US security tagging group Authentix has acquired UK company Security Print Solutions for an undisclosed sum.
The US company gains a £10 million well invested print business with experience with level one and level two security applications to add to its own level three security products. These include tagging products that can be used to authenticate banknotes, spirits and others where absolute validity is essential.
Level one products include the tax stamps, holograms, watermarks and heat reactive inks that help a consumer identify that currency or packaging is valid; level two products include fluorescing images, micro text and invisible inks that can be checked by a shopkeeper with some specialist equipment. The level three technologies include hidden keys within inks and varnishes that require forensic analysis to identify.
This is where Authentix has made its reputation, helping identify fuels that are traded around the globe to ensure that they remain as pure at the pump as when leaving the refinery. The same techniques can be used to validate high value spirits and wines, pharmaceuticals and high value fiduciary documents.
SPS was set up by Jim Crowther, previously at De La Rue, in 1982. It operates from a factory in Durham, close to De La Rue’s Gateshead site and to the Centre for Process Innovation which has pioneered the development of printed electronics. To date SPS has focused on revenue protection, mainly through production of tax stamps for customers across the globe. It also produces cheques and education certificates which may be the target of fraud or counterfeiting.
It has been trying to push into track and trace areas where the Authentix tagging and markers approach sits closely with the more visible SPS techniques.
Authentix chief executive Kevin McKenna says: “A key element of our growth plan includes integration of a high security printing operation into our organisation and we can’t think of a higher quality candidate than SPS.
“This strategic acquisition expands our portfolio of security technologies to grow our support in tax recovery programs for governments as well as increasing the scope of offerings for our brand protection clients.”
The company has worked with HP Indigo to include its Sherlox covert markers into the electroink used by the presses. This allows printers to offer brands a means to providing secure packaging. One of the first to adopt this is labels group CCL which ran the first trials of the authentication technology on its Indigo presses.
By Gareth Ward