Heidelberg has released a new security label which offer brand owners and manufacturers protection against product piracy and thus economic damage. The labels also provide consumers with a simple way of checking the authenticity of products using a smart phone.
The 1-TAG security labels comprise a pattern randomly generated from copper threads and an accompanying two-dimensional quick response code. The combination of these two elements on the product itself or on the packaging ensures the best possible protection against counterfeiting and creates an identity for each product, comparable to a human fingerprint, according to Heidelberg.
Free mobile software (app) specifically developed for this technology allows end users to check the authenticity of the labeled products quickly and easily using a smartphone. The check takes place directly on the user's phone without the need for a network connection.
Consumers can download the relevant apps free of charge from the Apple Store and the Google Android Market. The solution is available now for manufacturers and offers a far higher level of security than popular hologram concepts, which can usually be copied by counterfeiters in just a few days.
Stephan Plenz, a member of the Heidelberg management board responsible for equipment, says, “We designed 1-Tag primarily as a security system for brand goods manufacturers and their end customers to provide better protection against counterfeit products.
"For the first time, this technology allows brand goods manufacturers to incorporate their customers into the process of counterfeit protection. Thanks to its high level of security and simple user handling, 1-Tag offers extremely effective protection, particularly for health- or security-critical products.”
The makers have based 1-Tag on a combination of physical random processes and cryptographic signatures. A cryptographic signature refers to a process that can be used to document the authenticity of data and enable this data to be checked by everyone.
A pattern randomly generated from copper threads is applied to a label. A Linoprint digital drop-on-demand inkjet system prints the code on the label next to the pattern of copper threads. This pattern is read off using a camera, and a cryptographic key that is specific to each manufacturer converts it into an equally specific code. This cryptographic signature links up the random pattern, code, and product information.
Heidelberg says that brand goods manufacturers can also use 1-Tag by specifying in advance how many items a packaging company can label with the 1-Tag technology and which product information can be coded during this process.