Tri-Tronics Offers Low-Cost Covert Marking


Could a low-cost invisible marking solution that major consumer packaged-goods firms have deployed for process control find an application in healthcare security marking? Tri-Tronics Company, Inc. (Tampa, FL), thinks there might be a fit.

The SmartEye-Stealth system employs Tri-Tronics’s Stealth-NIR, a near-infrared laser photoelectric sensor for reading invisible InvisiMarq marks manufactured by partner Clearwood Industries.

The sensor operates in the near-IR region where there is little interference from other light sources. It thereby ignores UV regions that are found in many naturally occurring materials.

“As the filtered reader works on a narrow wavelength, it isn’t tripped up by UV-containing substrates,” says Dennis Henderson, senior vice president and sales manager, Tri-Tronics.

Formulated into water-based or solvent-based inks, plastics, or adhesives, the invisible mark fluoresces when struck by a visible red light source from the sensor. The system can be used for intricate inspection tasks such as verifying the presence and condition of components, and checking product orientation of assembled parts. Markers can also be applied to labels to provide a pass-fail test of authenticity, or provide verification of tamper-proof seals, Henderson says.

“InvisiMarq is a man-made marker that was initially used for authenticating checks,” says Henderson. “We have adapted it to industrial manufacturing and automation. The synthetic marker cannot be duplicated.”

Commercially available since 1999, the system also offers considerable cost advantages.

“InvisiMarq costs the same as luminescent ink, so it’s dirt cheap. And our Stealth-NIR sensor lists for $995, making the system extremely economical,” he adds.

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