Use These Inks to Increase Security

In addition to the many substrates, or paper that is available for the printing of security labels, there is also another layer of security that can be applied: the use of security inks. Indeed, today’s technology has seen the development and successful use of many ink types.

Solvent Sensitive

This type of ink offers some sort of visible change when it’s been tampered with. In this case, ‘tampering’ refers to the application of some sort of solvent to the ink in an attempt to remove information printed in the document. Solvent sensitive ink will change colour once a solvent has been applied to it. Some of the documents on which solvent sensitive ink is used include cheques and watermarks.

Fugitive Ink

This type of ink works in much the same way as its solvent sensitive counterpart, causing some sort of visible evidence of tampering once something has been applied to it. In the case of fugitive ink, any water or other liquid that is added to this ink will cause it to smudge the area or pattern it’s been applied to. Even wetting the finger with saliva and running it across fugitive ink can be enough to cause it to smudge.

Optically Variable

Also known as OVI, optically variable ink works much in the same way as a holographic image does, changing colour depending on the viewing angle. The most common colour shifts for OVI are red which changes to purple, and brown that changes to green. The secret is in its content of millions of metal flakes. This kind of ink requires printing in a heavyweight. Typically, OVI is used over small areas such as on currency or on a passport, as this ink is quite costly.

Thermochromic

Thermochromic ink is temperature-sensitive, which makes it an ideal solution for a wide variety of applications. Thermochromic ink disappears at a certain temperature and reappears when its original temperature has been restored. This ink type is available in 15°C, 31°C and 45°C. This is so that the ink can retain its security in more than one temperature. For example, a 15°C level ink stored in 31°C temperatures would disappear.

This type of ink is also available in a ‘permanent change’ variety. When it reaches its colour-changing temperature, it doesn’t revert to its original colour.

Secondary Fluorescing

This ink type will only reveal itself to have been tampered with when UV light is applied. It will also glow in the absence of light when it has been tampered with. This type of ink offers a second layer of protection. For example, secondary fluorescing ink may appear as neon green under UV light, but then show bright red if it’s been tampered with.

Biometric

The authenticity of a product can be verified using biometric ink. This ink type contains DNA tagging agents that can be read by a machine that determines its authenticity. They can also be tested for authenticity by applying a reading solvent. Biometric ink can contain a wide range of varying properties, which only increases the security of the items the ink is used on.

Magnetic

Like its optically variable counterpart, magnetic ink contains small flakes, but of the magnetic variety. Magnetic ink is primarily used for the purposes of numbering and sterilisation. The flakes are read by a machine to determine their number. The MICR numbering on a cheque is commonly printed with magnetic ink, and contains various information including cheque and account number and the bank’s sort code.

These inks can be found in and on many of the goods we use. They can also be chosen when you need to ensure that your products are authentic and/or safe for consumers to use.

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The Liner-less Label

The liner-less label is a modern marvel that has been around for three decades in various forms. With no backing material or wet glue, the liner-less label is no-peel and pressure sensitive, able to be applied by machine via stacks or rolls onto products from bottles to food, and can be used for security labels or to communicate product information.

The liner-less label is not attached to a release liner; instead, it has a release coating on its facing side. This coating is what protects the label from the adhesive located on the underside of the label located next to it in a stack or roll. The ingenious construction of the liner-less label allows it to be its own liner, essentially.

Benefits of the Liner-less Label

Because of its construction, this label weighs far less than conventional labels. As well, it is far easier to recycle than traditional labels, as there are no layers to separate and no non-recyclable parts. This is good news for the environment, as currently, over 300,000 tonnes of liner waste is produced each year in North America alone.

Because each label acts as its own liner, a stack or roll of labels can be printed at high speeds without the worry of any residue or glue gumming up the machinery, or any leftover scrap to eliminate. This helps to make printing virtually effortless.

Liner-less labels, because of their thickness allow for far more labels to be able to be applied on an individual roll. In fact, approximately 40% more liner-less labels can be placed on a roll when compared with other label types. As a result, less packaging is required which reduces the cost of shipping.

Printing companies love liner-less labels because they require fewer roll changeovers. Fewer changeovers mean less downtime and more jobs being able to be completed within a certain amount of time. Not only that, but the liner-less label is enjoying a lot of innovation in the UK, where the global market is most evolved.

Today’s version of the liner-less label is also penetrating new markets including convenience foods and fresh produce.

