How was 2004 for you? For the industry as a whole, reviewing the developments that we covered last year in Holography News, we can conclude that it was a good year for most, with many positive developments that set the scene for 2005 and beyond, but with sufficient clouds on the horizon to prevent any complacency.
In terms of markets, in the high security arena the growth of holograms on banknotes continues apace (see page 3) and this will continue to be key market notwithstanding the recent news that the new $100 and other denominations will not, in all likelihood, include a holographic feature. In other high security markets, passports took something of a back seat, for holograms at least – not because of technology concerns but because of the current pre-occupation with biometrics. But elsewhere in document protection, AAMVA’s specification of holograms on all US driving licences was a significant boost for the industry, while the tax stamp market continues provide significant high volume opportunities for suppliers. There were few major developments in brand protection – although the use of holograms as the prime authentication feature on a new labelling program for pharmaceutical products in Malaysia, and the Olympics 2004 merchandising program demonstrated the continuing success of holograms in these areas. On the downside, the FDA’s controversial decision to adopt RFID-based track and trace as the solution to product safety and supply chain management for pharmaceuticals in the US could have unwelcome consequences for the industry should drug regulatory authorities elsewhere in the world follow its example. In packaging, meanwhile, as the Stock watch article in this issue (see page 6) points out, it is barely possible to go out nowadays without seeing holography embellishing shop shelves on all manner of goods from luxury high end to everyday items. Innovation and Development On the technology front, holography continued to demonstrate its inherent capacity for innovation and development. The integration of holograms with other technologies for enhanced security and functionality continued apace – examples including Schreiner’s KeySecure technology, Securikett’s Authentikett labels, combined hologram/DNA/RFID labels from ADNAS and Holomex and enhancements to teas scribos’ Holospot system (see page 8) to name but a few. In the banknote market, De La Rue, Louisenthal and Kurz all launched new security features during 2004 based on combinations of substrate, thread and foil technology. In terms of production, Newmec and Gidue both entered the market with foil applications systems, General Vacuum launched its new compact metalliser while Spatial Imaging’s new Lightspeed digital hologram printer marked the beginning of new era in large format hologram origination. Aside from the developments in the ‘conventional’ market for authentication and decorative devices, holography is also beginning to demonstrate its potential for use as a tool as well as a feature. Examples of this potential include Smart Holograms’ development of reflection holograms as medical diagnostic devices and holographic data storage systems from Optware. Publicly-listed companies were covered in detail in the December issue of Holography News. But there was news from many other quarters as well, including the expansion plans announced by ABNH, ITW Covid, AFC and Holoshape, and AET Films’ move into wide embossing on the packaging front. Louisenthal, a major player in the banknote industry, revealed that it now offers full-scale hologram production, including origination, while its former strategic partner in foils, Hueck Folien, joined the ranks of banknote suppliers with its first order for stripes for the Thai currency, signalling a potentially significant new entrant to the market. Its arrival was partially offset by AOT’s decision to abandon banknote foils, while the bankruptcy of another high security supplier, Mantegazza, was staved off by its acquisition by Italian security papermaker Fabriano. Outside of the traditional industry centres of Western Europe and North America, the Far East, India and Eastern Europe and the CIS countries continue to play an increasingly important role – not just as markets for western companies but as major centres of development in their own right. Russia, a hotbed of scientific innovation, held its first regional conference this year; the commitment amongst Indian companies to quality and industry standards is an inspiration to us all, while all eyes are currently on China, the location for the 2005 Holo-packâ€¢Holo-print which will provide the first opportunity for many western hologram companies to witness the strength and scope of this massive market. 2004’s Downside So much for the positive. On the downside, RFID continues to position itself, and be viewed in some quarters, as the ‘silver bullet’ antidote to counterfeiting and diversion, new technologies such as Nanoventions claim their superiority over diffractive features and high quality counterfeit holograms have been discovered on currency – notably the euro. The latter, in particular, is leading to a perceptible sense of disenchantment with holograms in terms of their claimed security benefits, technology proliferation and lax standards amongst suppliers. This topic has been covered exhaustively in recent issues of Holography News and was one of the main topics for discussion at the recent Holo-packâ€¢Holo-print conference in Prague, a positive outcome of which was the openness of debate and willingness amongst industry participants to work collectively to address the real issues that are causing concern and counter the misperceptions behind them. All in all, not a bad year for the industry. Provided the concerns leading to disenchantment in some sectors continues to be recognised and addressed with appropriate measures, and provided hologram companies continue to invest in the new products and techniques that form the lifeblood and future of this industry, 2005 could be even better.
In his Chairman’s report to the Annual General Meeting of the International Hologram Manufacturers’ Association, Hugues Souparis identified the launch of the Secure Hologram Producer Certification Scheme as a watershed for the Association (se HN Vol 18 No 3). This Scheme, run in co-operation with Intergraf, should make a significant contribution to improving procedures in the secure hologram field, and help to raise customer awareness of the need to source secure holograms from a qualified secure producer. Souparis’ company, Hologram Industries, was the first to be certified, but several others have now applied. Another important development during the year had been the negotiations with the Hologram Manufacturers’ Association of India (HoMAI), aimed at building a strong relationship between the two associations and serving as a model for the IHMA’s relationship with other regional or national hologram associations. An important part of the planned relationship was that the IHMA’s Hologram Image Register and HoMAI’s Hologram Registry would be linked so that all searches for a hologram match on either database would cover both databases, improving the likelihood of identifying matches which resulted from attempts to source illicit copies of a hologram already in use. He reported that Despite the news that the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing is casting its net wider for security features (see page 1), banknotes continue to be a good market for the holography industry. A number of new banknotes have been introduced during 2004, including two major currencies – the new Canadian dollar series which features a stripe and the two higher denominations of the newly-designed Japanese yen, each with a patch. Kurz was the supplier for both, the latter understood to be the largest single hologram order for banknotes in the industry. Other currencies that have introduced holograms to all or most of their the Board was in discussion with the China AntiCounterfeiting Technology Association (CATA) with a view to CATA establishing a hologram section, and that the IHMA was also in preliminary discussions with Russian producers interested in an industry organisation there. Souparis also reminded members of IHMA’s links with Interpol and other international and national police organisations, saying that he hoped to build on these contacts in the coming year. New Board Members In the elections at the AGM, Souparis was re-elected Chairman – a post he can hold for another two years. Wilfried Schipper (Hologram Company Rako) was elected as the European representative on the Board, with Alkis Lembessis (Cavomit and Taurus) as his deputy; Umendra Gupta (Holostik India) was re-elected as Asian representative, with Khalid Khanani (Metatex) as deputy. Randy James (Pacific
Holographics) was elected as deputy North American representative and since the AGM the Board has co-opted John Halotek (ITW Covid) as the North American representative, there being no accepted nomination at the meeting. Alex Goncharsky (Computer Holography Centre, Moscow) and Ken Traub (ABNH) remain on the board for a second and fourth year respectively.
In addition to the objectives above, a key task for the IHMA in 2005 and thereafter will be to promote the positive benefits of holograms, particularly as authentication devices, as a counter to disenchantment with the technology in certain quarters, notably some parts of the high security sector. A proactive PR campaign, a greater presence at industry conferences, an improved website as a communications tool both for members and users, and a drive to increase the membership and the visibility of the IHMA are all currently underway. The hologram industry is one of the few in the authentication sector to have its own association and the IHMA is committed to building on this position and the strengths that a collective voice can provide for hologram companies.
General Vacuum, manufacturer of vacuum metallising equipment, unveiled further details of its new compact Holosecâ„¢ metalliser (see HN Vol 18 No 2) at the recent Holo-packâ€¢Holo-print conference in Prague.
Vacuum metallisers have until now been supplied with production widths of 800-3000m, limiting their use both financially and for production purposes among small and narrow-web hologram producers and forcing these to buy in their film and foil pre-metallised from wide web suppliers. The Holosec was designed to fill this niche and enable narrow-web producers to bring metallising in-house, thereby increasing their security of production and enabling them to take advantage of the specialised treatments the system offers. The Holosec combines the vacuum chamber, unwind and rewind units, plasma pre-treatment, demetallization and evaporation source within one compact unit with a footprint of 2m x 3m. In addition to the conventional aluminium used for holographic films and foils, it can coat silicon oxide, chrome, silver and copper and zinc sulphide for high refractive index films. It also offers pattern demetallisation with in-line registration and plasma pre-treatment that enhances the surface energy of the films to improve adhesion and hence quality. The run rate varies from 10m to a maximum of 200m per minute. General Vacuum, formerly Valmet and now part of the Bobst Group, declined to give prices for the Holosec, stating that these depend on specification. But it can assumed that they will be considerably lower than the prices for wide web systems. When questioned at Holopack.â€¢ Holo-print about the risks of spreading low-cost secure hologram production technology in the market, Dr Nadir Ahmed, who gave the presentation on behalf of his former company, commented that the company would check the legitimacy of customers before supply. To date, two machines have been sold with other orders in the pipeline for early 2005.
Contact: Andy Jack, General Vacuum
Equipment. Tel: +44 1706 622442;
[email protected]/* */
Menzel, a German company specialising in machinery for finishing and inspection machines for textiles, expanded into similar equipment for the plastic films industry in the late 1960s, and at Holopackâ€¢ Holo-print exhibited a machine vision system for control of web handling machines for holographic films. The system keeps web lines in register to improve the accuracy and quality of slitting, winding/re-winding, stamping and other hologram finishing processes. Based on the company’s experience building textile and film web guiding systems, the hologram guiding system can be set to read the edge of the hologram film or a specific part of the pattern in the hologram – the camera scans across the width of the film to record the edge position, the registration mark position or the position of a specified image element. Once programmed, it feeds the image data to a sensor and a controller, which in turn adjusts the web guides to maintain the position of the web.
The Menzel vision system for holographic film costs around â‚¬17- 20,000, depending on the configuration required.
The third edition of the reference book Optical Document Security is now available from publishers Artech House. Written by Rudolf van Renesse, an expert in the field and editor and co-author of the two previous editions (published in 1994 and 1998 respectively), the book provides a comprehensive and cohesive treatment of all aspects of optical document security, according to its
The book’s contents have been substantially updated and revised from the previous edition, and expanded to include coverage of additional security features and evaluation. The introduction on the theory of colours is followed by chapters on light interference and diffraction, substrate-based security, printing inks and printing techniques, printed security patterns (including screen decoded images and digital watermarks), diffractive- and interference-based security features, security design and evaluation and an introduction to biometrics. The emphasis is on both the physics of security features and their value in resisting counterfeiting, while the chapter evaluating security design looks at the human factors of first line document inspection.
The book’s 350 pages contain over 270 black and white illustrations, including live security documents, and an appendix with samples of important security features. In addition, a CD-ROM is included which contains all illustrations of the book in full-colour. Author Rudolf van Renesse was senior research engineer in the Optics Department of TNO Institute of Applied Physics in The Netherlands and is now
an independent consultant on document security for government departments and banking and financial institutions. He has extensive experience in the areas of holography, optical inspection techniques, and the theory of colors and document security, and is the author of more than 80 publications in these areas, as well as a contributor to Holography News and its sister publications Authentication News and Currency News. Optical Document Security is available at the discounted price £72/$118 from Artech House –
We feel for Nick Hardy and Valerie Love of OpGraphics, the British company that has listed its DuPont photopolymer hologram production equipment for sale on eBay. Op has been producing display holograms for the gift and promotional trade since 1983, originally on Agfa silver halide films, then in the 1990s Nick Hardy started working with DuPont’s holographic photopolymer, partly
because Agfa ceased production of its holographic films, partly because the photopolymer reflection holograms had lower noise and were more light efficient. Unfortunately, when DuPont Authentication Systems was established as a joint venture with Label Systems Inc, the company decided to restrict the distribution of its unexposed photopolymer film to authorised security hologram producers. Op were among the hologram producers which were given notice of a cessation of supply. They tried to fight this under competition law in the UK, but despite their significant investment in DuPont’s production equipment and the time to perfect their processes, this was to no avail. The result: holographic production kit being offered on eBay.
