Stop the counterfeiters tampering with electronics

The dramatic rise in counterfeiting across the $1bn global electronics industry has had a real impact on the anti-counterfeit packaging market. This market – that covers broadly printing, tags and labels – is expected to reach $105bn by 2023, with tags and labels the largest segment, rising to $65bn.

Part of this growth is down to the fact that the issue of counterfeiting is now being widely recognised – and as a result – many companies have started to invest heavily in protecting customers, intellectual property, and brands. At the same time, they are changing procedures or introducing new guidelines to deal with this threat.

For instance, at the 9th Annual Ant-Counterfeiting Forum, at BAE’s headquarters in Hampshire earlier this year, a key topic was the importance of knowing your supply chain and putting processes in places to reduce the threat of counterfeiting. One commentator at the Forum highlighted that ‘Blind trust in your supply chain is not enough, and suppliers and distributors should stop relying on signed documentation only to confirm legitimacy.’

Part of the solution is to provide guidelines to customers on how to detect counterfeit products. These guidelines could include a list of authorised resellers, and details around the security aspects of the product. It is also important to supply some examples of ways in which counterfeit products can be discovered. For instance, this can include misspellings on the product or its packaging, codes that don’t match (i.e. between the component and the assembly code), and finally, part-specific requirements such as humidity may be missing on a counterfeit item.

But, it is hard to keep up with these increasingly sophisticated counterfeiters, and the scale of this problem is hitting almost all industries. Even the big online retailers are investing large amounts of time and money into fighting the counterfeit sellers on their sites – with the likes of Amazon, eBay, and continuing to enforce strict procedures to remove offending products. The pharmaceutical industry is also increasingly turning to packaging, labelling and anti-counterfeit solution specialists to come up with packaging or products that are tamper proof.

So, what can be done to fight these counterfeiters?

One option is to use brand protection and authentication solutions such tamper evident box seals and highly complex multi-layer authentication labels. Decorative brand labels can also double as both identifiers and functional anti-counterfeit solutions – by including both overt and covert security features built into the design. In short, products must remain easy to authenticate, but almost impossible to copy. Some examples of these products include Videomark, Security Labels (Overt/Covert), Taggants and Track & Trace.

Videomark – is a highly overt security feature that has several covert layers built in. To achieve this unique overt feature a photopolymer film is utilised in our bespoke manufacturing process, which allows us to create 3D images and depth that cannot be achieved with traditional Holographic techniques. As such there has been no successful attempts at copying the Videomark product by counterfeiters.

Security Labels (Overt/Covert) – these range from a box seal to a label with up to 20 different overt and covert security features. We use customised manufacturing equipment to produce complex products in volume.

Taggants – ideal for use in service centres or a higher level corporate security, a Taggant is an invisibly printed feature, which has a unique chemical signature that can only be detected using a specific handheld reader. The reader verifies the presence of the taggant and checks it has the correct signature. This product can be combined with other brand protection features to create a multi-layered security solution.

Track & Trace – SecureTrack is an anti-counterfeiting solution that can be easily integrated to suit business needs –  so it is used for both consumer and corporate level authentication. It was designed specifically for the printing of code management solutions, including serialisation, encrypted security codes, and customised coding algorithms. These combine to provide proprietary track and trace capability, which enables tracking of product from manufacture to end user.

SecureTrack can accurately Geo locate products using web base systems and phone apps – providing confidence for the end user that they are using an authentic product. In addition, it allows OEMs to confirm the global usage location of products.

CCL Design UK’s products are designed, developed, and manufactured within its secure facilities, ensuring all materials are closely controlled. For instance, CCL operates a secure waste disposal policy, codenames for projects and raw materials, background checks, biometric access control, and employee searches. As a result, there have been no successful attempts at copying its more advance products on the black market.