The researchers at ITV Denkendorf in Baden-Württemberg have succeeded in incorporating sensory anti-counterfeit properties directly into yarns by means of chemical functionalization and a special weaving method. The functionalization is similar to a dyeing process in which the yarn is marked with luminescent pigments. As a result of the structured weaving of the yarn on a roll, unique patterns are created in the fiber which can then be used for identification.
The luminescent pigments which are used are invisible to the naked eye, but their individual light spectrum can be identified with a hand-held spectrometer, for example in stitching patterns after the yarn has been worked into a product. With additional micro-color code particles, protection against counterfeiting can be further increased if necessary.
The function of the markings is similar to that of an “invisible barcode” – information such as article number, machine name or other production data could easily be documented in the yarn. Even highly modern smart textiles (intelligent textiles, such as sensor yarns) could be protected in this way; copper, aluminum or silver-plated glass particles can be used instead of luminescent pigments to protect them from counterfeiting.
“Manufacturers from different sectors, especially those with high-security technical requirements, are hugely interested in a counterfeit-proof identification for original products such as this,” explains Christoph Riethmüller, head of technology integration at ITV.
The newly developed technology will help SMEs in particular to protect their products from counterfeiting. Using appropriate adaptation modules, the new technology can be integrated into existing structures with little effort and at a relatively low cost.