The timing could not be more poignant as there appears to be an upsurge of interest in photopolymer holograms – could 2005 be the year of photopolymer? The year has started well for DAS with NASCAR’s announcement of its licensed product authentication label, a numbered photopolymer reflection hologram (see page 4). To date, the North American sports licensing authentication projects have been dominated by embossed holograms. NASCAR (the most popular motor sport organisation in North America) may not rival the big national sporting leagues in popularity, but big race meetings such as Daytona and Indianapolis attract large crowds of eager souvenir hunters. Last year, DAS released its izonâ„¢ advanced photopolymer holograms, offering instant holo portraits on the film, making it particularly suitable for ID documents. And across the Pacific, Dai Nippon and Nippon Paint Co announced that Teikoku Piston Ring Co had become the first major customer for authentication holograms on Secure Imageâ„¢ hot-stampable photopolymer. So photopolymer is making progress in the brand protection market, perhaps winning projects that embossed hologram producers might have expected to supply. Two announcements do not make a fully-fledged market, but do represent progress. Coming Full Circle
And now, coming full circle, Liti Holographics has announced that it is shipping a new instant holographic film suitable for reflection holograms for the home and hobby market (see page 3). Meanwhile, silver halide display holograms remain a force in the marketplace. Slavich continues to find a market in Russia and beyond for its silver halide plates and films, and Colour Holographics, which took over the production and supply of HRT holographic plates, finds a steady if not spectacular market. The company is finding a ready market for its own large format co lour holograms, while other silver halide display hologram producers remain in steady production. The availability of compact LED lights which illuminate holograms at a very high quality, and the improved recognition by holographers that they have to deliver a complete, lit and framed installation, is boosting the readiness of display artists and interior designers to consider display holograms as a medium. As one who first got involved in holography because of the excitement of such 3D images, it is reassuring and somewhat surprising to see the continuing interest in full parallax holograms, complementing and supplementing the large volume market of embossed holograms.
Liti Holographics, which offers low cost portrait hologram kits selling for $99 (see HN Vol 18, No 9), has launched a new hologram film. According to the company, this film has all the ‘instant hologram’ qualities of its previous film but is now capable of making reflection as well as transmission holograms. The new film is red-sensitive, making it compatible with both the Litiholo and other hologram kits, as well as red laser diodes and even helium neon lasers.
NAFDAC, the Nigerian Food & Drugs Agency, has introduced a new certificate to be issued to authorised imported and domestically produced pharmaceuticals. The new certificate is being produced by a security printer in the UK and includes a hologram among its security features. This follows participation by Dr Dora Akunyili, Director of NAFDAC in the first Global Forum on Pharmaceutical AntiCounterfeiting, where she made contact with possible suppliers among the exhibitors.
At the time of writing, the 2nd Global Forum on Pharmaceutical AntiCounterfeiting has just finished in Paris, organised by Holography News’ publisher, Reconnaissance International. One of the themes to emerge during the course of the 21/2 day meeting was the importance of authentication of genuine products as part of the system to combat counterfeit medicines, heard from speakers from national drug regulatory agencies and from pharmaceutical manufacturers. Several of the speakers implied, but Dr Thomas Zimmer of Boehringer Ingelheim explicitly stated, that the ideal authentication device for pharmaceuticals is not yet available. As Dr Zimmer was speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the Anti-Counterfeit Group of the European Federation of the Pharmaceutical Industry Associations (EFPIA), his observations must be taken seriously by suppliers – or aspiring suppliers – of authentication products to the pharmaceutical sector.
To date holograms have been the leading device used for overt authentication on pharmaceuticals, so the claim that the ideal device is not yet available can only be interpreted as a
challenge to hologram suppliers. Either holograms have failed to deliver what the pharma sector requires or hologram manufacturers have not succeeded in persuading their customers to use all the levels of security that a hologram can offer; that is first, second and third levels – overt, covert and machine read. To implement covert and machine read requires additional investment by customers in training, reading tools and – for machine read – infrastructure.
The pharmaceutical sector is ideal for the introduction of such an infrastructure. Another call at the Global Forum was for increased harmonisation of authentication and inspection systems. In a sector which is as regulated and as controlled as this one, where all medicines (at least, the legitimate ones) are distributed through a controlled system in a willing partnership between manufacturers, distributors, retailers and governments, training and equipping those who handle the goods to examine the authentication device should be feasible. As should the introduction of a machine-read infrastructure, assuming that there is commonality of what is to be read. The call for greater harmonisation results from the heterogeneity in the sector at present, which makes inpsection and examination a harder task for all involved.
At present each hologram supplier offers its own proprietary method of encoding and reading hidden data. It is impractical for a warehouse or pharmacist to be equipped with numerous hologram reading systems, each one required to read the differently encoded information on the holograms from each of the many manufacturers whose medicines they provide. Equally, government inspectors are not able to carry around numerous handheld devices. But as the well-established precedent of credit cards and bar-codes shows, distributors and retailers will equip themselves to read standardised codes if the equipment footprint, cost and training required is minimal and the compatibility is maximal.
Can the hologram industry achieve this for the pharmaceutical sector? That is to say, will the hologram industry recognise that here is a cause where collaboration on the adoption of a common approach to encoding and decoding could offer the industry the opportunity to capture that market for many years to come? Because once established, any competing technique has not just to prove itself superior, but must also overcome the inevitable reluctance of a whole sector to change the way it does things.
The hologram industry starts with a huge advantage because holograms have an established customer base in the Pharma sector. And holograms are perceived by the public as a mark of authentication – the public may not know how to examine a hologram but its presence gives a level of comfort. Yet if the industry takes no coherent action to work together, it will squander this advantage. The Pharma sector (manufacturers, regulators, even patients’ groups) is making a case for the ideal authentication device, without perhaps realising that what is actually needed is an authentication system. That system could be built around holograms – but it could alternatively be built around other types of device. There are many alternatives all seeking to usurp holograms from their number one spot. Recently, RFID has made the running, in lobbying and PR terms at least, but other technologies – taggants, magnetics, complex bar-codes and others – are all looking for their ‘killer application’ and see the pharma sector as ripe for their efforts. The pharma sector is giving mixed signals about the use of holograms. On one side, Pfizer, in its current generation of product authentication, is currently using colour shift inks instead of holograms as the basis for its solution; on the positive side, Malaysia’s Meditag uses a three-level hologram (overt, covert and machine-read) at the heart of a system of registration and inspection. Can the hologram industry – not individual suppliers, but the industry working together – persuade the whole pharmaceutical sector that Malaysia’s is the way forward, not Pfizer’s?
The RFID industry successfully lobbied the US Food & Drug’s Administration anticounterfeit task force so that it has identified RFID as the best way forward, although it has left the door open for other technologies by not mandating the use of RFID. This is the example the hologram industry needs to follow, because it has to persuade governments, distributors and manufacturers that the pharma sector can continue to use – or even, needs to use – holograms at the heart of an integrated system of authentication. The prize is immense, because other market sectors would follow the pharmaceuticals sector. There is no consolation prize, because surrendering this market sector to an alternative technology would give an unavoidable signal to other market sectors.
HoloTouchâ„¢ Inc, a development company based in Darien, Connecticut working in association with Atlantex Corp, has launched the BeamOne HoloTouch evaluation unit, a working demonstration of its noncontact control technique. HoloTouch was founded by R Douglas McPheters to exploit its patented process for projecting a real holographic image of a keypad or similar finger-tip control board such that passing a real item, such as a finger, through the image, activates the control (US Patent 6377238 – see H N Vol 17 No 6). Atlantex specialises in helping bring new products to market, especially in the field of electronic controls and computer accessories .
The BeamOne is a four-button box to issue instructions to a PC, to which it is connected by a USB cable. The holographic image of the buttons float about 4" (10 cm) above the BeamOne box and can be programmed to instruct the computer to perform the required functions. It is fully functional, priced at US$1995, but is characterised by Atlantex and HoloTouch as an evaluation device. Nonetheless, it has been chosen by readers of Control Engineering as ‘the most innovative human-machine interface featured in Control Engineering during the past year.’ McPheters identifies HoloTouch as suiting applications where non-contact is important, such as in a sterile environment, or where switches or buttons cannot be made rugged enough for the environment. The hologram image can also be larger than the keypad it mimics, making it suitable where the device is small or vision may require assistance, such as for sight impaired people or while driving a vehicle, where a quick glance at a small button can be dangerous. The hologram is also, of course, intrinsically illuminated, so it is useful for night time or dark environments. HoloTouch and Atlantex are looking for applications partners who will adapt the HoloTouch technique into their own control devices.
HoloTouchâ„¢ Inc, the company that has developed a holographic interface for contactless control devices, has been selected for Connecticut Technology Council’s FastTrack scheme for promising
high-technology start-ups. FastTrack is an advisory and matching programme that helps start-ups with innovative ideas and rapid growth potential to gain seed-stage capital and business planning input through the mobilisation of a network of investors, advisors, professional service providers and industry contacts. Commenting on the scheme, HoloTouch founder and president R Douglas McPheters said: ‘FastTrack offers potentially valuable assistance in connecting us with mentors and advisors and can promote our partnering with companies who see value in our innovative touchless, holographic actuation and control technology’.
The company has already partnered with Atlantex Corp to launch the BeamOne HoloTouch unit. This enables operators of control boards such as keypads to enter commands simply by passing a finger through holographic images that represent these commands and float in front of the device (see HN Vol 19, No 3) and is suited for applications where non-contact is important for operability of hygiene, including consumer electronics, kiosks, ATMs and medical equipment. HoloTouch and Atlantex have also announced that the BeamOne is now available with relay output, extending the
technology’s reach to electronic equipment controlled by programmable logic controllers (PLCs).
already offers communication with PCs through USB, serial and other ports. According to McPheters, this latest development means that the technology can now be used in a numerous industrial applications as well, such as factory floor equipment. McPheters will be presenting a paper on the HoloTouch technology at Holopackâ€¢ Holo-print 2005.
Holotek Technologies Ltd, of Sanzao Zhuhai in China, has doubled its sales and profits in 2004 and is aiming to achieve at least 50% growth in 2005. Its 2003 audited sales of RMB103m (Â±US$12.5m) rose to RMB210M (Â±$25.5m) in 2004, with net profit climbing from RMB58m (Â±$7m) to RMB123.5m (Â±$15.2m), but note that the 2004 figures are not yet audited. Although the company was not liable to tax in its first years of operation (as a start-up in the Zhuhai Economic Zone), these margins of almost 60% make Holotek probably the most profitable holographic producer in the world, both by margin and in its dollar figure. 98% of these sales are for packaging, mainly for transfer metallising of cigarette liners and cartons; 85% is on OPP with the reminder on PET. Holotek has been through ownership changes since we first reported on the company (see HN Vol 17 No 6). It was set up by Fong Teng Technology of Taiwan, but government regulations limit the investment that can be put into a mainland Chinese company from Taiwan. FT has accordingly sold its interest to four private shareholders, including the CEO Mark Chiang (as a minority owner), and Holotek operates as a subsidiary of Aimrich which is registered in Samoa. The company has also divested its former 49% holding in Yong Feng Tian Technology, a Shenzhen company that produces cigarette packaging materials. All these changes mean Holotek has also postponed its plans to float on the Hong Kong stock exchange. It had originally stated its aim was to float this year with a market capitalisation of US$150m, but it is now aiming for floatation in 2008 with a doubled capitalisation. Chiang told Holography News that the company also plans to start exporting to become a global player in the holographic packaging film market and he is hoping to sell a significant shareholding – including upto a majority stake – to a strategic overseas partner to help Holotek become this global player.
Chinese wide-web hologram manufacturer Holotek Technologies Ltd and long-time American embossed hologram producer Holo-Source have set up a joint US venture, Holo-Source Materials
Company (H-SM), to market the former’s holographic films for packaging in North America. Although only recently announced, the company was established about a year ago, following a long relationship between the two companies and Holotek’s original Taiwan parent, Fong Teng Technology. Mark Chiang, president of Holotek, was reported in Holography News a year ago to be looking for an international partner to expand foreign sales.
Holo-Source was founded in 1986 by Lee Lacey and has been a stable part of the American holography industry. He has kept the company private and small – it currently has a staff of 13 – but it has succeeded by specialising in originations, limited-run embossing, finishing and printing. The company has worked with other US producers, such as CFC International, and for several years has also been working with Fong Teng and then Holotek to provide masters. Lee Lacey told Holography News that he has been very impressed with the quality and consistency of Holotek’s production and began working with them to market their materials in North America. After a year or two of assessing the market and the best way to approach it the two companies agreed to establish the joint venture as a vehicle for expanding the operation.
H-SM is importing 22 Î¼ OPP and 15 Î¼ PET. It is warehousing limited stocks of popular standard patterns, but can supply custom-designed materials within 4-5 weeks, including shipping from China.
