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Etching below the surface

Etching below the surface
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A laser that can write on the inside of glass without damaging the outside is revolutionising anti-counterfeit procedures in industries from pharmaceuticals to luxury goods.

Axel Kupisiewicz is the founder of Trackinside which makes the laser. He says: “We have developed a laser technology that allows us to make markings inside transparent materials without damaging them in any way.

“There are no fissures, no cracks, nothing. And we’re not using any additives, like ink, so there are no consumables. We use nothing but laser to put the hologram inside the glass.”

The laser system can etch a unique code below the surface of glass containers, at a rate of 10 engravings per second. The focused laser beam leaves permanent marks that do not weaken the container and can easily be read by a computer.

Trackinside’s managing director, Jean-Michel Mestrez, explains the procedure: “A camera captures the code and puts it on screen, allowing the system to decode the information contained in the data matrix. It can also check the anti-counterfeiting data we have included in the code.”

Counterfeiting is a growing problem for pharmaceutical companies. Marking the containers with a technique that does not cause any damage means fake medicines cannot be mistaken for the genuine article.

The result is unlimited tracking and tracing possibilities for various markets.

Axel Kupisiewicz says: “This new technology that we have developed satisfies the demands of the pharmaceutical sector that wants to put markings inside the bottles’ surface in a non-damaging way. It’s also useful for the luxury sector to put, for example, logos on their perfume bottles to guarantee their authenticity.”

This pan-European project has a global reach, as companies throughout the world can make use of its results.

High-profile potential clients can make this innovative solution a global standard of laser-marking technology. The cooperative structure of the project simplifies its goals.

“What makes this project special is that intellectual property isn’t kept within each entity, instead we’ve created a common entity, where each company can put its intellectual property, patents and capital to commercialize the technology,” concludes Axel Kupisiewicz.