What state-of-the-art technologies are available for adding security features to ID documents to make them counterfeit-proof? This question was the focus of the second Security Printing Day held by Heidelberg at its Wiesloch-Walldorf site. It was attended by around 120 customers from all over the world as well as representatives from government agencies like the German Federal Criminal Police Office. “If public officials want to recognize counterfeits, they need to know what is and isn’t technically possible today,” explains Joachim Hüber, product manager Security Printing Applications at Heidelberg. The visitors learned about the latest trends and the best current methods in workshops, seminars, and directly at a 6-color 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 like 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 a niche for the print media industry, these signs point to it offering good potential and substantial growth rates.
Cooperation with partner companies is important
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 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 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 the Security Day with their own presentations. These partners offer 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,” says Hüber. “That’s why we and our partners always need to be one step ahead of them with our ideas, competencies, technologies, and solutions.”