The recent deaths in Turkey due to bootleg liquor laced with lethal doses of methyl alcohol show all to clearly the lengths to which counterfeiters will go to exact their illgotten gains. It also illustrates how, whenever a catastrophe happens, man-made or natural, people look for a target to
blame and usualy select an easy one which is the wrong one, and also how there will always be people or organizations looking to turn the situation to their advantage. In this case the target was first and foremost the government, for raising the taxes on raki fourfold over two years, leading to a situation which, in the words of the spirits industry, was a ‘disaster waiting to happen’. The second target was the holograms on the labels, for failing to enable a distinction to be made between genuine raki and the lethal bootleg version. It is certainly true that governments can help create an environment in which counterfeiting flourishes. There is a point at which any tax-raising measures become counter-productive – the point being reached when they are perceived to be excessive and/or unfair to the extent that ordinary people take measures to avoid paying them. In such situations counterfeiting can flourish – particularly when it is seen as a crime in which the only victims are governments and faceless corporations – and the counterfeiters undoubtedly capitalised on this.
It is not true, however, that the holograms were in any way at fault. Something designed as an authentication device prevents copying and simulation, and in the case of holograms very successfully, but not theft (as Microsoft found several years ago when its Scottish printer was raided – twice – for its stock of holograms). Blaming the holograms in this instance is about as logical as putting locks on your doors and then criticising them when thieves break in through the windows instead. This obvious fact did not deter those with an interest in RFID, however, from using the situation to promote the benefits of their technology. No sooner had news of the first deaths been reported than claims appeared in the media that the use of RFID could have prevented the tragedy. Since these reports were in the general rather than specialised media, was the hand of the RFID industry feeding such conclusions to the commentators. The fact that RFID offers unique product identification which would have made it possible to identify stolen labels disguises the fact that holograms can be equipped with similar identification at a fraction of the cost. And the comments about RFID also disguise the fact that at no point, it appears, did the theft of half a million labels – a not insignificant number – serve as an early warning of a counterfeit scam. There could only be one reason for the theft and, given the absence of any form of unique identification on the labels by which they could be traced, only one responsible course of action – namely, an immediate change of label. This did not happen – at least not until after the counterfeits had gone into circulation and done their damage. ‘Hindsight is a wonderful thing’, as the saying goes, but in a case like this there was foresight in abundance too. Technology, whether RFID, holograms or other, can only go so far – at some point human intuition and intelligence has a part to play. In this case it appears to have been sadly lacking. So where does the blame lie? With the government? Their tax-raising measures have not helped, but counterfeiters need little incentive to ply their evil trade. With the technology? Not in the sense that it failed, as it was never intended to identify stolen labels. But there is certainly a case to be made in the future for adopting a ‘belt and braces’ solution to both counterfeiting and theft that provides unique product identification along with authentication – something for which holograms are perfectly suited. With the manufacturers, for not taking appropriate remedial action when it would have made a difference? Certainly, the signs were there and for whatever reason, not acted on. This is a classic case where ‘doing nothing’ should not have been an option. Counterfeiters The Culprits But ultimately, the blame lies with the counterfeiters for the callous way in which they have produced and distributed a lethal product for financial gain, presumably in the full knowledge of the damage it would case. Excess quantities of methyl alcohol cause lethargy, blurred vision, acute abdominal pain, coma and, in some cases death. The counterfeit raki had 200 times the permitted levels. In playing the blame game, no-one should lose sight of the real culprits in this tragedy.
PROMA Technologies has introduced ‘No-Color’ HoloPRISMÂ® holographic paper comprising a new series of holographic patterns and images that display unique optical effects. Unlike typical embossed holographic paper that diffracts light and generates a rainbow of reflective colour, the ‘nocolor’ patterns do not exhibit traditional colour shifting properties. According to the company, this lack of colour background means no interference with print graphics, allowing for a true demonstration of trademarked colours and brand identity. Or, as PROMA’s president Frank Serono puts it ‘depth without distraction.’ Victoria’s Secret’s gift box collection was the first commercial application for the new paper.
Vacumet has acquired the assets of PROMA Technologies for an undisclosed sum. As result of the purchase, PROMA’s 140,000 square foot Massachusetts facility will become part of Vacumet’s Metallized Paper and Specialty Coatings Division. Vacumet, a subsidiary of the Scholle Corporation, manufactures a wide range of metallised products including films, paper, board and plastics, for functional barrier and decorative packaging applications, and also provides a custom metallizing service. It was founded in 1969 and has seven sites in the US. PROMA Technologies was formerly known as Van Leer Metallized Products (USA) Ltd prior to its management buyout in 2000 (see HN Vol 14, Nos 5/6). It specializes in holographic and metallized papers and has the world’s largest paper metallizer at 90" wide producing HoloPRISMÂ® papers for decorative applications, PromaVACÂ® metallized paper and HoloSECUREÂ® holographic security papers for brand protection. It employs 100 people and until the acquisition, was privately-owned. Its acquisition and addition to Vacumet will develop products in both silver and holographic metallized
papers. This is the latest of a series of Vacumet acquisitions. In 1992, the company acquired the Midwestern division of Ultravac in Wood Dale, Illinois, and in 1999 it acquired the business and assets of Himac Atlanta, Georgia. In 2000, Vacumet acquired the US metallizing operations of Rexam in the UK. And most recently, it has opened a second manufacturing plant in Connecticut and transitioned its Southeast Plastic operations from Atlanta to a new 81,000 square foot facility in Austell, Georgia in January, 2005 that will house a range of metallising and slitting equipment up to 130" wide.
Contact: Ruth Kemp, PROMA Technologies;
+1 508 541 774;
Up to 35 people are reported to have died in Turkey and many more have been hospitalised after consuming a bootleg version of the aniseed flavoured drink raki, which contained lethal levels of methyl alcohol. Yeni Raki, the brand that was counterfeited, is manufactured by Mey Icki , which bought the alcohol operations of the state-owned tobacco company Tekel last year. Last summer approximately 500,000 brand labels, which included a tax hologram, were stolen from the company’s bottling plant in Izmir. These labels have been used on the counterfeits, making it impossible to distinguish between genuine and fake bottles. Following the discovery of the counterfeits, all Yeni Raki bottles are being recalled (up to five million) and new bottle caps, in gold instead of silver, are being introduced. In the meantime, sales have slumped by 80- 85%. The finger of blame for the tragedy is being pointed at the government for applying a series of four tax rises on spirits since coming to power in 2002, a charge dismissed by the government which is refusing to lower taxes. Questions have also been raised about the validity of holograms, the main
authentication feature of the labels, with suggestions that they have failed in their function to identify counterfeits. There have been calls for improved security on the labels, with some newspaper and television reports suggesting that the use of RFID chips could have prevented the tragedy by enabling the stolen labels to be identified. In response to these comments, the IHMA has issued a statement reiterating the need for authentication holograms to be manufactured, transported and stored under secure conditions and pointing out that the theft of the security labels should have provided a clear and early warning that a counterfeit attempt was imminent, since there could be no other explanation for their theft (the manufacturers did not, following the theft, change the labels). The IHMA has also pointed out that holograms are highly successful authentication devices that protect products from counterfeiting and alteration, but not from theft. However, many holograms now include unique identification marks, overt and covert, for supply chain management purposes which, like RFID but at a lower cost, could easily be used to identify stolen labels.
Sun-Kyung Hologram (SK) is the leading security hologram producer in Korea, and the first in the country to join the IHMA. It was founded in 1987 as a division of the film and chemical conglomerate SKC and became an independent company ten years later. SK has been located in an integrated purpose-built factory in Hwa-sung City since 1999 which comprises origination, mastering and electroforming, embossing up to 760mm wide and finishing facilities. Origination technologies include 2D/3D, 3D and dot matrix under the trademarks Holoseal, Microseal, Multiseal for combinations and Nanoseal for high security images. In 2000 the company introduced a full security system and in the same year was accredited to ISO 9001. Products include hot stamping foil, HRIC laminating films for ID cards, tamper-evident and integrated security labels and shrink sleeves with additional technologies including holographic barcodes, magnetics and demetallisation. SK’s principal markets are in currency, security and ID documents and brand protection. Customers include the Korean government (its holographic film is used in the thread for the Korean 5000 won), banks, the National Police Agency and the military. In brand protection it has supplied Korea’s largest car manufacturer, Hyundai, with authentication labels since 1993 and also supplies Kia, GM-Daewoo and the Ssangyong Motor Company, Renault- Samsung, GM Korea Motors and so on. Outside of the automotive components market, major customers in brand protection include Samsung Electronics, LG (Household, Electronics and Fashion), Sony, Callaway and others in electronics, entertainment and consumer goods. SK’s turnover last year was $5m and it currently employs 55 people. The majority of its business is in supplying the domestic market but it also exports to America, Singapore and the Middle East.
Contact: Brian Keum, SK Hologram,
Bunchon-lee, 108-4 Bunchon-Up, Hwasung,
Kyonggi-do, Korea. Tel: +82 2 2057 7223;
email: [email protected]/* */;
Flying Null, the British company that has developed contactless magnetic tags, has moved into production of the hot-stamping foil version of its Electro-Magnetic Identification EMID) tags. Foil manufacturer Hueck Folien has been working with Flying Null on developmental formulations of a 12 Î¼m polyester film and coatings, and helping the company to optimise these for a hot-stamp magnetic tag. According to Ian Wills, Flying Null’s applications manager, this has reduced the tag manufacturing steps from 13 to seven, so the company can now offer a hot-stamp tag for use on a variety of packaging substrates at a competitive price, taking advantage of the already high base of installed hot-stamping equipment at packaging converters and printers. For those who prefer the tag in self-adhesive or wet-glue label format, it also means that Flying Null or label converters have an easy process to produce labels, simply hot-stamping the tag onto the label substrate. The process involves the sputtering of the 0.8 Î¼m magnetic metallization on to the release-layer coated PET supplied by Hueck in one-meter wide reels. The reel is then returned to Hueck where the specified size coat is applied and the film is slit into ribbons. Flying Null then uses a Nd-Yag laser to ablate the metallised film into the encoded pattern required for each customer. Flying Null also applies a registration mark so that the hot-stamp die applies each discrete coded tag to register. Working with Hueck, Flying Null can now offer formulations to hotstamp EMI tags onto paper, board, plastics and fabrics. Authentication data tags require a ribbon about 10-12 mm long; batch information (such as date and/or place of manufacture) requires 20-25 mm and individual coding takes 25-30 mm, or about 40-45 mm if the tag is to be read through outer packaging (ie from inside a shipping carton)
This development complements Flying Null’s non-exclusive licence agreements with Light Impressions and David S Smith Packaging (DSS). Some time ago LI announced the launch of Optocodeâ„¢, a label that combined a hologram with a magnetic tag. According to Wills, this can now be produced as a hot-stamp foil combination, laying a hot stamped hologram over the hot stamped EMI tag, although they are also working to combine the two in one foil layer.
The emergence of the authentication industry during the 1990s was characterised on many occasions by manufacturers of the different technologies taking pot shots at one another through negative marketing that sought to promote their offerings by belittling the opposition. In this respect, hologram manufacturers were as guilty as their counterparts in other areas of authentication. But the industry has grown up and moved on, and few suppliers of any of the authentication technologies still claim to offer the mythical silver bullet, with most recognising that different technologies address different aspects of counterfeiting, diversion and other forms of piracy, but no single technology addresses them all. This recognition is evidenced by the increasing trend for erstwhile competitors to join forces, offering socalled ‘layered’ solutions that combine a range of different but complementary technologies to address the needs of anti-counterfeiting, authentication and track and trace. One technology, however, that appears to be going against this trend is RFID, which in many quarters is being touted, in the words of Lester Crawford of the US Food and Drug Administration, as the ‘cornerstone technology in the fight against counterfeits because of its ability to track, trace and authenticate’. Not only are supporters of RFID actively promoting this message, but they are often doing so in the context of disparaging other solutions. As we reported in last month’s Holography News, for example, such supporters were quick to capitalise on the recent deaths in Turkey caused by counterfeit liquor (in bottles sealed with genuine holograms stolen from the manufacturing plant) by claiming that the use of RFID would have prevented this from happening by allowing the stolen labels to be identified. And
as we pointed out, so would the holograms had they been sequentially numbered or equipped with some other form of unique identification. Preposterous Claims This month, in a different context but with similar undertones, a letter in the SunWeekend, a Malaysian newspaper, called for the Health Ministry to adopt RFID tags in place of holograms for the Meditag medicines authentication label. The writer, who would only be identified as a ‘pharmaceutical industry insider’, claimed that holograms are not used to stem piracy and don’t work anyway. (His preposterous claims were refuted by the IHMA in a letter published in the paper the following weekend.). These are just two examples of how an emerging technology is being sold on the basis of competitive disinformation in an industry which has long moved on from such practices. RFID provides significant benefits in product tracking and inventory control, which in itself helps to reduce the incidence of counterfeits by making it harder to infiltrate these into the official supply chains. But anti-counterfeiting is a side benefit and RFID is unproven for authentication purposes, expensive (both in the cost of the tags and their readers), requires significant infrastructural support and in some cases is simply not practicable (for example, the metal in blister packs interrupts the radio signal transmitted by the device). Critically, however, the signal can be hacked into and the data recorded in the device changed using simple PDAs. And not only can the data be reprogrammed, but there are major concerns about privacy. As HolographyNews’ sister publication Authentication News reports, hand-held PDAs could read what type of underwear you are wearing, what books you are carrying.
