Heidelberg and partner companies explore new technology for more secure documents

Around 120 customers from all over the world was well as representatives from government agencies attended the second Security Printing Day held by Heidelberg at its Wiesloch-Walldorf site in Germany.
Around 120 customers from all over the world was well as reps from government agencies attended the second Security Printing Day held by Heidelberg at its Wiesloch-Walldorf site in Germany April 10.

What state-of-the-art technologies are available today for adding security features to ID documents to make them counterfeit-proof? This question was the focus of the second Security Printing Day held April 10, 2018 by Heidelberg at its Wiesloch-Walldorf production facility in Germany. The event was attended by about 120 customers from all over the world as well as representatives from government agencies. “If public officials want to recognize counterfeits, they need to know what is and isn’t technically possible today,” explained Joachim Hüber, Product Manager Security Printing Applications at Heidelberg. Visitors learned about the latest trends and the best methods to combat counterfeiting in workshops and seminars – and directly in front of a six-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 75 designed specifically for security printing.

Security printing with growth potential. The risk of counterfeits of all kinds is growing in the age of the Internet and the resulting easier access to technologies. Government agencies and manufacturers of sensitive documents therefore place great value on maximum security for unequivocal identification of the holders of these documents. ID documents such as identity cards, passports or drivers’ licenses, as well as staff badges and admission tickets for sporting events and concerts, are therefore becoming more and more complex in their structure and design. While security printing may be considered a niche market for the printing industry, these signs point to it offering excellent potential through substantial growth.

Heidelberg Speedmaster XL-75.
Heidelberg Speedmaster XL-75.

Intensive cooperation with numerous partner companies is important, said the Heidelberg. “Not only banknotes and securities, but also identity cards, drivers’ licenses and the like, feature numerous and very different security features today.” Most of these documents, said the OEM, are based on plastic cards consisting of several components in the check card format of 86 x 54 millimeters. Adding security features like holograms, very fine lines and writing or imprints, requires a wide variety of competencies from a range of different specialists. “Printing competency” is just one of these. Heidelberg, as one of the world’s leading providers of systems and components for security printing, therefore traditionally works very closely with highly specialized partner companies. Around a dozen of them were involved in theevent with their own presentations. These partners offered technology for all stages of the value chain – from prepress to press to postpress. “Not just the technologies themselves, but also the counterfeiters are always improving,” Hüber added. “That’s why we and our partners always need to be One Step Ahead of them with our ideas, competencies, technologies and solutions.”

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.