Plastics News K Show Daily - October 16, 2013 - (Page 14)

14 • PLASTICS NEWS, October 16, 2013 Firm sees secure future in anti-counterfeiting work PLASTICS NEWS STAFF Counterfeiting in electronics is a widespread, costly problem. Products made with a resin blend containing Polysecure’s marker can be verified in the field using a mobile sensor. the resin, which then gets shipped back to the customer, secured and shrink-wrapped. “You blend it into a masterbatch. You extrude it into a masterbatch, repelletize it,” said executive Jochen Mösslein. “And then the injection molder just molds it from the new [material]. So basically the material marker is just like a pigment, just a new recipe component of the entire compound. He injects this com- credit 1970s American television for its innovative idea. Chemist Thomas Baque was at home watching reruns of Quincy, FREIBURG, GERMANY — In a world a TV show about a coroner who of copycats — in China yes, but solves murders. Inspiration even the guy down the street — a struck when Quincy found a clue: German company has developed tiny particles of evidence in a a way to mark products, using forensic examination. tiny particles blended in a mas“I got the idea for our first, core terbatch of plastics. product,” Baque said, chuckling. Polysecure GmbH’s nine emJust like a detective show, Polyployees occupy one floor of a Secure has a back story: After collow-key technology incubator in lege, Baque got a job at Ferro Corp. in Cleveland. Later, he moved to Israeli nylon producer Nilit Ltd. “I developed plastics mostly for public transportation, flameretardant nylons,” Baque said. They were halogen-free nylons used for planes, trains and ships. Efforts to copy Nilit’s innovations upset the chemist, so Baque — inspired by Polysecure blends a unique marker, in powder form, into each customer’s resin. The Quincy — developed marker can be identified later — in resin, or even once it is molded into a part — by sev- his concepts in the eral methods, including optically using a laser pointer. early 2000s. Back then, it was not as easy to Freiburg, a city in southern Ger- pound and it’s disseminated so analyze a product and make an exact copy as it is today, he said. many near the Swiss border. The easily through the products.” The marker disperses widely “It’s not only the Chinese. It’s 4-year-old company’s profile gets higher with every news story through the molded part and does also European companies, beabout fake products and the theft not change its properties. The ra- cause we did a lot of developtio is less than that used for color ment for halogen-free nylons. And of intellectual property. Polysecure blends its marker in concentrates. The normal parti- we did the work and other companies copied it,” Baque said. powder form — made of pure cle has a submicron thickness. But Baque said his boss wasn’t crystals or crystals wrapped in interested. So he decided to start ceramics — into the plastic resin Security sleuth his own company. sent to Freiburg by customers. Inventors have all sorts of “euHe teamed up with Mösslein, Polysecure technicians develop a unique marker and blend it into reka” moments. Polysecure can who became managing director By Bill Bregar Polysecure GmbH photos SHOW DAILY of what became Polysecure. “I had the product but no money, and I was looking for guys who [could] help me get the money to found the company. And Jochen has a lot of experience in that,” Baque said. Mösslein, a German who calls himself a “serial entrepreneur,” has a background in physics and finance and has studied at Stanford University in California. The company debuted at the last K show, in 2010. Polysecure is back at this year’s K (Hall 8b/ C80). Baque and Mösslein, who together with a silent investor own Polysecure, discussed the future of anti-counterfeiting during an interview in Freiburg. Mösslein said Polysecure has a huge range of potential customers. In addition to plastics, it works with metal, wood, industrial cleaners and other fluids. Seeds. Pesticides. Food packaging. Original parts for machines or cars. Musical instruments. In April, Mösslein attended the Baselworld trade show in Switzer- land for makers of high-end watches and jewelry. “We were just there basically as a visitor, but we have many appointments with watchmakers,” he said. As any traveler to China knows, the knockoff Rolex watch is ubiquitous. “You can buy a ‘Rolex’ on the internet for 50 euros,” Mösslein said. For the watch sector, Polysecure has developed a method to blend the marker into an adhesive, then inject it into a small hole at the back of the watch. The adhesive solidifies, containing the marker powder. Retailers could scan it at the store. Fake products cause lost sales. They also can foster product liability headaches. One of Polysecure’s first customers was OBO Bettermann GmbH & Co. KG, a German company that uses the markers for its residential surge protectors. OBO Betterman faced claims for damages from a fire it said was caused by a forged, faulty surge protector. Now the company injection molds Polysecure markers into its plastic parts. “They are looking for a robust market for their product, that survives even a fire in your house,” Mösslein said. Moesslein said Polysecure saves complete records of its customized markers. “We backtrack it to our samples. Every batch. We keep a background sample. And we can correlate it, when we find another sample in the field.” Polysecure officials said the marker cannot be copied. The composition of any marker, when it comes to particle size and shape, is a random consequence of parameters. Even Polysecure could not reproduce one of its own markers. The Polysecure marker system can reproduce a vast range of numerical codes, from 14 million numbers from the basic system up to 280 trillion numbers. The code exists at any spot of the product. Polysecure provides both the marker technology and the detection technology. There are three main ways to check a product containing a marker: ● An optical system, which uses a fluorescent light to “read” the part. This can be done in-line, See Secure, Page 15

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Plastics News K Show Daily - October 16, 2013