They could even be used to capture personal details contained in the RFID chips that store biometric data in passports. RFID is Fallible In short, RFID is fallible, expensive and unproven. None of these factors prove that it does not have a part to play in authentication, but they certainly prove that it is not the ‘cornerstone’ technology that some claim it to be. Indeed there is no such technology, because in the field of counterfeiting, along with piracy, adulteration and diversion, there is no single problem. RFID may, for example, be the best solution for an organisation with the infrastructure for supply chain logistics already in place that wants to prevent product diversion, and hence the potential for infiltration of counterfeits. But it is no good if the solution requires public verification or 100% proof of authenticity in a court of law. Holograms, on the other hand, may be the best solution for overt authentication and can be combined with other technologies to provide tracking capability. But if a covert solution is required, for example, or one that provides proof of adulteration and dilution, then holograms are not the answer. "Horses for courses", as they say. In other words, different technologies have specific benefits relating to some of the problems of counterfeiting and diversion, but each also has limitations that render them unsuitable for others. Suppliers of holograms and other authentication technologies realise this. It is time for the RFID industry and its supporters to grow up and do likewise. Until it does, the two examples quoted above show that the hologram industry cannot be complacent but needs to be both vigilant and aware of attacks such as these so that it can – through the IHMA – make an industry response These examples also point – yet again – to the need for an industry-wide media relations effort to rebut accusations that holograms don’t work for security. Put simply, they do.
After numerous delays Malaysia implemented its Meditag pharmaceutical authentication label on May 27 2005 (see HN Vol 18, No 9). The scheme, originally due to launch on January 1, requires all dispensed medicines and over the- counter (or self-medication) pharmaceuticals to carry the authentication label, which is built around a hologram manufactured by Hologram Industries. The system is being administered by local company Mediharta, which will supervise the controlled issue of tags to importers and manufacturers and train the Ministry’s inspectors to examine the holograms. The cost of the labels, in the region of one US cent each, is being borne by the pharmaceutical industry, both domestic manufacturers and importers. The launch of the Meditag system was delayed to allow the pharma industry in Malaysia to gear up for the application of holograms to all their products, but also after intense lobbying by that industry. Since the announcement of the scheme in mid-2004, it has met with fierce opposition, with the industry even
enlisting the help of the US Chamber of Commerce and the EU in its claims that the system is unnecessary, will not work,
Centro Grafico was founded by Dino Radice in 1970 to print security forms, cheques, vouchers etc. In 1995, the company moved into hologram production with the purchase of a narrow web JRP embosser in order to add holograms to cheques. The equipment was used both to direct emboss images into lacquer and to produce brand protection labels for companies such as Shell and Exxon. Two years later the company bought a Holomagic dot matrix system from Ken Harris and began originating holograms in-house. The acquisition of 2D/3D origination equipment followed, along with a step and repeat system from Newport which enables shims up to 2m x 600cm to be produced. Two years later the company developed and installed its own wide web coating and embossing line to produce films and foils up to 1.6m wide. Centro Grafico, which is based near Milan, now produces a wide range of materials and products in widths up to 1.6m wide and in gauges from 16 through to 100 micron. These include OPP and PET films, cast polypropylene for in-mould labels, nylon, holographic paper, hot stamping foil and tamper-evident labels. As well as supplying end customers with finished holographic products, the company is also a major supplier of base materials to other hologram manufactures. In 2001 the company extended its product range with the introduction of high refractive index coated products and is now a leading supplier of laminates (including pouches) and thin films for ID applications. Additional facilities for the ID and high security markets include demetallisation to register (up to 800 cm wide), foil application (both roll to roll stripes via its own system as well as Dimuken equipment for patch and stripe application), four colour web intaglio printing and, most recently, a new laser engraving system for cards. Centro Grafico remains a family business, with the founder Dino Radice running the company and his son Luca responsible for R&D. It now employs 65 people in a 20,000m facility near Milan, which it says is about to be extended ‘considerably’. Turnover is approximately â‚¬15m, the majority (80%) of which is in holographic production, both finished products and base materials to other hologram manufacturers. Most of this is in security business – predominantly passports, brand protection and, increasingly, tax stamps. Its principal markets outside Italy are Europe, the CIS and the Far East. According to industry veteran Paul Samuels, who joined Centro Grafico in 2004 as Director of Business Development following more than 20 year’s experience in holography with Applied Optical Technologies and CFC International, the company has been hiding its light under a bushel. ‘We are one of the best kept secrets in the industry’ he said. ‘I always knew of the company as a supplier of some of the best base materials – such as foils and HRIC – in the business, but until I got talking to them about joining them I had no idea of the extent and quality of their product range. Few people do. Our key strength is our innovation and we have a superb set of facilities and technologies for security from brand protection through to banknotes.’
Contact: Centro Grafico dg, Via Einstein
76, 20010 Marcallo (M), Italy.
Tel: +39 (0) 2 976 1301,
[email protected]/* */
New Jersey company Alfa Machine Co, well-known in the industry for its holographic embossing machines, and Digital Matrix (DM), manufacturer of electroforming systems, have teamed up to establish a joint operation to market to the holography industry, to be called Alfa Digital Matrix. The two companies’ products complement each other, as between them they are able to supply the key equipment for producing embossing shims (DM), recombining and embossing (Alfa). The new organisation will be run by Steve Pan, formerly marketing manager at narrow-web embossing machine manufacturer James River Products (JRP). Pan’s move apparently follows the closure of JRP. Since the death in 2002 of its founder Drury Baughan JRP had been run by Gary Finchum, his son-in-law. However, phone lines to the company are no longer in service, mail has been returned, and it has been reported that orders have either been turned down or unfulfilled. Steve Pan has declined to answer questions about the company, preferring to talk about his new position. Holography News will report more for the next issue.
Contact: Alfa Digital Matrix, 92 Madison Ave,
Hempstead, NY 11550, USA.
Tel: +1 516 750 0431;
email: [email protected]/* */
The use of large format display holograms went through a quiet period through the late 1990s, as holographers had to discover new exposure materials to replace Agfa’s silver halide, prices put off corporate customers and other 3D display techniques such as lenticular images edged into holography’s market. But several stalwart and determined holographers stayed active in large format display work, and recent advances are now bringing their rewards. Substrates have moved on to give better light efficiency, lower noise and better response across the spectrum to facilitate the production of true colour holograms. Importantly these new materials have simplified the post-exposure processing requirements. This, together with developments in digital origination systems, has allowed the introduction of integrated production systems to be sold as stand-alone holographic printing systems. XYZ Imaging in Canada and Zebra Imaging of Texas have both just launched such systems, to translate computer images to holograms, so we take the opportunity to look at developments in large format display holography from these companies, as well as the route taken by Colour Holographics.
Zebra Imaging, founded in 1996 by MIT Media Lab graduates Michael Klug and Mark Holzbach to develop their Hogel digital hologram system (see sidebar), has unveiled the Imager M1 high-speed
holographic imager. Using the company’s proprietary and patented digital system, the Imager produces high resolution (1 mm sq Hogel) full parallax holograms in sizes up to 24"/594 mm x 33"/841 mm at an exposure rate of 20 minutes per sq ft (930 sq cm) on DuPont photopolymer (DuPont is an investor in Zebra). The M1 makes monochrome holograms but the company is developing a colour version which they aim to have available by the end of the year, president and CEO Robin Curle told Holography News. The M1, which is the latest configuration of Zebra’s imaging system, is priced at $1.2m (varies depending on final configuration). The company has developed parallel marketing strategies, for the Imager and for the production of custom images. It is currently focusing on three strategic markets: government (defence and homeland security); automotive and manufacturing (Ford is a major backer and supporter of Zebra’s concepts for the car industry), and architectural imaging. The Department of Defense will take the first Imager, but Zebra is kept busy making holograms for the three markets. The company runs two of the previous
generation imaging systems in-house to originate holograms for customers who only require colour or do not otherwise require their own production facility. Zebra also runs an M1 monochrome Imager in house for service customers. The masters are copied on a replicator system which produces a copy every 90 seconds. The Hogel system lends itself to large holograms and to tiling (fitting units together) to make images larger than the physical maximum size of the film. In fact, Zebra has even made a hologram of an actual-size automobile for Ford (see HN Vol 13, No 3). Customers for holograms have included Ford, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and others, keeping the in-house origination systems and the replicator ‘busy full-time’, as Ms Curle put it. She also mentioned that it takes 30 days to build an Imager and her expectation is that they will sell all they can make. The monochrome version has limited, albeit important, applications but the company expects the colour Imager to have ‘unlimited’ applications, expanding Zebra’s reach into other markets. Viewing and interaction with Zebra holograms is facilitated by its Holo-touch Workstation, a display system that uses a haptic stylus to allow the operator to control the viewpoint in the hologram (a facility enabled by the Hogel optics). The operator gets pressure feedback from pushing the stylus against a part of the image and can use the button on the stylus to instruct the system to display the view from, or of, that point. This is particularly valuable in urban planning, military work and policing, for example, as it enables line-of-sight between two points to be viewed. The workstation, which has also just been launched, is priced at around $250,000, with the first one going to the US Department of Defense.
Zebra’s Hogel Technique Digital or pixellated holography has become commonplace, especially for embossed holograms, but Zebra’s Hogel (hologram element) takes the process a stage further by using optics in the record of each hologram. The system uses three pulse lasers – red, green and blue – to capture an image rendered on a spatial light modulator (SLM), but the insertion of a spherical lens, termed a voxel control lens, allows the capture on each hogel of a wider field of view in the hologram than would otherwise be possible. The process is described and covered by US Patent 2002054402, method and apparatus for recording one-step, full-color, full-parallax, holographic stereograms. The company’s technical team has also been working on interactive holograms, with the Holo-touch Workstation a demonstration of their approach. The approach is to re-write the hogel from the stored image data, in response to new stimuli, such as that generated from the haptic stylus. The US patent covering this process – 2005094230, active digital hologram
display – was issued on May 31 2005.
Montreal company XYZ Imaging is now running evaluation on final production units of its holographic production device, or printer, capable of producing full colour reflection holograms on silver halide film 1135 mm wide and upto 15 m long. Final production units will be available as of September. The company has three printers operating in-house and caused a stir with its large format colour holograms produced for Puma athletic shoes which were displayed in Foot Locker stores to mark the Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix held in Montreal on June 12. Lithuanian company Geola also has a printer, and two machines are placed with an advertising broker in Paris, and produced holograms for Perrier and L’OrÃ©al which won the Point of Purchase Advertising International Awards in 2003. At the heart of XYZ’s holoprinter system is an RGB – or
white light – pulse laser specially developed by XYZ and Geola, the Lithuanian laser producer. The artwork for the hologram output is a computer file of a three-dimensional design that can contain up to six seconds of animation, which is converted by XYZ’s proprietary software to drive the laser to expose a pixel on the holographic film. The pixel can vary between 0.8 mm and 2 mm, depending on the final size of the hologram – a larger hologram for viewing at a greater distance
can use larger pixels. The silver halide film requires wet processing in a processor that is supplied by XYZ. The system can image 5 sq m per day at standard resolution and the introductory price is set at US$140/sq ft. XYZ’s early holograms were produced on Slavich silver halide film, bought through Geola (Slavich’s exclusive distributor outside Russia). But the company has worked with Geola and Sfera-S to develop a high-quality ultra-fine-grain panchromatic holographic silver halide emulsion manufactured under western quality control standards for greater consistency. Sfera-S, in Preslavi-Zalessky, Russia, was established by Yuri Sazonov, formerly a director of Slavich. The company is producing other holographic films but the pulse laser panchromatic film is exclusive to
XYZ. It is manufactured 1,135 mm wide and 1,000 m long, for loading into the printer.
