Digital Variable Embossing of Holographic Images Revolutionises Anti-Counterfeiting

Nanografix Corporation/Hologramas de Mexico Group was founded in 1984 by Dan Lieberman to develop and market brand protection and document security solutions based on holographic and optical structures.

For over 30 years, major recurring questions with hologram applications have been:

• Is there a way to manufacture holograms or optical structures instantly in such a way that each one is unique and variable?
• Is there a way to manufacture holograms that is more effective and less expensive than embossing and UV casting?
• Can the production of holograms and optical structures be integrated within the printing process in a single pass to improve productivity and minimise supply chain disruptions?

In the last 15 years, Dan Lieberman has focused his R&D on finding the right answers, and he is now introducing a novel technology where a 3-dimensional optical structure is directly digitally ‘printed’ on a substrate (paper, board, polymer), with variable embossed digital holographic data embedded in the optical structure that can be read either with a proprietary scanning device or with a smartphone app.

With this technology, printers will be able to create their own variable embossed holographic images in-house and on the fly on their printing press. Digital variable embossing of holography just becomes one extra ink in the printing process, that falls in register with the other ‘inks’ in a single pass, thanks to a dedicated print attachment designed as an add-on to existing web- or sheet-fed presses.

Process steps are:

a. A proprietary software collects original images and prepares them in a special file that is stored on a database and is ready to be sent to the optical print attachment. The print attachment control system then feeds a different optical or holographic image together with different data to each printed document, at a printing speed compatible with that of banknote, security document or packaging presses. Images may also contain overt and covert optical security features that are also unique to each printed document.
b. Inside the print attachment the special file ‘prints’ a pattern on the substrate in register to the other inks already printed by the host press.

To fully understand the concept of the technology, optical structures must be thought of as a combination of patterned relief (similar to engraving, embossing or to the tactile effect of intaglio ink on paper) and tiny dots of inks (pixels) entangled in the patterned relief.

Being configured as an attachment, the optical print unit can be easily implemented as a retrofit on any offset, flexographic, digital, or numbering press, as well as on an inspection or finishing machine. Its operation does not require any extra handling and storage of printed security material.

That innovative technology achieves the long sought out physical-digital convergence of security features, reaching an all-new level of document security and counterfeit deterrence, whilst making holography affordable for the first time in a wide range of applications.

It is ideal for banknotes, ID documents, and brand protection, enabling instant authentication through machine-readable personalised features.