Disadvantages of the Liner-less Label

Whilst it’s difficult to imagine that such an innovative product could have any downsides, they do exist. One cannot help to ask why this label technology has not become the industry standard. This is due to the fact that once labels need to be cut, the technology becomes limited. Die-cutting labels when the labels have no liner to hold them in place can be difficult, as the label shape becomes limited. This leaves only square or rectangular shapes as options. Therefore, those looking for more elaborate labels cannot use the liner-less variety, and these individuals represent a large chunk of the market.

The application of these labels to products presents another disadvantage. Unless a company already has it, new machinery with which to apply the labels to products must be purchased. Although they have several advantages as far as speed, time and efficiency are concerned, some businesses will not see them as enough of an advantage to make the investment into the machinery. Of course, businesses not wanting or able to invest in new machinery can always contact a professional printing company for their liner-less labels.

Although this label type does have its drawbacks, the fact remains that it does hold much potential for business whose goal it is to save time and money. However, the technology may require some time to develop further before it can be considered a valuable, efficient and economical addition to businesses, both in the UK and around the world.

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The Printed Electronic Label

There are several kinds of security labels on the market today, and they all have their purpose, but a new type of security label is already making waves. Also known as the printed memory label, this new product was invented to protect the products that governments and businesses distribute.

The printed memory label not only stores information about a product’s condition and authenticity, but it can also collect information about how the labelled product was handled during the distribution process. Then, the information can be collected, viewed and used to increase the quality and security of products.

How the Printed Memory Label works

This high-security label uses rewritable memory. Currently, the label can contain up to 36 bits of memory capable of storing up to 68 billion points of data in as many combinations. This type of label, when placed on a product like a water filtering system, can alert the user when it’s time to change the filter. In the medical industry, the memory label can tell an equipment user whether all of the parts in a medical device are compliant.

The memory label is made by printing micro-circuits on a thin film plastic containing adhesive. The label is applied in the same way any adhesive label would be.

What Product Information Do Memory Labels Contain?

Businesses are using memory labels to protect their brand. This is because the labels contain formation about expiration dates, lot and geographic codes as well as serial numbers. All of this is information that can thwart attempts to counterfeit a business’s products.

Memory Labels vs. RFID and Silicon

Although RFID and Silicon represent two very secure means of label technology, the fact remains that they are also two of the more expensive measures available. As well, these and their hologram and invisible ink counterparts are able to be copied.

As well, because memory labels are printed, their cost to produce is significantly lower than it is to manufacture RFID tags, silicon labels or holographic images.

Finally, systems like RFID require the installation and implementation of a company-wide system so that products can be tracked as they move through various departments. Memory labels are self-contained and require no system to be implemented before a company can begin using them.

Additional Security

Memory labels are also available with a cryptographic feature. This feature enhances security by combining the printed memory with other security label forms like QR or bar codes. These codes, unique to each label are encrypted, readable only by a special reader. Authorised personnel use a secure smartphone application to read the information stored in the label.

Where Memory Labels can be used

The applications for which memory labels can be used are numerous. They can be used for the tracking of products across long distances. The pharmaceutical industry can use memory labels to ensure the safety and integrity of the products they manufacture and ship. Government agencies can use these labels to secure tax and duty stamps.

Basically, the memory labels allows for the integrity of most any product to be assured from the moment it leaves the factory or warehouse until the moment it reaches the customer. Even after a product reaches the customer, the label can collect information about how that product is being used.

Although this kind of security label has just recently gone into production – toward the end of 2015, to be exact – it is poised to create several changes in the way in which information is collected, stored and communicated to users. In the meantime, there are several types of security labelling available to businesses which offer various levels of security for virtually any product.

Successful Sheet Label Printing

Although the premise of printing A4 sheet labels may seem simple, there are a few potential areas where doing so involves much more than simply inserting your label sheets into your printer. The following tips can help you ensure that your sheet label printing is successful, regardless of when or how often you print.

Printer Ability

Whilst it may seem like a strange question, it’s important to know whether or not your printer is actually capable of printing your labels for you. You will find that every type of label is different. Not only that, but sometimes, only one or two types of label materials will work with a specific printer.

Label Temperature

Believe it or not, the temperature of your label sheets will make a difference to the print quality you get. Most inkjet labels are packaged in plastic bags before being boxed. Once you remove the bag with your labels, we recommend that they be left to sit for between 4 and 6 hours before being used for printing.

