By John A. Peters, OVD Kinegram AG.
This article discusses new document design possibilities using technological advances in diffractive optically variable devices, laser personalization and antenna manufacturing. These key security features of government documents can be designed simultaneously to create an integrated functionality, which enhances visual recognition and counterfeit detection.
During the document design process some mandatory features such as optically variable devices, laser-engraved images and the electronic components are often introduced as “add-ons” that should not detract from the aesthetic appeal of the pre-printed substrate. This approach can lead to the inclusion of “disconnected” features which are more susceptible to replacement or removal, to create a new counterfeit document. In the case of optically variable devices, if the image portrayed by the feature exhibits no obvious relation to the rest of the document design, the inspector must have prior knowledge of the security elements in order to gain confidence in its authenticity.
Integration by design
New security laminate designs using the KINEGRAM ZERO. ZERO technology provide unique opportunities to combine dynamic images of the diffractive OVD (Optically Variable Device) with the static pre-printed design on the substrate. The use of an open structure of fine metallic lines with brilliant kinematic movement, truly perfect registration and high-resolution enables the creation of images, which are relatively easy to combine with the underlying pre-print and biographic data. Since the combination of features exhibits the complete image, manipulation or removal of any single element becomes more noticeable, even without prior knowledge of the design.
The high resolution, fine-line metallic structures in perfect registration with the diffractive elements, exhibit the optical brilliance of 100% metal combined with the transparency of high-refractive index non-metallic coatings. These are ideal conditions for optimizing the integration of the KINEGRAM with the background document design, so that counterfeit attempts become easier to detect.
By way of example, Fig. 1 shows an arbitrary background card design with fine pre-printed lines and open areas to accommodate the primary photo and its shadow image. Also to be seen in the bottom right corner is the shadow of a tree without the tree. During the personalization process, the photographs, as well as the biographic data, are printed together with any additional document design features such as the colorful header with the ID number or other personalized information.
In contrast to the conventional approach, the KINEGRAM ZERO.ZERO laminate not only protects the personalized data, but now also completes the document design, as depicted in Fig. 2.
The fine-line metallized structure, overlapping the printed photo and biographic data, cross-hatches with the pre-printed lines and depicts the image of a bird flying from the bottom left into the flock which expands, contracts and changes shape.
A metallized image of a tree to pair with the pre-printed tree shadow envelopes the secondary image with an overlying lens effect. The flying birds are depicted with Surface Relief structures appearing to protrude from the surface. The metallized header has unmetallized text which appears colorful, deriving the color from the printed header design.
Finally, the right hand side of the metallized header has just the right degree of transparency to allow the pre-printed ID number to become visible, only after tilting the card to a certain angle.
Therefore, we have the choice of completing the document design and then introducing the security features as add-ons, or we can make the security feature an integral part of the document design. Clearly, using the latter approach, the task of the counterfeiter is much more difficult, while the document examiner can gain more trust in the authenticity of a document, even without detailed knowledge of the security features.
Integration during system personalization
Another example of design integration is now possible thanks to technological advancements in the KINEGRAM ZERO.ZERO technology and laser personalization techniques.
A product called KINEGRAM ZERO.ZERO Combi is embedded in the polycarbonate and positioned so as to overlap with the primary photo (Fig. 3). The metallized fine-lines, as well as the metallized crown image, are enclosed in the 6-sided polygon. The remaining KINEGRAM structures are transparent; prepared using non-metallic coatings.
As shown in Fig. 4, when the polycarbonate card is personalized using conventional laser processes, the metallized zones over-lapping the photo area are evaporated due to the laser energy. This results in a loss of the optical structure in the personalized zone.
However, using a specially developed laser engraving process, the card can be personalized beneath the KINEGRAM layer without evaporation of the metallized diffractive structures. Thus the original structure and visual appearance of the KINEGRAM is retained. (Fig. 5)
As can be seen in these images, the laser engraving has occurred in between the metallized structures, without ablation of the metal. OVD Kinegram acknowledges the support of IAI Industrial Systems for producing the sample cards to demonstrate this technology. Since any attempt to laser personalize the photo without the use of the process key will lead to destruction of the metallization and diffractive movements, this solution provides protection against the fraudulent personalization of lost or stolen card blanks, as well as against fraudulent laser tampering to modify a personalized image.
Integration of electronic components
A further example of design integration using the components of the RFID inlay is possible thanks to the use of a new antenna manufacturing technology.
In typical document designs today, the physical security features are on the outer layers and as such, they are totally divorced from the electronic components, namely the chip and the antenna, which are concealed in the core. However, the antenna could be designed to exhibit a characteristic and customized image, which is specific to that document.
Furthermore, this characteristic image could also be made visible from the outside, through a transparent window in the document, as shown in Fig. 6. In such a case, it becomes a lot more difficult for the counterfeiter to substitute the electronic components.
In addition to forming the antenna with a customized form and shape, this document specific form may include a KINEGRAM inlay (Fig. 7) or a KINEGRAM diffractive image integrated in the antenna material (Fig. 8).
There is yet another benefit in using this approach. As shown in Fig. 9, with prudent positioning of the customized antenna image, this feature can be used to protect the photograph from tampering attempts from the rear of the card. Attempts to remove the photograph from the rear will result in destruction of the customized image and will also disengage the electronic functionality.
In summary, we have shown that thanks to innovative developments in KINEGRAM ZERO.ZERO technology, advanced laser engraving techniques and novel antenna manufacturing processes, there are new opportunities to simultaneously design these elements to create an integrated functionality, which enhances visual recognition and counterfeit detection.
However, a prerequisite to achieve this design integration is the early involvement of all component providers in the document design process.
KINEGRAM and KINEGRAM ZERO.ZERO are registered trademarks of OVD Kinegram AG.