Two and a half billion dollars is the amount estimated by a report commissioned by the International Trademark Association (INTA) and by the International Chamber of Commerce derived from counterfeit goods on the market.
We have all been a victim at least once, maybe paying hundreds of Euros for a product only to discover that it was not made by the brand written on the label, or buying organic food to then realize that it really came from large industrial production.
Therefore, economically, counterfeiting has a devastating effect on the manufacturing companies but also on the consumers who have been deceived.
Fortunately, alongside the development of increasingly imaginative counterfeit methods, there has also been enormous technological development that allows us to solve the problem by tracing products on the market, or rather providing them with a unique, distinctive trait that distinguishes them from copies and counterfeits.
There are many methods for traceability, including laser marking with a 2D code, which is mainly made by means of laser marking.
Let’s analyze the unique specific features of this device, comparing them with the common ones of the diode lasers o lamps.
Laser marking is the ideal tool for applying what we call a recognition code to products. This code can contain a variety of information, from simple identification to more complex data.
A major benefit of this process is that of marked data dynamism: with an automated process, we are able to constantly monitor data and acquire the information necessary to implement production or make changes necessary for the next phase.
Laser marking is versatile. It can be applied to any material, from metal to plastics, without compromising them in any way. A specific laser is used for each application, and the most widespread today is the fiber laser.
Thanks to the small size of its spot, or rather the diameter of the beam, this laser can also mark parts of products that are difficult to reach, half-hidden or tiny.
This allows us to mark very small recognition codes and, as a result, avoid compromising the design or aesthetics of the finished product.
Last but not least, laser marking allows for significant cost reductions, as it does not require maintenance costs or costs for waste material disposal.
Traceability is now an essential tool, especially in the Automotive sector, where more and more companies rely on laser marking for their components. In this way, companies are able to verify and monitor every production process and trace the origin of the parts in case they are stolen, falsified or damaged.
In conclusion, we can say that there are numerous advantages of laser marking against counterfeiting: from speed to safety, up to very high productivity, both in terms of efficacy and efficiency.
Another interesting story occurred in California. In the city of Sacramento, the National Assembly approved a law obliging all manufacturers of semi-automatic guns to mark the brand, model and serial number on them. This makes the product highly recognizable, which is useful to the police to resolve cases of armed crime much more quickly compared to the past.
Gillardeau is a well-known producer of French oysters. Given the priceless value of its product, the company decided to use a laser to mark their shells. This choice was motivated by the fact that laser marking does not damage the material involved in any way and, despite this, it is able to withstand the corrosive power of sea water, which would compromise another type of identification. Gillardeau therefore chose laser marking to prevent counterfeiting and to preserve the quality of its oysters.
Also in the USA, a very interesting passport project is under development. A laser marking was used for individual recognition, punched on the document alongside the number and the printed text. This makes the use of false documents and counterfeiting impossible, since any modified or duplicated passport will not have holes with the same alignment and sequence as the original.
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