In allowing labels to reach room temperature, you can actually improve the print quality of your labels. When your labels are at room temperature, they will be much more likely to properly absorb the ink from printing. Non-paper labels, such as those made from polyester will only require one hour of sitting in their plastic bag.

Alignment and Feeding

Any time you plan to print a stack of labels at home, you’ll want to make sure they’re aligned properly. This can easily be achieved by simply knocking the stack’s edges on a flat surface.

When it’s time to actually feed the sheets into your printer, the trick is not to over-feed them. Doing so can cause sheets to jam, resulting in ink, time and money being wasted. Instead, test your printer’s capacity for numbers of sheets by using scrap paper of similar thickness to your label sheets.

You will find that the travel time of your labels from feed to finish tray can be drastically reduced by opting for the manual feed or bypass tray if your printer, if it has one of these. Doing this will also increase the accuracy of printing, another benefit.

Templates and Adjustments

Each type of label has its own printing template, which can make printing your labels effortless. However, you should be aware that the tolerance of your printer can affect the alignment of your labels, despite having a template. Where this is the case, the manual that came with your printer can give you some clues about printer tolerance.

If you find that printer tolerance is a problem, you can correct this by looking at the positioning of documents in your printer software. You will need to adjust the margins on all sides to fix this issue.

Don’t Commit Right Away

The most important thing to do before committing to printing all of the labels you need is to do a trial print. Printing only one or two sheets at the outset will help you to ensure that all of the elements of your labels are where they should be, and that everything prints within the margins of each individual label. And the other benefit is that it will give you the chance to proofread your labels and ensure that everything is spelled correctly.

After you print

Once your print run has finished, remember not to leave your blank labels out. In order to ensure the same quality of adhesion the next time you need them, any unused labels should be placed back into their plastic bag and stored at room temperature if possible.

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RFID System Options for Optimal Asset Management

When you need to ensure the security of your assets from beginning to end, as well as replace stock, RFID security labels can be the ideal solution. But there are many configurations within the RFID realm to choose from. And each will offer a different level of increased efficiency to your business. If your business already uses base measures for asset management such as manual data entry or bar codes, the addition of an RFID system can provide significant benefits.

The Barcode System

But before even that, a system consisting completely of bar codes can be a good way to get used to a system of any kind. Usually, this solution is used in conjunction with a mobile reader for the quick, accurate and simple identification of assets. The bar code system works because it allows personnel to know which assets have and have not been processed. As well, an historical record of assets can be kept with a bar code system, which is capable of storing notes about products.

Mobile Reader RFID Systems

RFID security labels able to be read by a mobile reader is the ideal next step for businesses who have traditionally employed an all barcode solution. There are several benefits to the mobile reader RFID system, not the least of which is the fact that assets can be identified faster.

Items can also be identified if they are located outside the line of sight of the reader, something which can offer varying amounts of benefit, depending on the individual needs of a business who has decided to employ this system.

When switching from an all barcode to mobile RFID solution, a business should be ready for the increased cost for the RFID tags. As well, some care must be taken with placing the large tags to ensure readability. You may also want to take care with surrounding materials which can interfere with the readability of RFID tags, as well as attempting to read tags through the walls of a building, as this can cause confusion as to the items which have and haven’t been read.

Passive Fixed Reader RFID Systems

The work required to identify assets can be drastically reduced with the implementation of a passive fixed reader RFID system. With this system, reading of assets occurs continuously and without any intervention from humans whatsoever.

These fixed-mount systems carry the same caveats as their mobile reader counterparts. As well, the cost of the fixed reader needs to be considered, as does where and how it will be mounted. The ability for the reader to maintain communication with the tags, as well as maintenance must also be taken into account.

Active Static Reader RFID Systems

These systems include RFID tags which are active. Like its passive fixed reader counterpart, this system also requires no human intervention. It is also capable of monitoring assets over large areas. Each tag in this kind of system has a lifespan of around five years, however, and this fact should be considered before implementing an active system. Network access is required for the tags to be read.

When considering which type of system to implement, it can help to remember that a combination of traditional systems with an RFID solution may offer the most efficiency. For example, where there are small items requiring tracking, a bar code system can be ideal. However, for larger items RFID systems can work best. In addition to this, it’s important to consider that RFID systems can be used both for tracking assets and for performing audits of inventory. Regardless of the system chosen, the best choice will be one that’s been well-researched.

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