It's a gem ! Sapphire sparkles in hollographic and hot stamping foil security applications


Ever since the terrorist attacks in the United States and the Bali bombings, security issues have become foremost in most government minds as well as in the international business community at large. Newspapers, television and business organisations have concentrated on the weaknesses associated with security in an attempt to at least make it harder for these events to occur. Relatively common identification documents have become suspect and various means to authenticate their validity are becoming widespread. But it is not just the threat of terrorism that has to be tackled, counterfeiting, tampering and theft is said to cost both industry and ultimately the consumer an estimated $960 billion or around 7 percent of world trade.

On top of the financial costs, product piracy, tampering and counterfeiting has also cost lives, with at least one plane and one coach crash linked to sub-standard pirated component parts. Counterfeit pharmaceutical products are a major problem in the Far East, Africa and South America as well.

Fortunately the methods and the materials used to counter criminal and terrorist activities are now enormous. The armoury of global security measures now includes radio frequency identification (RFID), micro-taggants, holograms, security adhesives, colour changing inks, florescent inks, and much more.

To implement many of these security measures the converter needs to invest in the best equipment available, not just sophisticated embossing hologram production lines and electroforming stations but also in slitters and other equipment to process delicate foils, papers and other materials, many of which involve careful tension control.

UK-based ASHE Converting Equipment has been chosen to supply bespoke slitting and rewinding solutions for a number of converters engaged in producing security products. Keith Fordham, Ashe Converting Equipment's Chief Engineer says that eight Sapphire slitters have been supplied to UK converters in this sector.

All eight machines have been engineered to accomodate the special requirements of slitting and rewinding narrow slits on 1" and 3" rewind cores for the hot stamping foil and holographic market.

These Sapphires have variously been equipped with a shaftless unwind and splice table with internal trash winders. Each machine has razor or driven rotary shear slitting and includes PC operator interface with full menu storage. All of the Sapphires have a web width of 1650mm with 600mm maximum diameter rewind on the 3" cores. These top-flight performing machines can wind up at 450 m.p.m. on 3" cores, or 300 m.p.m. on 1" cores. Two trim winders per machine have also been included. Keith Fordhasm points out that these Sapphires are designed to meet the specific and very low-tension requirements - 1.kKg for the full web width per shaft.

The benifits of holograms for security purposes are well known, it is however a fairly costly process. Great precision is necessary to keep waste to a minimum wjhile ensuring the highest quality standards during processing. These Sapphires are helping the customer to meet these objectives.