Published in early March 2003, this report provides a review of the range of substrates that are used in security applications, including paper, plastics, glass and metal and is particularly targeted towards product development managers, material scientists and brand packaging specialists concerned with the integration of security features into packaging, labels and documents.
A security substrate constitutes the starting point of virtually all anti-piracy systems. Today, the most widespread security substrate is paper where it is employed under a variety of guises such as documents, box board and packaging. Plastic films were initially developed to protect printed information and similar technology is used to produce plastic security products such as threads and tear tapes in their own right. More recently there has been a realisation that branded products are at risk from counterfeiters. This has resulted in the development of other secure substrates such as glass and metal that will form the basis of a new generation of security packaging control.
This report provides an overview of these features and discusses how secure substrates have become more intricate and sophisticated in order to meet the diverse needs of the end users.
The properties of a security substrate may differ markedly from those used to manufacture conventional documents, packaging and board. Therefore, the selection of the most appropriate material is essential. The “Security Substrate” report provides sufficient information about substrate manufacture, security features and applications to become an appropriate reference tool for everyone with an interest in security technology.
In each of the substrate categories within the report there are examples of both former and current applications. Security substrate development is an on-going process. Materials that were initially hard to manufacture and of limited availability a few years ago, may be in common use today and therefore their security value has diminished. As a result, the development of new substrates and their derivatives is essential to keep ahead of the criminals looking to reproduce security documents and branded products.
A security substrate constitutes the starting point of virtually all anti-piracy systems. It needs to demonstrate a variety of properties:
- It must be compatible with the product or application in which it will be used.
- It provides the basis to which other security features are attached and therefore should not interfere with their performance.
- The substrate should ideally be difficult to manufacture by commercially available techniques or should consist of materials that are of limited or controlled availability.
- The substrate must be manufactured consistently over a protracted time period to ensure availability for the lifetime of the product that is being protected.