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Advanced Technologies Take Aim at Counterfeiters

SpecialChem / Sep 8, 2004

Counterfeiting is a growing concern for producers of fabricated plastic products that range from drug packaging, medical devices and sporting goods to electronic, automotive and aerospace components. Counterfeiting causes monetary losses for manufacturers of the genuine articles, erodes consumer confidence in well-established brands, increases product liability and warranty costs, and sometimes harms individuals who purchase the bogus products. To combat the problem of counterfeiting, producers of plastic products and the resins that go into them are enlisting a handful of authentication technologies. These include the use of micro-particle tags, identifying pigments and dyes, radiofrequency identification tags, holographic label designs, and laser marking systems that inscribe indelible bar-codes. Microscopic marker tags were originally developed to help trace explosives in cases of terrorism, but they are now finding wide use in tracking and identifying plastics. The tags, which are typically polymeric particles with uniquely identifying color-stripe patterns or proprietary chemical compositions, can be compounded into thermoplastics before they are molded.

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