Eric Bosco, founder and CEO of XYZ, told Holography News that the printer will sell at US$540,000, and XYZ will supply the processor as part of the sale. He anticipates that for the next two years the company’s sales will primarily comprise holograms, but printer sales will become dominant around 2007, although he wouldn’t say how many unit sales they are targeting. Their key market is seen as marketing, advertising and promotion. Bosco founded the company in 2000. His previous experience in holography had led him to establish the Holostar laboratory at CollÃ¨ge de Maisonneuve in Montreal, in 1988, and in 1998 joined Pixel Systems, a 3D imaging development company. Continuing to work on the concept of pixellated display holograms, he visited Geola to examine their pulse laser, at which point he and David Brotherton-Ratcliffe of Geola discussed the option to use the white-light laser that Ratcliffe was developing. Back in Montreal, Bosco gained the support and funding from Daniel Langlois, who had created the SoftImage software suite which he then sold to Microsoft, and who is now a shareholder of XYZ. The company raised Cdn$3m from venture capital investors in its first round and Geola became a shareholder. XYZ has since raised further funds – its last round was completed earlier this year. Brotherton-Ratcliffe will present a paper about the printer and show some demonstration holograms at Holopackâ€¢ Holo-print in Shenzhen in November.
Contact: www. XYZImaging.com.
British company Colour Holographic Ltd has evolved holographic stereograms to a high-quality display medium, preferring this route to Zebra and XYZ’s choice of pixellated holograms. Founded by holographer Mike Medora and movie special effects and animation specialist Nigel Robiette in 1997 (see HN Vol 11, No 6), Colour benefited from capital injections in the last two years and is now on track for £2.2m in sales in the year to March 31 2006, managing director Jeremy Tear told Holography News. Lifting Colour Stereograms Medora, chairman of Colour Holographic, and Robiette had worked together on a colour Star Trek hologram for the Silverbridge Group, a Toronto company that closed several years ago. They decided that collaboration on the cinematic content of the footage required for stereograms, and the optical design, could give a lift to colour stereograms, facilitating the production of large format display work. Colour started life in central London, moving to the holography studio at Braxted Park in Essex when Applied Holographics moved out of its first origination studio. In 2001 they raised funds to buy the silver halide formulae and coating technology of Holographic Recording Technologies (HRT), Richard Birenheide’s German company (see HN Vol 14, No 9). This was a necessary survival mechanism as their processes had been evolved working on HRT materials. The acquisition was financed by a £50,000 (Â±$90,000/â‚¬75,000) loan from NESTA, the UK’s National Endowment of the Science, Technology & the Arts (established in 1998 to distribute national lottery profits in support of creativity, innovation and synergy). Colour moved HRT’s equipment to Braxted, where it has made important advances in the formulation, now working with 12 Î¼m grain size. They coat on glass up to 60 x 50 cm and triacetate film, with sales to academic and educational institutions and holographers. But their largest market for plates (after in-house consumption), according to Tear, is among national space agencies and similar organisations that use the plates for interferometry or to make HOEs. He told Holography News that they will consume 5-10 km of metre-wide substrate film this year. The production line has recently moved to a 3,500 sq ft/325 sq m plant in Maldon, Essex – a few miles from Braxted. Tear joined Colour after the NESTA support. Formerly in a senior mergers and acquisitions position with Sumitomo Corporation in Tokyo, he now is part of ‘Experience,’ a group dedicated to helping small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) find investment and management expertise. NESTA put in another £200,000 and Tear orchestrated individual investors to put in additional funds for expansion and a move to mass production. This included opening an office/showroom in Soho, the heart of London’s advertising industry.
Sales have climbed rapidly since then, from £100,000 in 2001, to £400,000 in 2003, £600,000 in 2004 and a projected £2.2m (Â±$4m/â‚¬3.3m) for this financial year (end 31 March 2006). This is achieved with a current staff of 18, four of whom are in coating, four in holography, two in operations, five in sales and marketing and the remainder in administration and finance. The company is building a new 13,500 sq ft/1,250 sq m studio suite in London’s Docklands, where it will have sophisticated facilities for shooting and preparation of footage for holographic conversion, along with mastering and production facilities. It is also designing a Grancam to enable the production of larger holograms using its proprietary methods.
ColoHolo, as Colour Holographics has named its mirror-mounted transmission colour stereograms, use 72 images in the stereogram. Its service includes design and installation of the display and lighting, for which it works with Yell Marketing Ltd. Sales have primarily been in the UK to date, but following participation at the EuroShop retailing trade fair in DÃ¼sseldorf in February, the company is now appointing agents around the world.
In the UK its most long-standing customer is Warner Distribution, which uses 60 x 50 cm ColoHolos (the standard size) at 120 cinema sites, with a new hologram each month to trail forthcoming movies. This contract started with 50 sites (see HN Vol 19, No 5), and Warner is so taken with ColoHolo that it featured at the UK premier of the new Batman movie. Also, 150 department stores around the country now have a point-ofpurchase display ColoHolo for Gossard,
featuring a new bra, with a total of 600 to be installed. Other significant customers include Nintendo, Sony Ericsson and O2, and the Diageo drinks multinational which has used ColoHolo for in-bar and retail promotions for a number of its brands. Nick Hardy is making production copies for Colour in his Leeds studio, following the closure of Op Graphics after DuPont withdrew the supply of photopolymer.
Colour is also in discussion with vending machine manufacturers and their brand-owner customers to develop a 4" x 5" unit, for which it is working with Cambridge University on edge lighting. It is also co-operating with XYZ Imaging to develop a proposal for a major new product launch, recognising that the two types of hologram complement each other and for some customers a combination of the different sizes and types of display might be suitable.
Vacuum technology specialist Idvac has developed a new process for chrome coatings that will extend the life of holograms on number plates and car license discs for taxis. The use of the new chrome coatings will make the holograms more durable than traditional aluminium coatings, which can oxidise when exposed to environmental factors such as humidity. Taxis in many parts of the world display holograms issued by local councils to ensure that they are legally registered. Over time, however, the aluminium finish reacts with humidity and loses its rainbow colours, making it difficult for police to distinguish whether or not the hologram is legitimate. The new chrome is more
durable and, according to Idvac, will keep its rainbow colour for a longer period of time, enabling councils and police to save money, time and effort when issuing holograms. The problem of hologram corrosion is particularly acute in countries with high humidity levels and several companies in the Far East have already expressed interest in the new product. Commenting on the new development, Idvac’s managing director Professor Nadir Ahmed said: ‘We are very pleased with the response to the product from companies in the UK and overseas. I recently visited China, for example, where several companies were interested in the new product as it offers a real breakthrough in the security hologram market and a solution to hologram corrosion.’
Contact: Idvac Ltd, Greenheys, Manchester
Science Park, Pencroft Way, Manchester M15
6JJ, UK. Tel: +44161 868 0088;
email: [email protected]/* */
Idvac Ltd, specialists in advanced vacuum process technology, has developed a new process for packaging and holography involving the application of bright metallic gold coatings for holograms and metallised films in place of traditional chemical pigments and aluminium. The process can be retrofitted inside standard vacuum web metallisers without hampering the performance of such machines for aluminium metallisation, and can be applied directly in vacuum onto films such as PET and OPP. No wet chemicals are required. According to the company, several companies around the world have already expressed interest in the process for enhancing the appearance of holographic and metallised packaging, and also the security of holograms for anti-counterfeit purposes.
Idvac is based in Manchester, UK, and has over ten years experience in the hologram market and 30 years experience in the advanced vacuum technology and packaging markets. It supplies process retrofits and know how to convert standard vacuum metallisers to produce speciality coatings including high refractive index, silicon oxide, chrome alloy, silver and copper.
Contact: Prof Nadir Ahmed, Idvac Ltd,
Greenheys, Manchester Science Park, Pencroft
way, Manchester M15 6JJ, UK. Tel: +44 161
868 0088; email: idvac:aol.com;
Applied DNA Sciences (ADNAS) has announced the successful completion of a six-month R&D programme to embed its DNA taggants into holograms. The DNA hologram was developed under an agreement with Holomex (see HN Vol 18, No 11), and has been tested by the US Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory, whose analytical methods developed specially for ADNAS have enabled the product to be verified ten times faster than conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods typically used in DNA testing. According to ADNAS, the DNA hologram is the first of several product configurations planned through its alliance with Holomex. Target markets for the new combined security labels include the pharmaceutical, beauty product, automotive and entertainment industries. Holomex will begin marketing the new DNA holograms to its existing customers in July.
Sadly we hear that James River Products Inc has ceased making embossed hologram production equipment. Meanwhile Audax Group, a private equity firm, has signalled its intention to buy CFC International subject to a due diligence investigation now taking place. These two developments prompt a reflection on the ‘changing of the guard’ in holography as, progressively, the early entrepreneurs that drove our industry have been replaced by a younger generation. Although he died in 2002, JRP is synonymous with Drury Baughan, its founder, president and designer of machines. Drury was a link to the earliest days of production embossed holography: he had founded Old Dominion Foils (ODF) in 1962, where he researched the reproduction of holographic surface relief patterns on DuPont’s Tyvek material. Nothing came of this, but DuPont subsequently recommended ODF to American Bank Note for the production of their first holograms. His success in doing so led ABNH to buy ODF in 1981 as its embossing plant, but Drury was perhaps too much of his own man to work within this structure, and when ABNH moved production to New Jersey he missed his beloved Richmond, VA, so in 1985 he left ABNH to set up JRP to make narrow-web embossing machines. These machines became the work-horse of the hologram industry, installed in most producers around the world (and those that don’t have JRP machines probably have got alternative equipment that started life as a JRP copy!) Drury’s Southern drawl became familiar across the world as he met customers and installed their machines. A Scotch whisky aficionado, he also championed his local Virginia wines, bringing several case loads to grace the dinner tables at the first Holo-packoHolo-print conference in the USA.
ABNH needed a hologram embossing process, but to break into the credit card market – the vision of its founder Ed Weitzen and his colleague Sal D’Amato as holograms could not pass the infamous US ‘crumple test’ for banknotes – the company needed a substrate that met the stringent demands of the credit card specifiers. For this they turned to New Jersey hot-stamping foil producer Crown Roll Leaf, founded and run by Bob Waitt. Bob came up with a formulation for a film that gave high-quality hologram imagery and met those demanding specifications – and Crown continues to supply it to this day. Bob died in 1998, but by then he had installed the industry’s first 50" wide embossing machine, opened up the dental care products market for holography – and crossed a few swords with other producers. Both Ed and Bob were generous supporters of the Museum of Holography in New York, valuing its support of artists and educational mission. Ed Weitzen, visionary and founder of ABNH, saw his vision into reality, with the able support and contribution of Sal, but he died shortly after he had sold American Bank Note to US Bank Note, run by former arch rival Mickey Weissman. After falsifying the books of ABNH to inflate its value when it was floated, Mickey was found guilty of conspiracy, securities fraud, falsifying corporate books and lying to independent auditors; needless to say, he is no longer involved in the company…
Bob Waitt and Crown had been one of a quartet of holographic foil producers in the US North East, all of them established by individuals with drive, ingenuity, vision and a fair amount of bloody-mindedness! DriPrint (now part of API) was the first, giving rise to or encouraging Harry Parker’s Transfer Print Foils (now part of ITW), Joe Olsen’s Foilmark (also now part of ITW), and Joe Coburn’s Coburn Corporation (bought by the IGI Corporation). The two Joes are still active in the business, but Harry Parker is enjoying his retirement.
As presumably Roger Hruby will shortly be doing. The founder and major owner of CFCI, he came into holography by a different route, recognising the need for his company to find new products as the typewriter ribbon business faded away. But presumably CFCI will shortly be owned by an investment company and Roger will join those who have moved on from embossed holography, either through retirement after cashing in their investment, or through passing away while still running their company.
‘To everything there is a season…’ and industries and technologies, like the seasons, ‘turn, turn, turn.’ And in the course of a few years we have seen the passing of the season of many of the key figures in the early development of embossed hologram technology and its markets. These guys were independently-minded, sometimes cantankerous, often generous and always visionary entrepreneurs. In the main, the companies they founded have been taken over by large conglomerates or investment organisations, which have different motives and different management styles. Ironically, only JRP, provider of equipment to so many hologram producers,
is the exception – closing down instead of being sold as a going concern. Embossed holography would not be where it is now without their contribution; large organisations bring other attributes (stability, finance, global reach…), but it is to be hoped that there will still be individuals with similar vision and drive.
