adobe] Illustrator art work file with the unique pattern that is incorporated into the artwork file for the product and then transferred to the printing plates. The dots are overprinted on the package with ink or varnish and seamlessly integrate into the package. No modifications are required to our flexo and off-set carton printing," Espin says.
When the final package is scanned using a flat bed scanner, digital camera, or cell phone, the image is sent for processing to locally installed software or to the brand owner servers where the AlpVision software is running. The image can be sent to the server by e-mail or uploading to the Web.
The firm’s Krypsos digital image processing software confirms the validity of the bit-mapped image and sends back a "genuine" or "fake" message. The detection results are returned over the Web, by email, or via short messaging service.
"It is also possible to have a small application running on the computer or the mobile device [in which case] the detection is faster," says Martin Kutter, AlpVision.
"Customers can use one image across many brands or assign a unique bit-mapped pattern for individual products," says Espin. "The dots per inch and pre-press requirements of the Cryptoglyph integration are totally compliant with the capability and specifications of our printing systems."
Alcan Packaging has developed the capability to incorporate the Cryptoglyph markings onto flexible pharmaceutical blister packaging. "Multiple customer projects are currently in progress," says Scott Denley, global product manager, Alcan Packaging (Kreuzlingen, Switzerland).