Rising Above Counterfeiters

Daphne Allen


3M is now offering packagers and labelers a multiple-layer labeling technology for authentication. Introduced two years ago for document security, 3M Confirm Authentication products feature floating-image technology with full parallax movement.

Made possible through an optically variable device (OVD), images appear as though they float above or sink into a label, and they can disappear entirely when the label is rotated. The overt security feature can be customized to a company’s needs, reports William Markovitz, marketing manager of 3M brand and asset protection.

In the labels, two circles appear to rise and sink in a dramatic 3-D fashion, explains Markovitz. “It is unlike anything you’ve seen on a conventional hologram,” he says.

The OVD image is applied to 3M’s Confirm substrate, a retroreflective material. Subsurface covert graphics are printed underneath the overt OVD images, and these covert graphics can only be seen under a reflective light source. For instance, the hidden images appear when viewed perpendicular to line of sight with the 3M Retroreflective Verifier. The retroreflective background blocks out other, visible subsurface printing.

3M is currently discussing the technology with pharmaceutical and medical device companies. 3M has conducted numerous tests to determine its suitability for these industries. Results show that labels can be stored at a range of temperatures:

• Cold Exposure: –40°F (–40°C) for limited time.

• Elevated Temperature: 120°F (50°C) for six weeks (1000 hours).

• Elevated Temperature: 150°F (65°C) for six weeks (1000 hours).

• High Temperature: 250°F (121°C) for limited time.

• 90°F/90% relative humidity for seven days (168 hours).

Performance also depends on the sterilization process being used, says Markovitz. “Prospective customers should talk to our application engineers to learn more about the details,” he says.

Markovitz explains that Confirm is only available through a controlled material source and then sold directly to pharmaceutical companies or to the pharmaceutical company’s trusted converters.

3M introduced the technology in March at the Authentication Connections Forum in Tampa, FL.

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