Ver-tec Security Systems Ltd, a young company in Cambridge, England, is developing a silver halide volume reflection hologram identity system called the Biometrigram“ which it aims to have ready to market next year. The company is aiming at the passport and ID card market, but also sees its method being adaptable to product protection.
Ver-tec was founded in 2002 by Ben Bowmaker to develop modern security solutions. He was previously working with Martin Richardson at The Hologram Image Studio and now serves as the chief operating officer of Ver-tec. CEO is Johnnie Sam, who worked with Digital Equipment Co before striking out independently. John Wiltshire, formerly with Applied Holographics/Applied Optical Technologies, De La Rue Holographics and Technical Development & Investigation Ltd, is now the company’s research holographer. He works with David Winterbottom, a software engineer and designer. The company is headquartered at the St John’s Innovation Centre in Cambridge with its R&D facilities in Colchester. It is privately funded, but earns most of its revenue from its consultancy services.
The Biometrigram is simple in concept. It is now at proof of concept stage, requiring further production systems development to make it a marketable system. It centres on a two-channel 2D hologram of key features of the subject, probably a portrait and a fingerprint. The portrait is taken with a digital still camera and captured to computer. The fingerprint is similarly captured from a standard fingerprint imaging device (similar to those now in use at US immigration desks). The captured digital images are displayed on a spatial light modulator as the subject for a two-beam reflection hologram, which is recorded on a silver halide emulsion. Vertec has been using Colour Holographics’ glass plates, but is developing film transport systems and is also further developing materials to be able to offer a film only a few microns thick, to be acceptable as an overlay on ID documents. The exposed plate has each image in a discrete channel as a 2D hologram on a plane about 2 mm below the carrier plane. The two channels are viewed at 180Â° illumination to each other – ie the hologram needs to be rotated to view one or the other.
Ver-tec’s concept is that the hologram will be used as an overlay on an ID document, showing the portrait as an overt image which can be compared, if required, with the now-standard digitally printed photo portrait on the card or passport. The fingerprint is not visible until the card is rotated. To check the holder’s identity, the card is placed on a hologram viewer which uses narrow-band LEDs to illuminate the hologram, with a CCD image-capture chip. The fingerprint image is then viewed on a computer monitor and the holder’s fingerprint is viewed on a standard reader. The two images – the hologram fingerprint and the live fingerprint – are then compared using proprietary image analysis software.
Using the demonstration system at the company’s Cambridge office, the enrolment process (the photo and fingerprint capture) and the hologram production take about five minutes altogether, and the check of the hologram against the live fingerprint takes only a second or two. One of Ver-tec’s achievements to date has been to create a desktop-size enrolment/issue station. This space includes the image capture devices, computer and monitor, and the hologram exposure and processing systems. The demonstration exposure system is contained in a durable transportable case 800 x 800 x 300 mm, while the processing system is in a similar case about 600 x 500 x 300 mm. Both have light-tight sleeves for the operator to gain access to the hologram, but the production concept will probably feature a film cassette.
An advantage of the system is that nothing is stored on a central database nor on a chip on the ID document. So a key issue is whether someone using a false identity could create their own version of the Biometrigram – that is, could they make a hologram of a digital photo portrait and their fingerprint? A competent holographer could do so, but it would have to be readable on the Ver-tec reader, which will operate at tight wavelengths and specific reference angles whilst searching for specific graphical formats in the image channels. And Wiltshire is currently working on making the hologram in multiple colours, to present even more of a challenge to someone seeking to forge an
Ver-tec has been demonstrating the system to passport agencies and driving licence authorities, but most immediate interest is in the use of the system for access control. It would be straightforward to set up the issue system at a customer’s premises to enrol staff, with a Biometrigram reader on the gate to control the locks, although new staff would presumably have to visit a bureau to be enrolled and receive their ID card.
To date Ver-tec has proven the Biometrigram concept and succeeded in designing the enrolment and issue station to an acceptable size and processing time. The key issue for the company – as it is for others aiming at the ID business – is how its product will fit with the RFID chip that most issuers view as the place to record biometric data. Ver-tec believes the technology is ideally suited as a secondary biometric feature combining overt security. Additionally, if issuing agencies become wary of RFID as a result of recent claims about its vulnerability and excessive read distance, they may look for alternatives, for standalone verification of the data on the RFID, in which case Ver-tec’s system could either be competing with other, non-RFID, biometric capture, store and check systems or uniquely backing up RFID. But Ver-tec has other projects under development, although the Biometrigram is its key focus. Indeed, the company is actively looking for integration and funding partners. Among its patent portfolio is GB2403798 titled Evaluating the quality of a hologram, which describes a method of examining an embossed hologram. It is also offering authentication technology evaluation and consulting services.
Contact: Ver-tec Security Systems Ltd, St John’s
Innovation Centre, Cowley Road, Cambridge,
CB4 0WS, UK. Tel: +44 1223 421520;
Geola Technologies has set up two new subsidiaries to market the large format full colour display holograms produced on XYZ Imaging’s digital hologram printer (see HN No 6, June). Power Imaging Ltd is based at the company’s head offices at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK, and 3D Print UAB is based at the Lithuania facility. British company Geola Technologies Ltd, established in 2000, is the holding company for the Geola group, with a majority holding in Geola UAB and 3D Print UAB, the two Lithuania companies, and in Power Imaging. Geola is an abbreviation of General Optical Laboratories, derived from the company’s gestation in a partnership between Australian Holographics, General Optics Pty Ltd – another Australian company – and UA B Infotechnika to distribute Soviet lasers and optical equipment in Australia. It was established in 1995 and David Ratcliffe moved from Australia to Lithuania the following year to run the company. It has since developed a specialism in the design and build of lasers for holography as well as holographic systems and cameras for pulse holography, and also built a close relationship with Slavich, the Russian holographic film producer, becoming the sole international sales office for Slavich. Geola also started developing digital pulse holography, since 2000 collaborating with the Canadian company XYZ Imaging Inc to develop and use a three-beam pulse laser for pulse digital holography. This laser is now incorporated into the XYZ printer, one of which is installed at Geola in Vilnius (see HN June, No 6). This is the printer that will produce the holograms for Power Imaging (PI) and 3D Print. PI launched the holograms in the UK at the Instore exhibition, attracting a lot of interest, and has already installed four holograms at Nike’s UK flagship store on London’s Oxford Street, in a promotional display designed by Exhibits International of Amsterdam. A low resolution (pixel size 1.6 mm) digital hologram produced from customer’s artwork (in standard 3D rendering software such as StudioMax)sell for £800/sq m, high resolution (pixel 0.8 mm) are £1600/sq m, and they are available upto 1 x 1.5 m, with tiling of several holograms to be possibly offered in the future. Because it takes upto six hours to produce a low resolution hologram, there are no significant price reductions for large quantities. PI charges an additional 20% to laminate to a 5 mm acrylic to hold the film, and provides a display lighting and installation service. At present, they offer parallax only in the horizontal zone, with a viewing angle up to 100Â°, but Geola, in conjunction with the University of Sussex, has also been developing full parallax techniques for some time. Although currently operating from Sussex, Ratcliffe told Holography News that PI may move to central London to be closer to the advertising and promotional agencies which are its key market.
Meanwhile, Geola’s core business is the design and build of lasers for holography and scientific applications. They specialise in Nd:YAG lasers with short pulses (measured in nanoseconds) upto 16 joules. In addition to holography their lasers are used for spectroscopy, particle image velocimetry and interferometry, in applications as diverse as nuclear fusion research and engine design. The company currently has around 25 staff split between the two countries but also uses resources at Sussex University School of Engineering where Ratcliffe is a Visiting Fellow. David Ratcliffe will give a paper about this digital holography technique at the Holo – p a c k â€¢ Holo Print conference, where one of the large format holograms will be on display.
Diffusers from POC Across the Los Angeles conurbation, Wavefront Technology Inc also announced the production of hard acrylic with micro-relief optical structures in sheets upto 4 x 8 ft, and one inch thick. The company had also built a 12” embossing machine to produce smaller sizes and sample runs. This move represented a change of direction for Wavefront, which had previously been producing silver halide holograms.
These two news items prompted an editorial asking whether this represented a major new application for surface relief hologram producers – a question that still applies, despite the absence of established mass producers of embossed holograms moving into this arena.
It seems that something is stirring in the world of holography. For over two decades embossed holograms have dominated the industry, with two primary markets emerging for this product – security and packaging. Both, in different ways, have tested the ingenuity and invention of holographers, material scientists and technicians, to meet customer requirements and the challenges from counterfeiters, but this has largely been an evolution of techniques. The original 3D holography gave way to 2D3D (minimising the need for point-source illumination), which gave way to dot matrix, then kineforms, stereograms and various combinations. But the authentication holograms in use today are recognisably of the same family as the first holograms used by MasterCard and Visa.
But now holography appears to be undergoing a new input of creative and inventive energy. Researchers – some new to holograms, others with many years’ experience in the field – are introducing new ways to use holography and holograms, or are finding ways to put into practice the aspirations of previous generations of holographers. The result is a raft of new applications, with holograms being created to fulfil roles as tools or catalysts. In the last year or so in Holography News we have reported on such diverse projects as Smart Holograms, devices intended for use as a diagnostic or sensor tool (HN Vol 18, No 10); the near-commercialisation of holographic data storage at InPhase and Optware (HN Vol 19, No 8 and Vol 18, No 10); and the development of HoloTouch holograms as non-contact sensors and switches (HN Vol 19, No 3). There have also been developments which expand the role of holograms for authentication, such as VerTec’s Biometrigram (HN Vol 19, No 8), which combines a hologram of a fingerprint and facial portrait, and Physical Optics’ OptoKey described in the previous issue. Now in this issue we report on the invention of a holographic lock and key, literally creating a door-access system using the power of holography.
The field of display holography has also made great advances in recent years, with large format colour holograms now available at realistic prices (well, heading there!) and with breathtaking colour and depth, as anyone who has seen holograms from Zebra, Colour Holographics and XYZ Imaging will agree (all reported in this year’s June issue). These companies are working on methods to bring down their production or run-on costs, so that while the design and origination of a first hologram may remain expensive, it will be feasible to produce runs of hundreds or thousands of copies of metre square, true colour reflection holograms at reasonable prices – comparable to competing display techniques such as lenticular transparencies.
Despite the diversity of these developments, they have one thing in common, in that they all use display hologram techniques, creating holograms on silver halide or photopolymer materials. Even InPhase’s data storage method uses volume holograms recorded in photopolymer. This doesn’t, however, foreshadow the end of embossed holography, which appears to have many years of life, partly because it is unrivalled as a low-cost mass production method, but also because of the research into surface relief structures in nanotechnology to create new optical tools and more. Embossed holography is also being used in light diffusers by the Canadian company Ledalite, as we reported back in 2001 (HN Vol 15, No 5/6). No Single Factor It would be nice to be able to identify what it is that has driven this recent surge of innovation and invention in holography so that it could be defined, captured and resurrected whenever the industry might need a boost. Regrettably, there doesn’t seem to be a unifying driver or factor at play – at least, not one that we
can easily identify. Some of these innovations are the result of dogged determination and cumulative accretion of invention and new techniques, such as in the long-standing work on data storage and full colour display holography. But even here there have been flashes of inspiration or insight that jump the technology forward several squares on the game board of development. Others, according to the key inventors or research personnel, come from a ‘Eureka’ moment which reveals a new way to use holograms, followed by painstaking research to turn the concept into reality – perhaps this describes the process behind Smart Holograms. Yet others have resulted from a small incident in someone’s life, such as the theft of Yuri Korzinov’s car that prompted him to come up with a better lock and key system (see page 4). Whatever the motive or inspiration for individual projects, the collective result is a sudden plethora of new applications for holograms, mainly for use as tools or, in the case of display holograms, achieving the effects and impact that holographers have dreamed of for 40 years. None of the projects mentioned here are commercial yet; some are quite close, some may never be commercialised. But they hold the prospect that within the next 5-10 years holograms will be perceived in the popular imagination as something more than ‘that thing on my credit card.’ And they provide a future path to growth and expansion for the hologram industry.
(Several of these projects will be reported on at Holo-packâ€¢Holoprint
in November – see page 7 for details.)
