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Counterfeiting menace – 2

Counterfeiting menace 
on printed documents
Written by : N.R. Jayaraman

This article spread over to three or four parts discuss the
 nature of security features found on the security documents
 and other commercial documents of various kinds. 


1) The security documents such as Banknotes, stamp papers, bonds and passports are produced with certain overt and covert security features. The Paper used for production of such documents include invisible and visible Watermark embedded on 100 % rag content paper. The paper is produced from cotton pulp which gives it a better durability. Such a paper is not commercially available as the manufacturing cost is very high and the chemical mix   is unique and has secret formula. The 100 % rag content paper gives the notes distinctive feel and click of sound when compared to that of a counterfeit note.
While the 100 % rag content paper with overt or covert watermark is used only on security documents such as Banknotes, stamp papers, and bonds of various nature, such a paper is not found useful for printing on on the inner pamphlets of the  consumer and Pharmaceutical products, the brand protection labels, or on the cartons used for packing such products. The reason being the high cost of producing such a paper  which is commercially not available and also the labels pasted on the packs of the products can not be viewed against light to see the watermark.  Again the outer cartons being very thick, this feature can not be used. This is one basic difference found between the two varieties of print material.
The all important security feature i.e water mark include 3D design, electrolytic, coated and digital watermarks etc. The watermarks include artificially printed watermarks on the front and back and embedded true watermarks which cannot be copied or scanned with any known technology or apparatus.
2)  Next to the watermarks the paper used on the security documents have embedded security threads which may be partially embedded or windowed threads with or without holographic feature such as color-shifting thread. Though this feature can be used on the print material like inner leaflets of the very high value mass selling products, due to the high cost factor of threading they are also not used.
3) The quality of Watermarked paper used for producing banknotes, currencies, passports, stamp papers etc. are all optically dull (copier and ink jet papers are optically bright) which do not fluoresce under U.V. light. If they fluoresce, they will interfere with true color printed thus showing different shade.   This feature is also generally not seen on the print material of the consumer products and brand protection labels as they are printed on varieties of paper to enhance the appearance.
4) To enhance the security of paper some of them  are also manufactured with Colored fluorescent fibers , toner fusion coating on the front of the paper (this feature prevents toner from being lifted off the paper after a cheque has gone through the laser printer), magnetic fibers etc. This feature is also generally not seen on the print material of the consumer products and brand protection labels.
5)  Some group of  Paper used for printing the security documents are also custom manufactured with a hidden message in text form, pantograph designs, and on specially tinted Paper which prevents forgery by revealing white areas if erased. Some other group of paper meant for the security documents are also manufactured with an embedded hologram as security feature. 
Holograms are created when a laser is illuminated on an actual 3D object or flat artwork. The resulting process of optical interference creates a pattern of fine lines that directly relate to the illuminated object. The scattering of light in a controlled manner and into a rainbow of colors create unique, colorful, 3D images.   Similarly the consumer product and brand protection labels too have holographic feature on their outer covers coupled with hidden text message readable with special gadgets, pantograph designs etc.
6) While hidden message in text form, pantograph designs and holograms are used  on consumer products and brand protection labels, the specially tinted Paper is not generally found used on them even though specially patented shades of inks are used for printing the cartons and labels. Such shades are not made available to others. This is an important aspect to be noted. 
7) In respect of design , the features include invisible prints, intricate dry offset printed images, micro lettering, see through images, fluorescent image prints, intaglio printed latent images, OVI called Optically Variable Inks which is Color-shifting ink that display two particular colors depending on the viewing angle, for example, gold to green. This effect cannot be reproduced by color copiers, high resolution scanner or conventional printing methods as it is normally printed by Intaglio process that gives relief effect. OVIs offer excellent overt security protection as they are easily verified under normal viewing conditions without the use of any special equipment.
These highly sophisticated inks have a complicated production process and are therefore offered by very few security providers. They are ideal for banknote, high security and identity document protection.
While the relief images of OVI printed by Intaglio process is not generally found on the inner pamphlets of the  consumer and Pharmaceutical products, the brand protection labels,  or on the cartons used for packing such products a replica of the color shifting inks printed by Offset, Flexography or Screen print are sometimes seen on some. The reason again being high cost of printing Intaglio inks. 
8)  OVD meaning  Optically Variable Device patches reveal an array of different visual effects as the device is moved with respect to the observer. Kinematic effects (movement) and color changing are typical examples of such features. A key feature of OVD  is that they cannot be copied by color copiers or scanners. They also require a high level of expertise, and costly and complex equipment for origination and manufacture. For these reasons they have become a popular security feature.  OVD is used on some of the consumer and Pharmaceutical products besides the brand protection labels .
9) Intaglio printing is the most preferred method of printing for high security documents as the printing process itself is very costly and needs complicated process to prepare the plates for printing. Designs are printed from a hand-engraved or etched steel plates. The recessed areas on the plates are filled with very stout ink which is transferred to the paper under extremely high pressure. This creates a three-dimensional quality due to the different thicknesses of ink.  The inks used in Security printing are prepared from specially drawn formulas and offer a certain amount of security in themselves, being commercially unavailable to the counterfeiters. Intaglio process is not generally found on the pamphlets of the  consumer and Pharmaceutical products, the brand protection labels, or on the cartons used for packing.
………… be continued

About The Author


Retired Govt of India Official. My hobby is to write articles that range from Printing technologies to Spiritual.

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