Two firms have introduced technologies to combat counterfeit materials and track products after shipment.
Additives maker Ampacet Corp. of Tarrytown, N.Y., introduced molecular tracers that can be placed in masterbatches. The tracers, used in rigid and flexible packaging, can be detected in laboratories that authenticate products, market manager Richard Novomesky said at East Pack 2005, held June 13-15 in New York.
``We're seeing more problems with a lot of counterfeit materials, especially overseas,'' Novomesky said. ``It's difficult to trace and identify a product. This is technology we've had, but [it] has never been used in packaging before. It provides a level of security.''
Carclo Technical Plastics, a British injection molder that has five U.S. facilities, has introduced an inkjet technology that uses conductive metals to print radio-frequency-identification tags on vehicles, consumer products and other packaging, said Carclo marketing manager Robert Stutzman.
``We're using the inkjet heads not to print conductive inks, but to print conductive metals on a [plastic] housing,'' Stutzman said. The process can be done in-line during injection molding.
Carclo's technology was developed with joint venture partner Xennia Technology Ltd., a maker of inkjet printers in Royston, England. Carclo has started printing metals, primarily copper, onto PET, polyester, polycarbonate and other substrates.
The products are being made at Carclo's plant in Slough, England. Carclo plans to make them at its U.S. locations. Carclo has a molding plant in Leland, N.C., and two sites each in Latrobe, Pa., and Tucson, Ariz. Carclo also opened a plant in Shanghai, China, and completed construction of its second facility in the Czech Republic.
The publicly held company, based in Wakefield, England, recorded about $212.3 million in sales last year. The firm molds products for optical media, medical, electronics and automotive applications, said Stutzman, who is based at Carclo's U.S. headquarters in Latrobe.
One of Carclo's applications has been the placement of print antennae on the internal housings of cellular phones. Other applications include printed circuitry, batteries and fuel cells, and shielding for electronics. Carclo may license the technology.
Ampacet wants to use its own colorants and additives to help track products. Molecular tracers resembling pellets or concentrates can be added to those materials in a masterbatch, blending with virtually any type of color concentration, Novomesky said. The tracers can identify either a counterfeit product or a package's ingredients. Standard analytical kits used in quality labs can identify the tracers.
Ampacet also has started a database of pigments, additives and resins that can be used to reduce taste and odor in water bottles, Novomesky said. The firm also has a new anti-blocking agent that can be added to linear low density polyethylene to eliminate film haze.