Vitaly Sukhanov and Yuri Korzinin of the St Petersburg State University of Information Technology, Mechanics and Optics in Russia have invented and patented a holographic lock and key which they claim is more resistant to de-coding than alternative electronic or tumbler lock systems. In the proof-of- concept prototype they have built, the key is similar in size and shape to a normal door key; it is inserted into the lock to be read by a reconstruction beam, and the low voltage lock system would be compact enough to fit a building or car door. The key is a hologram of a phase encoded wave, created by capturing the laser light scattered through a random diffuser or spatial light modulator. This same wave field is also recorded on a holographic spatial filter (the ‘decoder hologram’) which forms part of the recognition system. Different lock and key combinations are made by moving the diffuser (or the laser beam) to create a different encoded wave. When the key is illuminated by the low-power LED laser, the reconstructed encoded wave passes through the decoder hologram, which makes a correlation comparison to direct a narrow beam onto the photo- detector which will signal the lock. If the correlation is not made, the beam is not received by the detector (see diagram). It takes only a few milliseconds for the lock to operate.
Multiple locks and keys can be produced by optically copying the master key and decoder – on the set-up used to date, requiring only about a one second exposure, so that mass production would not be a problem. According to the inventors, the very small size of the resolvable spatial element in the hologram (approx 0.01Î¼) is one of the factors which makes the key very difficult to decipher, and is made more difficult by the amplitude phase encoding of the wave. As there are no holographic materials sensitive to IR light, the key can be protected against copying by tuning it to reconstruct at IR wavelengths and also by using an optical filter to cut the UV and visible light. And only at the correct reconstruction wavelength will the correlation produce the correct beam for the detector. The lock and key pair are further protected by the number of optical code combinations, calculated to be 101000000 based on a standard size door key.
Drs Sukhanov and Korzinin estimate that this would take over a billion years to decode using today’s technology. Patented in Russia, the inventors are looking for development partners and will be giving a paper about this access control system at Holo- packâ€¢ Holo- print in Shenzhen.
Contact: [email protected]/* */;
[email protected]/* */
Julian Fischer’s Holovision studio (Munich, Germany) was offering 1m sq transmission stereograms, and had already built a successful order book for rainbow and two-colour holograms. And up in Lithuania, David Ratcliffe was starting his collaboration with laser scientists that became Geola, subject of an article in the previous issue of Holography News. And although it seems that colour photopolymer holograms have been around for more than ten years, DuPont’s development
colour OmniDex film was announced.
The first Holo-packâ€¢Holo-print to take place in China …the biggest ever industry conference and trade show … China holography showing its face to the world…These are some of the impressions carried away from Shenzhen, location of this year’s conference. But the positives to carry away are not only about China and its hologram industry; information on some significant developments elsewhere in the industry were also provided in the papers at the conference. Delegates learnt, for example, that Smart Holograms (see HN Vol 18 No 10) is already well advanced in bringing its first diagnostic holograms to market: the company is working with CibaVision, one of the largest contact lens manufacturers, and they have already made trial versions of the Glucoviewâ„¢ glucose-measuring contact lens, intended as a means of diagnosing requirements for insulin. Production has to be scaled up and clinical trials undertaken, but the company is hopeful that this holographic product can be brought to the market within a year or so.
Delegates also received an update on the rapid progress towards prototypes of the holographic lock and key being made in Leningrad (see HN Vol 19 No 10) and also heard the latest from HoloTouch (see HN Vol 17 No 6). This was in addition to learning about recent inventions in China, including a photonic crystal anticounterfeiting label and four-beam interference patterns.
The overall impression from Holo-packâ€¢Holo-print was of an industry re-invigorated, inventive and innovative, as well as the strength of the Chinese hologram industry. This reinvigoration is not, thankfully, limited to the subjects covered at the conference. This is the season for companies to report their half-year results, if their fiscal year starts in April, or their third quarter results if their fiscal year coincides with the calendar year. This issue of Holography News reports such results from ABNH, CFCI, Hologram Industries and K Laser(and AOT is due to report its half year a few days after this issue goes to press). The two American companies, ABNH and CFCI, report sales growing 41% and 10.4% respectively, and HI, the European representative in this group, reported sales up 39% for its third quarter. Each reports profits (or earnings) with commensurate growth rates. Of these sets of reports, only K Laser reports a fall in sales. Such growth rates have been absent from the holography industry for several years. ABNH can point to the success of its HoloMagnetic stripe as a key driver for this growth, but there is no such single new product from CFCI or HI. So there appears to be (at least in the USA and Western Europe – as represented by
these companies) a new growth spurt in holography sales – which means renewed confidence from hologram customers. This should be shouted form the rooftops: authentication and security remain the largest single use of holograms, but this is also the market most susceptible to the problem of counterfeit holograms – whether a real or a perceived problem. These types of growth figures show that perceptions among customers – who many have feared would abandon holograms because of poor imitations – are not being damaged; or, perhaps have been damaged but are now being repaired. This kind of good news, and the good news from Holopackâ€¢ Holo-pr nt, is an encouragement to the industry and should be loudly proclaimed as we move into 2006.
Spatial Imaging has introduced two new versions of its Lightgate holographic design and mastering system specifically for the security and packaging markets. Spatial’s high speed pixel recording technology ‘Lightspeed’, which won Best of Year in the 2004 Excellence in Holography Awards (see HN Vol 18, Nos 10 and 11), forms the basis of its two new systems. Both are high speed, high resolution direct-write dot matrix origination systems that can vary the grating orientation and spacing of pixels to create a wide variety of different overt and covert effects. The original Lightgate system, now Version 5 and called the B5, can master holograms up to 152mm x 152mm to a maximum resolution of 1016 dpi at a speed of 20-30 pixels per second, with the standard shape limited to circular pixels. Over 30 such systems have been sold since its introduction in 1997. The B5 has now been complemented by the Lightgate P1 and the Lightgate S1 for packaging and security applications respectively. The P1 is a large format system, mastering holograms up to 610mm x610mm, again to a maximum resolution of 1016 dpi at speeds of up to 2,000 pixels per second, enabling super-size images and patterns to be generated I hours or days, rather than months as before. The standard pixel shape is square, although other shapes
can also be accommodated. Whilst the P1 can be used to create large format masters of recombined images, it has been specifically designed for the design and manufacture of large format single images and seamless patterns. The Lightgate S1, meanwhile, has been designed specifically for security holograms.
It can master these up to 152mm x 152mm to a maximum resolution of 4000 dpi at up to 2,000 pixels per second and pixels can be almost any shape – circular, rectangular, square or others. In addition to full colour, multi-channel 3D and dot matrix holograms, the S1 can create laser projected (hidden) images, lenticular decoded holograms and direct write/single beam micro features. According to Rob Munday of Spatial, sales of the S1 will be limited to bona fide customers operating in security printing and anti-counterfeiting markets only. Among hologram manufacturers, for ex a m p l e , IHMA membership is a minimum requirement. The company is also targeting security printers with or without their own hologram production – enabling them, in the latter case, to control the design and, critically, the copyright, of their images even if they subsequently subcontract the production of holograms. The S1 was launched at Holo- pack Holo-print in Shenzhen and has already resulted in one order.
Contact: Spatial Imaging, 6 Marlborough Road,
Richmond, Surrey TW10 6JR, UK. Tel: +44
208332 1948; www.holograms.co.uk.
The Optical Image Processing Division at the Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-C-DIT) in Kerala, India, has produced machine readable photopolymer holograms with variable data in the laboratory, offering the possibility of scaling its process up to mass production for photopolymer labels providing individual information about the document or item they are attached to. Under the direction of Dr Ajith Kumar, the optical division of C-DIT has been producing embossed hologram tax banderols for the government of Kerala for several years, which are laser printed with a serial number. The ability to issue these with a holographic serial number that matched a printed serial number was one of the motives for this research. Kumar and his team have therefore developed an algorithm to create a square of binary data through representing the numbers in a combination of black and white subsquares. The result resembles a 2D barcode, which can be displayed on a spatial light modulator (SLM). In the tests conducted in the lab, the SLM used was the LCD screen of a mobile phone, incidentally demonstrating the robustness of the method in that this relatively low resolution display provided an adequate image for the system to work. The binary square image is recorded to photopolymer as a reflection hologram, which need only be between 0.5mm and a few mm square to record a multi-digit serial number. The binary square can be captured by a CCD camera for transfer to a computer, which can read the number or compare the image to an original stored in a local or remote database. Dr Kumar told Holography News that the challenge they now face is to scale up production and devise a compact reader; his team is working on a ribbon of photopolymer as the recording medium for easy and fast film transport.
For the 13th consecutive year, the International Hologram Manufacturers Association has given Excellence in Holography awards to outstanding holographic projects for the year. Sponsored by Holography News, these awards were presented at the Holo-packâ€¢Holo-print conference dinner in Shenzhen, China, on November 7 for hologram products or techniques introduced over the past year which represent the best in the industry for innovation and commercial potential. The Best of Year Award went to HoloTouch, Atlantex and Holographics North for BeamOne, a holographic user interface for control boards such as keypads and pinpads used in ATMs, kiosks and medical equipment. The interface provides for a ‘virtual’ keyboard with the keys appearing to float in mid air, with operators entering commands simply be passing a finger through the images that represent these keys. The BeamOne technology also won the three companies the award in the Best New Product category. The award was collected by HoloTouch founder and president Douglas McPheters (seen below with IHMA chairman Hugues Souparis), who went on the next day to give a presentation on the technology at the conference. The winner in the Security/Authentication category was Hologram Industries for the new Slovakian passport, the personalisation page of which is protected by the company’s combined DID (Diffractive Image Device) – a zero order diffractive feature – and its high security Alphagram. This is the first application for the feature, and is applied as a thin film HRI laminate. Commended in this category was Beijing Sanyou for telephone cards for China Mobile, in which holography is used in three different ways – as a full surface transparent laminate on one side, as a holographic scratch-off panel on the other and also as metallised patches on the clear wraps use to pack the cards – to enhance both security and brand impact.
Winners in the Packaging category were Pt Pura Barutama and PT Bintang of Indonesia for the anti-counterfeiting device used on the packaging of Extra Joss powdered energy drinks, comprising a demetallised holographic stripe applied to the inside of the existing OPP wrapping and micro-laser perforation alongside for ease of opening. Commended in this category were holographic paper manufacturer Vacumet along with Seneca Printing and Wavefront for the visually stunning holographic box sets of the board game Pictionary, launched by Hasbro to celebrate the game’s 20th anniversary.
The Promotion/Illustration category was won by CFC International, Corus Packaging Plus and Crown Specialty Packaging for the seasonal gift packaging for Nicolas Feuillate champagne, comprising a tin canister with a holographic film that, despite being laminated to the hot steel, retained its image quality to produce a highly attractive container. In the new category of Best Industrial Product, introduced this year, the winners were Hspace, Visual Impact Technologies and
Waterjet Workshop for The Spectrum collection of holographic glass tiles that change colour and effects in different lighting conditions. Designed for the architectural and interior design markets, the collection is the culmination of 25 years work from concept to commercial production of holographic glass at affordable prices.
Product award went to HoloTouch which, as above, which also won Best of the Year. Commended in this category was Dr Kwan Ming, an independent holographer from China, for the development of the Yung Hologram which can be produced in daylight conditions using traditional printing methods such as offset, silkscreen, inkjet and laser printing without the need for lasers, photosensitive materials or optics. Winners of the Best New Holographic Technique were Eskay
Holographics and Henderson Engineering for their dual method hot and cold wide web embosser, which embosses packaging films at the rate of 200m per minute and offers tremendous flexibility and versatility in holographic production. Finally, the Brian Monaghan Award for Business Achievement was awarded to Gunther Dausmann of Dausmann Holographics – a leader in innovation in the industry, particularly in the sphere of photopolymer holograms and the developer of the holographic technology that is now in use to secure German passports and ID cards. Recipients of this award, introduced in memory of Brian Monaghan, a major hologram innovator who died in 2002, are chosen by the IHMA Board for their personal contribution to and influence on the development of the hologram industry.
The trophies for the winners were holographic megaliths in black glass (see above), designed and supplied by Hspace (an award winner itself in the Industrial category) for the second year running, and were presented, along with certificates for the runners-up, by IHMA chairman Hugues Souparis. The full list of this year’s awards and commendations for outstanding projects with accompanying photos can be found on the IHMA
Award: Hologram Industries for the combined DID/Alphagram on the new Slovakian passport
Commended: Beijing Sanyou for China Mobile telephone cards
Award: PT Pura Barutama and PT Bintang for the security packaging for Extra Joss high-energy powdered drinks
Commended: Vacumet, Seneca Printing and Wavefront for Pictionary
Award: CFC International, Corus Packaging Plus and Crown Specialty Packaging for the holographic tin canister for Nicolas Feuillate Champagne
Award: Hspace, Visual Impact Technologies and Waterjet Workshop for the Spectrum collection of holographic glass tiles
Award: HoloTouch, At l a n t ex and Holographics North for BeamOne virtual keyboards and pinpads
Commended: Dr Kwan Ming for direct generation and printing of 3D images via desktop printers
Award: Eskay Holographics and Henderson Engineering for their dual method hot and cold wide web embosser
Award: HoloTouch, At l a n t ex and Holographics North for BeamOne virtual keyboards and pinpads
Award: Gunther Dausmann, Dausmann Holographics
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The recent rise in American Bank Note Holographics’ share price may have prompted many people to sell their shares but it came as a surprise when, at the beginning of December, ABNH announced the resignation of Douglas Crane from their board following Crane & Co’s notice to the company that it intended to sell some or all of its 3.4 million shares in an orderly manner directly to institutional investors. Crane gave the reason for its decision as the liquidity needs of its own company.
