It won't come out in the wash

by Jeremy Plimmer

tamper resistance security checks chemical reagents

Posted on Friday, July 6, 2012


Standard Register introduces ChemScratch

SRI Specialty Materials, part of the 100-year old Standard Register Company (SR), recently released a new security/interactive ink system (RepuTec-ChemScratch) that provides a multi-layered approach to stopping chemical washing fraud. SRI Specialty Materials is located in Dayton, Ohio and provides specialty inks, coatings and adhesives to print converters around the globe.

Criminals have attacked high value documents with chemical wash for decades with great success. Considerable profits can be achieved by washing and then altering prescriptions, checks, receipts, ownership and identity documents. The harm done to our global society is immense. Just consider the loss of life each year due to prescription fraud and abuse. Non-medical prescription overdose deaths are now the leading cause of accidental death in America surpassing auto accident deaths in recent years. A study of most countries will reveal the epidemic size of this problem. We can also measure the harm to society in the billions of dollars diverted each year.

Over the years several fraud prevention inks and coatings have been implemented to combat these crimes with varying degrees of success. We have seen chemical stain and chemical void security paper, bleed and chemically-reactive inks successfully attacked by criminals.

In 2011, world-renowned security consultant Frank Abagnale approached SRI to collaborate on a solution for a large company experiencing chemical washing receipt fraud. Direct thermal receipts were being washed by criminals negating a number of security features incorporated into the paper and print. The timing was perfect since Standard Register was also responding to a number of global market requests to fight prescription and value document chemical washing fraud issues.

SR’s Dr. Raj Mehta, chief chemist and director, and John Harden, global director and certified security consultant, successfully developed a laser printer safe security system now marketed under the brand name RepuTec-ScratchChem. The system includes a hidden message that is revealed if the area is exposed to chemical washing agents such as acetone and alcohol. The system also provides a laser-printable top layer that can be validated for authenticity without the use of special tools. This validation layer provides protection against photocopy, desktop scanning and counterfeit fraud through the use of special interactive properties of the flexographic ink. The chemistry makes use of toner receptor properties combined with a number of interactive ink properties for validation layered with a totally new chemical wash protection layering.

When Mr. Abagnale reviewed this new solution his reaction was “Finally! A solution that actually works”… This is one of the most innovative printed security solutions in years”. Mr. Abagnale also commented that this was an important development in the on-going global fight against prescription fraud and abuse.

Dr. Mehta commented, “This is an exciting breakthrough because the chemistry behind the product is the convergence of several different proprietary solutions SR has developed over the past 20 years.” He states that the solution is only possible due to past innovations for toner-receptive, chemically reactive and security/interactive inks. Dr. Mehta added “Without this history of security innovation we could never have had this success.” Dr. Mehta is the inventor of nearly 60 patented inks and coatings.

Companies and agencies around the globe are expressing interest. “It is exciting to be able to bring a totally new security ink system to market that can be applied to fight so many fraud issues. We can now offer real hope to those focused on fighting to protect our communities from prescription fraud and those working to protect their brands, company reputation and profits. The market reaction has been great.” John Harden told Product & Image Security during a recent telephone  conversation.

This, and other articles relating to security print developments can be viewed in the July/August issue of Product & Image Security Newsletter: Please follow suscribe link.






About Jeremy Plimmer

Jeremy Plimmer has 35 years of experience in the security related print and packaging industry working originally as sales development director for manufacturers of passports, high security print and labels and more recently as a consultant. He is a graduate member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Fellow of the Institute of Minerals, Materials and Mining, chairman of the West Midlands Packaging Society as well as vice chairman of the East Midlands Packaging Society.

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About the foundation

The Product & Image Security Foundation is a non-profit making trade association which was originally formed under the name of Label & Tag Security International (LTSI) in the early 1990's.

Today it operates with more than 100 members in 27 countries and is the premier international forum for manufacturers, suppliers and users of labels, tags, packaging, identification systems, materials and systems for any form of product security, brand image protection or product traceability applications and technology.