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Dazzling protection - new holographic materials for packaging

Packaging Professional magazine
17 Jul 2011
Gillette razor

Dr Glenn Wood of the International Hologram
Manufacturers Association looks at some of
the latest developments in holographic
materials, including one with eye-catching
appeal and another putting the seal on
effective anti-counterfeiting.

A new holographic technology for
packaging applications called Cast
& Cure gives brand owners another
decorative option to make sure their
products catch the eye of consumers
browsing the supermarket shelves. It can
also offer huge savings over the use of
conventional holographic laminates – up to
five times more.

The technology, supplied by USA-based
Breit Technologies but originating from
Foiltone, Leyland, UK, is a decorative
coating process that integrates ‘casting’
and ‘curing’ techniques to form a
consistent, high-quality surface that can
include ultra high gloss, matte and
holographic finishes on a variety of
substrates. A UV-curable resin is applied
to the substrate and the holographic relief
pattern is pressed into this from a reel of
holographic film. The resin is cured
under UV light while in contact with the
holographic film, which is then detached
and rewound.

The process also claims environmentally
sound attributes through the use of
ultraviolet inks and coatings that not only
ensure there are no undesirable and
harmful volatile organic compounds,
but also helps recyclability by eliminating
the laminated metallised films used
in traditional holographic processes.
The most significant benefit, however,
is that this is all achieved at a fraction of
traditional costs.

Marketing and design

As more packaging designers and
suppliers realise the benefits of incorporating
product branding with anticounterfeiting
and authentication, the
potential for applications in the decorative
print market is beginning to emerge.
Global brand leader Proctor & Gamble,
headquartered in Cincinnati, USA, for
example, has made an eye-catching
feature of the vertical holographic
rainbow lines on the packaging of its
Gillette Proglide Fusion Power razor and
cartridge boxes, launched at the beginning
of the year.

Among the many leading consumer brands using Cast & Cure as an integral
part of their brand strategy are Blackberry
(for its mobile phone accessories),
Valvoline motor oil, Hallmark greeting
cards, Prilosec OTC heartburn medication
and probiotic health supplement Align. The
Colgate, Crest and Aquafresh toothpaste
brands from Colgate Palmolive have also
embraced the technology, while the dust
jackets of books written by such popular
authors as Steven King, Mary Higgins
Clark and Mary Jane Clark have used
holographic technology for maximum
reader appeal.

Yiming Holotech in China has developed
a highly efficient system of eight-colour
printing and holographic embossing,
which produces a high quality seamless
PET holographic lamination film at a
rate that makes it cost effective for a
broad range of tobacco, drink, medical,
cosmetic packaging applications as well as
stationery products.

Brand protection

Holography is also pushing the boundaries
in other areas of packaging, specifically in
expanding the range of anti-counterfeiting
and brand protection applications.
The technology’s ability to incorporate
other data forms and product tracking
information is becoming increasingly
important, and commercially acceptable,
with the added bonus of being able to link
on-pack product identification with supply
chain management, market enforcement
and forensic support services.

A brand protection system for Japan-based
OKI Data Corporation, for instance,
uses Lippmann photopolymer holograms
combined with a tracking code. This
interesting development provides a high
degree of packaging authenticity and can
be used as a measure against counterfeit
ink ribbons and toner cartridges (millions of
fake toners and inks are seized annually in
a sector where the major suppliers
lost almost US$2bln in 2003 to the
counterfeiters, according to an ISC report).

The move is claimed to be the world’s
first system combining a product control
authentication system (PCAS) from TUV
Rheinland, headquartered in Cologne,
Germany, and a Lippmann hologram from
printing company Dai Nippon Co Ltd,
Tokyo, Japan, that use special materials
and manufacturing processes to make
them extremely difficult to counterfeit.

Product authenticity is improved
because of the inclusion of the security
device on a self adhesive label that also
acts as the carton seal, while the PCAS
number can be entered onto a new
web-based service, managed by OKI, as
its authenticity assessment web page. The
PCAS number uses a randomly generated
13-digit alphanumeric code, which is
encrypted to produce an ID code unique
to each labelled item.

Security features

Another innovation emanating from China
is that security features can also be
incorporated into the holographic effects –
they need not be purely decorative.

For example, the Hongyun-Honghe
Tobacco Group in Yunnan, China, has
embraced holographic technology for
many of the tobacco products it manufactures. The packs of some
cigarette products, including One Pen
of Qingdao Cigarette Factory and Liqun
of Hangzhou Cigarette Factory, have full
space holographic laser designs or
sectional laser designs, while the Yun Yan
packaging contains micro text that can be
seen with a powerful hand lens.

So, with improving technology, the
hologram will continue to evolve as
packaging designers become ever more
comfortable with it and continue to see
the benefits.

Further information

The International Hologram
Manufacturers Association (IHMA) is
made up of more than 90 of the world’s
leading hologram companies.
IHMA, 4 Windmill Business Village,
Brooklands Road, Sunbury, TW16 7DY,
UK Tel: +44 (0) 1932 785680