Crane, manufacturers of paper for the US currency, bought its shares, which represented 19.9% of ABNH’s outstanding stock, for $9.3m in 2000, at a time when the company was recovering from the revenue inflation scandal prior to the company’s flotation in 1998. This resulted in a collapse in the share price, the suspensions of trading and criminal and civil action being taken against members of the previous management. The new management team under Salvatore d’Amato and Kenneth Traub had been in place for well over a year by At the Holo-packâ€¢Holo-print conference, Kabilan Satyamoorthy of Smart Holograms revealed that the company in collaboration with CIBAVision are now developing and testing a diagnostic contact lens for diabetics. While there are many hurdles to overcome, including clinical trials, this brings closer the commercial reality of sensor holograms. Smart Holograms has devised a method to create polymer holograms that are engineered to respond to specific stimuli, where the response is clearly visible with a measurable colour change. A key market for this technique is medical diagnostics, and the company has produced a hologram sensitive to concentrations of glucose which can be incorporated into the polymer material of a contact lens (see HN Vol 18 No 10). This product has now advanced to prototyping with CIBAVision, one of the world’s largest contact lens producers, under the name Glucoviewâ„¢.
The contact lens incorporates a 2mm diameter hologram tuned to glucose that show concentrations of this in the eye’s natural moisture (tear fluid). The lens can be optically plain or a prescription lens, so that it can be worn permanently. If the wearer’s glucose levels move beyond the specified limits, the lens reacts. The wearer will not notice the colour change (probably being told by colleagues if the production models match the lurid shift to red-orange of the prototypes!) and will require use a small eye reader device to record and measure the far-red colour shift. As presently envisaged, this device will link wirelessly to a phone or computer, so the diabetic can send the read-out to his or her clinician for diagnosis and adjustment of their insulin dose. The reaction is reversible, so that the lens reverts to its previous state when the glucose level returns to normal. The potential market for this sensor hologram can be gauged from the fact that there are 194 million diabetics worldwide and the market for self-testing systems (which require a blood sample) is currently worth $6 billion and is growing at 18% per annum. Smart is also making progress on its Pathotesterâ„¢ reader to detect pathogens. This is a hand-held sensor to detect live – and therefore infective – bacteria. A swab of the suspect organisms is inserted into a cartridge into which a growth medium is introduced, and the cartridge placed in the Patho-tester. The growth chamber contains a sensor hologram which within minutes reacts to the growth of the bacteria. Different cartridges will contain holograms tuned to different organisms, so that one tester can be used on site to detect a variety of infective bacteria. Apparently current testing methods are all lab based, requiring transport of the samples to the lab, whereas Smart’s Pathotester is rapid and portable. Smart has the potential to produce holograms tuned to a large number of stimuli, but these two applications, both with working prototypes, show the rapid progress the company is making and the potential for this wholly new use of holograms.
2005 has been a year of innovation and growth for holography: in recent issues we have reported various new developments and the encouraging part-year financial results from several public companies. These include American Bank Note Holographics, CFC International, OpSec (AOT) and Hologram Industries; their good financial returns are, in each case, a result of innovative projects, demonstrating how beneficial continued and substantial research and development can be, whether that is in technology or marketing.
But the rewards are not always immediate and patience is indeed a virtue. In the commentary on its SEC filings for the period ended September 30 2005, ABNH points out that the 54% rise in sales for the quarter, compared to 2004, was largely the result of the adoption of its HoloMagâ„¢ stripe by Visa and MasterCard. Our 10 Years Ago feature has shown that ABNH introduced holomagnetic stripes over a decade ago, which means that the R&D started well before that. HoloMag sells at a higher price than the hot-stamp hologram on credit cards, and the switchover means that there will be an early peak in demand from these two customers, but the product is likely to be adopted by other products that use magnetic stripes. CFCI, producer of the magnetic stripe component and laminator of the hologram to the stripe, has also benefited from the adoption of HoloMag. Getting this adopted by Visa and MasterCard has required an extended and co-ordinated marketing effort, nurturing these two prime customers through the trials and tribulations of a strategic change such as this. A similarly patient marketing effort was required by Hologram Industries for its Meditagâ„¢ hologram, the key component of the Meditag medicines control project
introduced by the Malaysian Ministry of Health earlier this year. This is a sophisticated, multi-level security hologram; while it may contain covert security elements we are not aware of, based on published information it is not technically innovative (except in the combination of techniques), but the Meditag project is certainly innovative. While the Ministry of Health takes the credit for the impetus behind the project, much credit also goes to Mediharta, the Malay company which operates the project for the Ministry, and to Hologram Industries. These two companies worked together closely and over an extended period, with the Ministry, to devise and implement the whole Meditag system of issuing numbered holograms to licensed companies. The innovation lies in the concept and implementation of the project, but HI will benefit from a four-year contract worth at least ?2m annually (according to our estimates). With the project launched this year it presumably contributed to HI’s reported 39% increase in sales for the quarter ended September 30 2005.
Applied Optical Technologies plc (now trading under the OpSec name) has moved from loss to profit in its half year results to September 30. While there are several contributory factors, the company acknowledges that the supply of baggage inspection labels to the US Transportation Security Administration ‘contributed strongly’ to a 15% increase in sales in its US operation, despite a fall in the ID market. This label is perhaps the least innovative of the holograms discussed here (which is not a criticism – it meets the customer’s requirements), and the application of a label to denote screened airline baggage is perhaps not as comprehensively innovative as the Meditag project. But nonetheless this is a coherent project with clear objectives, which presumably involved suppliers in discussion of the requirements, the design, the application procedures and therefore the materials needed in the hologram label construction. And which presumably will be a long-term use of holograms.
These are all strategic projects with various degrees of innovation, whether in the customer’s strategy or the hologram itself. Each has brought a measurable benefit to the supplier which can be expected to last several years; they are due reward for these companies’ innovation and marketing patience, and directly demonstrate the financial value of innovation in holography. The transparency of these public companies’ reports allows these to be used as illustrations of this fact – there are also innovations from private companies, who no doubt similarly benefit. Continued investment in R&D and marketing patience has direct rewards!
The BEP cancels its RPF for optically active security windowed thread for the new $100, dashing industry hopes that the flagship denomination would feature a hologram; nevertheless, holograms on banknotes continue to rise, with over half of the world’s 180 issuing authorities now using them; ABNH announces plans to consolidate its two operations on a new site; General Vacuum introduces a new compact metalliser, bringing metallising within the reach of narrow web producers; tesa scribos unveils details of its Holospot variable data hologram; Menzel launches a machine vision system for controlling web handling of holographic films during finishing.
CFC International reports record sales and profits for 2004, and Hologram Industries also reported increased sales for the year; the Shearwater Foundation closes; API is rumoured to be in acquisition talks with ITW.
Visa announces the replacement of the iconic Visa Dove hologram with ABNH’s HoloMag holographic magnetic stripes; a new standards body for holographic storage makers emerges with the aim of speeding up the push to commercialise data storage disk capacity above 1 terabyte; reflection hologram producer OpGraphics closes its doors.
Chinese holographic packaging producer Holotek doubles sales and profits in 2004 and announces plans for 50% growth in 2005; Vacumet acquires PROMA (formerly Van Leer Metallised Products); ABNH announces record sales and profits for 2004; discussions between ITW and API on a takeover are called off; up to 25 people are reported to have died in Turkey from consuming fake raki liquor which had been ‘authenticated’ with holograms stolen from a bottling plant several months earlier.
CFC International announces it is in talks to be acquired by an affiliate of Audax; Brazilian company Polygrama launches a new photopolymer for holography; Flex Products unveils its new colour shift SecureShift Phantom label with diffractive effects; garment and retail label manufacturer Paxar announces the formation of a brand protection business unit in which holographic labels will be a key product offering.
James River Products closes; a new JV is announced between Alfa Machine and Digital Matrix to supply electroforming and embossing equipment; after several delays, the Meditag project, comprising holographic authentication labels on all pharmaceutical products in Malaysia, is launched; AOT reports lower sales and lower net losses for 2004/2005, while De La Rue reports lower sales but higher profits; Idvac launches a new process for chrome coatings for holograms; ADNAS reports the successful development of holograms incorporating DNA taggants; the month’s technology profile on large format colour in display holography covers Zebra’s Imager and Haptic Workstation, the XYZ large format colour reflection hologram printer and Colour Holographic’s 400% sales growth.
Component Solutions LLC is set up to take on and expand the operations of the now-defunct James River Products; ANI Printing Inks launches HolographINK; in the month’s technology profile on embossing equipment, Alfa unveils its plans to build sales of embossing units; Holman Technology announces its return to its core business as an equipment and contract shim manufacturer; MHT introduces two new embossing lines; SCANA comments that it is reconsidering a return to the market as a replacement for JRP; Eskay Holographics gives an update on the wide web embossing and other pre-press systems it has co-developed with Henderson Engineering.
HoloTek and Holo-Source announce a new JV to market holographic packaging materials in North America; InPhase Technologies demonstrates its prototype holographic data storage system and raises $32m for further development; Hologram Industries reports a booming first half; Sherwood Technology launches the DigiVU OVD; TecScan Electronics unveils two systems for the in-line inspection of holograms during production; Optware announces plans to raise $14m to accelerate the development of its HVD storage technology; Ver-tec gives details of its silver halide-based Biometrigram technology.
The Audax acquisition of CFCI is called off; Geola sets up two new subsidiaries to market large format colour holograms from XYZ Imaging; AOT announces plans to transfer its listing to AIM; ABNH profits rise again; Eskay expands into new premises as it focuses on wide web embossing equipment; Physical Optics Corporation seeks commercial partners for its OptiKey and 3-D video technologies; Mastercard follows Visa in adopting ABNH’s HoloMag.
New Chinese banknotes feature holograms; major changes are underway in the Russian tax stamp market; DuPont acquires 100% of its photopolymer hologram JV; Hologram Industries offers a simplified DID foil for currency; Garware gives details of its new embossable polyester; the development of holographic methods for facial reconstruction and surgical planning are reported; details of a new holographic lock and key system for doors are unveiled; the 4th Holo-packâ€¢Holo-print Industry Study and Market Report is announced.
Holo-packâ€¢Holo-print in Shenzhen is the most successful yet; De La Rue Holographics develops its own version of holographic magnetic stripes; IHMA recognises Eastern Europe as a separate area as membership reaches record levels; upward trend in sales and profits as companies report third quarter results; the successful outcome of the hologram-based authentication programme for the 2004 Olympics is reported; Spatial Imaging expands its Lightgate range of origination systems; the SilverCross colour hologram emulsion project receives EU funding; Idvac develops gold coatings; C-DIT reveals details of its photopolymer serialization project.
Smart Holograms reports on its progress with sensor holograms for diagnostics; Crane sells its share in ABNH; De La Rue and AOT announce higher interim profits; API reports improvements in profits and the sale of Chromagem; Motion – a new high security alternative to holograms – is launched; Zebra designs a new holographic imaging machine for the military.
1995 was the year for holographic packaging, as characterised in the review of the year in the December Holography News issue. Sharing the front page with this review, news of a 9 billion sq in (5.8m sq m) order from PepsiCo in the USA confirmed this trend. This order was to adorn 10 million winter seasonal supermarket packs of Pepsi Cola and Mountain Dew, and at the time was reported as the largest single order yet for holographic material. The two hologram patterns were originated by Chromagen and manufactured by Applied Physics Research, a subsidiary of Printpack (one of the largest flexible packaging converters in the USA). The adoption of holographic material for the launch of Aquafresh Whitening toothpaste was an even more significant move, because this was not a short-lived promotional pack but the brand identity for this
new product. The effects are still with us a decade later as holography remains a common material on the dental care shelves.
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