The passport datapage is a key target for fraudsters, who seek to manipulate the information and holder’s image for criminal purposes. Popular practices include substituting the biographical datapage and altering the holder’s details and image. To do this, the protective laminate and its features are often replicated, or an additional thin-film laminate with the illegitimate holder’s photo printed to the reverse is placed on top of the original image to modify its appearance.
Holographic laminates have long been used to protect passports against manipulation and forgery. Regarded as one of the most effective tools, they are designed to enable quick, unambiguous authentication of the document at the point of inspection. Their ability to provide effective protection, however, depends on the continuous evolution of holographic techniques.
Responding to current trends in the identity market and the evolving requirements of national governments to provide innovative solutions to protect passports from fraudulent attacks, Demax Holograms has launched its proprietary laminate solution, branded as FreeEdge.
Enhanced security and design
The FreeEdge laminate is a thin-film bespoke-formulation laminate developed for added design freedom along with enhanced security. It is manufactured in-house following the company’s investment in embossable base films production, and introduces new materials and techniques to both preserve the security of passports and enable passport designers to add novel advanced features.
Passport laminates traditionally come in a rectangular shape formed to fit along the edges of the biographical datapage. With the FreeEdge technology, laminate edges can be custom-shaped based on individual preferences and requirements. This can include characters, figures or objects differing in size and form and is produced at the time of laminate manufacture prior to its application onto the datapage.
Consequently, the laminate does not require specially made lamination machinery and has been developed to suit existing application processes. Custom-shaped characters can be produced anywhere within the laminate, opening up the opportunity for their integration with printed features.
Fully tested for chemical and mechanical resistance, the laminate provides superior adhesion to the substrate and will disintegrate under any form of attack, making its reuse impossible. With the added benefit of custom-shaped edges, the fraudulent use of a second laminate on top will become immediately obvious. The technology also provides high counterfeit resilience as the effects cannot be reproduced or imitated using alternative techniques.
The tamper-proof structure is compliant with the latest ICAO 9303 specification and supplementary EU requirements and is compatible with both automated and manual personalisation systems.
The FreeEdge laminate is supplied with a range of both traditional and novel high-security features, depending on customer requirements, which can include bright high-resolution animations, kinetic and flipping images, 3D designs, non-rainbow colours, colour-switching, motion and lens effects as well as microtext and nano-graphics.
Demax’s core technology used to produce the FreeEdge is the E-LIDOGRAM™, which is based on electron beam lithography with resolution of 8 nanometres, enabling unique visual effects distinct from conventional holograms.
The technology offers an array of naked-eye features that go beyond conventional diffractive OVDs and are designed to provide intuitive authentication of security documents. The FreeEdge laminate couples the two technologies to deliver a sophisticated solution for uncompromising security and authentication at a glance, says Demax.
Commenting on the development, Demax’s Sales and Marketing Director Micaal Sidorov said: ‘paper continues to be the substrate of choice for biographical datapages for many passport issuing authorities. Up until now, designers have been working with standard-shaped laminates. What the FreeEdge technology does is provide the option to custom-shape laminate edges using bespoke symbols or characters or, introduce these in a particular area of the laminate, and integrate them with the overall laminate and passport design as an extra layer of protection against forgery.
‘The result is simple, pronounced and easy-to-recognise features. This new offering will allow governments to bring improved protection of citizen identities and facilitate passport inspection and authentication.’
According to Demax’s Executive Director, Valentin Monovsky: ‘we continue to prioritise innovation as a cornerstone of our development and growth, placing strategic focus on development of new products and technologies for government-issued documents. With our research and development team spanning engineers in optics, physical modelling, software and fine mechanics as well as chemical processes and materials, and our purpose-built 12,000 sqm manufacturing site with state-of-the-art research and development facilities, we are well placed to develop products that have the potential to revolutionise the optical document security sector.
‘The latest advancement complements the company’s product portfolio for travel and identity documents’ he added, ‘and represents Demax’s continuing efforts to create unmatched first-line features aimed at easy verification by the non-specialist.’