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Special Focus

A Rose by Any Other Name

by Oliver Moesgen

November-December, 2002
The Difference Between Holograms and OVD’s

At present security issues are paramount in the eyes of the general public, as well as the international business community. Ever since the terrorist attacks against the U.S. last year the subject of security is on everyone’s mind. Newspapers, television and even the movies have concentrated on what went wrong and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. Relatively common identification documents now have become suspect and states have created laws to authenticate their existence.

Driving licenses, visas, passports as well as every form of financial document have been found too easy to duplicate. Counterfeiters perpetrate a loss of over 200 billion dollars (Source: International Anti Counterfeiting Coalition) to the business community yearly. Manufacturers have lost billions to knock-off’s, on brands that they have spent billions to build their identity. Ethical drugs are being targeted for fraud. CD’s, designer clothing, videos, all are targets for the counterfeiter.

The events of September 11 have created in the U.S. a greater sense of urgency over the need to secure identification documents as well as financial instruments such as banknotes. Sophisticated optical authentication devices (OVD’s) have been used for many years in high security and commercial security applications in Europe and Asia. The Kurz Group is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of OVD’s.

After 9/11 the search in the United States began in earnest for more secure methods of authentication and protection. One product that could provide the answer had been available all the time, the OVD’s manufactured by companies like Kurz.

The expression Optically Variable Device (OVD) has commonly been used for iridescent security features, that show various tilt effects, like kinematic effects and colour shifts. A hologram is an OVD, but an OVD is not necessarily always a hologram. Holograms are part of the OVD family and as such provided a level of security that was adequate until now. Unfortunately standard holography took a path, which was unfavourable for higher security applications. Holography has been compromised as security technology due to a world-wide selling of origination technology and embossing equipment . One can go to the Internet or a local library and find detailed descriptions on how to buy, or build holograms, or even counterfeit one. Just go to Google or one of the other search engines and see how many references there are.

If security is a major concern, proprietary technologies have to be considered combined with a security conscious handling and manufacturing philosophy. Such proprietary technologies are available from Kurz Transfer Products in the form of the KINEGRAM® and the TRUSTSEAL® products.

The KINEGRAM®, an OVD only supplied to governmental agencies and selected financial institutions, utilizes a patented technology based on diffractive optics. As the KINEGRAM is tilted about the vertical or horizontal axis, the image of that particular OVD changes as well. Effects include expansions, rotations, conversions and most importantly continuous effects, which are very easy to explain and check but immensely difficult to counterfeit or imitate. Especially engineered optical structures, embedded in it diffractive watermark, make it virtually impossible to copy or to imitate this technology.

Kurz has taken this patented technology and developed the TRUSTSEAL® for the brand protection industry. The TRUSTSEAL can be supplied as a hot stamp foil or as a tamper-evident label and is based on diffractive optics as well. Fully metallized, transparent or partially metallized, the TRUSTSEAL is more brilliant and offers a broader range of authentication levels than other available holograms. TRUSTSEAL is used specifically for the protection of consumer goods, cigarettes, CD’s, DVD’s, videos, pharmaceuticals, electronics, medical goods, liquors and over the counter drugs and all other commercially available goods which are counterfeited. The protection level can be adjusted to the brandowner’s needs by integrating unique security features such as, serial numbering, tamper evidence, nanotext, partial demetalization, hidden security devices and machine verification.

Holograms still represent an effective technology. If brand owners and document issuers, however, are sincerely worried about the exposure of their product to counterfeiting, then they have to realize that there are more effective and advanced security technologies available. That is where the most advanced and proprietary OVDs, such as the KINEGRAM and the TRUSTSEAL come into play. These products have allowed the brand owner and document provider to truly raise the barriers of protection and have enhanced the levels of security provided.

Oliver Moesgen, Sales and Marketing Manager/Security Products for Kurz Transfer Products can be contacted at (800) 950-3645.