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Taggants / Forensic Markers Micro/Nano-Scale for Anti-Counterfeit, Brand Protection & Product Authentication

Taggants / Forensic Markers Micro/Nano-Scale for Anti-Counterfeit, Brand Protection & Product Authentication

  • December 2017
  • 472 pages
  • ID: 5253748
  • Format: PDF
  • By VandaGraf


Table of Contents

The ‘Taggants / Forensic Markers in Brand Protection’ report provides a comprehensive and in-depth view of this complex business.

This major new report comprises 2 volumes:
• Volume I – Markets & Business Opportunities (256 pages)
• Volume II - Supply Side Analysis - Companies / Product Offerings (216 pages).

This report identifies & analyses:
• The various types of technology that are available
• The various delivery methods and ‘Carriers’
• The vertical markets served today and those that could benefit in the future
• The types of usage
• Opportunities for solution providers, ink makers, brand owners & others
• 93 companies identified & profiled - Key solution providers & other players.

The development & evolution of a diverse range of taggant / forensic marker technologies & solutions has opened up a wide array of markets & applications. Some of these markets are today already well developed, while others are still in the early stages of market uptake. Solution providers have been coming at these challenges from different points of the compass. With some providers rooted in security print, packaging & labels, while other solution providers come from backgrounds of protecting such materials as, fuels fibres & explosives.

The Multi-facetted World of Taggants / Forensic Markers
Today’s complex taggants / forensic marker business is characterised by:
• Numerous types of taggant / forensic marker technologies. Each with distinct attributes & suitability for different types of application - In terms of chemistry and physical dimensions as well as other factors
• The various levels of support / back-up service that solution providers offer to customers:
o From global laboratory backed full services solutions
o To localised support that relies on user self-application of taggants / forensic markers
• Micro-scale & nano-scale taggants / forensic markers can be applied at any stage in the value chain:
o Start of the value chain - Raw materials
o Intermediate products – Mixtures - Sub-assemblies
o Finished Products.

Note: More than one taggant / forensic marker programme within a single value chain can certainly exist. So there is no reason why a finished product cannot contain several different taggants / forensic markers embedded in various raw materials and / or intermediate parts as well as the finished product, as required.

For a highly complex finished product such as an aircraft there could be many different parts & components sourced from many third party suppliers that carry taggants / forensic markers of one kind or another.

This of course greatly increases the overall number of potential applications.

Carriers – Taggant Delivery Vehicles – Routes to Market
Taggants / forensic marker can be introduced in a variety of way either directly or by means of a
variety of Carriers, depending on the product and specific requirements:

• Embedded in liquids / powders / granules.
• Applied (printed / sprayed / coated) to the surface of a product, packaging / labels, for example with inks or coatings
• Integrated into a solution or manufacturing process, for example:
• Paper (as part of the paper making process)
• Polymer master batches – for Plastics packaging (injection moulded or extruded)
• Fibres of woven fabric materials (natural or man-made)
• Fuels & Lubricants.

The application via printing enables the taggants/markers to be applied to specific selected areas or across a substrate surface. Other applications can be addressed via spray coating of an entire surface or on specific areas of surface – product and / or packaging (incl. Spray coating of large items & surfaces). Taggants / Forensic Markers can also be integrated into adhesives.

Markets - Taggants / Forensic Markers
Volume I of this report covers a number of selected vertical markets that have been identified as being of particular interest:
• Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare
• Alcoholic Drinks – Spirits & Wines
• Packaged Food Products
• Luxury Accessories – Jewelry & Watches
• Beauty – Toiletries, Cosmetics & Skincare
• Tobacco Products
• Tax Stamp Labels – Spirits & Wines – Tobacco Products
• Defence & Aerospace – Electronics
• Automotive Parts & Components Aftermarket (including Tyres)
• Fibres, Yarn, Threads, Textiles, Wovens
• Finished Products - Fibres, Yarn, Thread, Textiles, Wovens
• Agrochemicals
• Fuels & Lubricants.

In the course of researching this study, some additional markets of potential interest for taggants / forensic markers have come to light, as listed below:
• Bearings
• Industrial Fasteners & Adhesives
• Other Types of Mechanical Parts / Components
• Construction Industry – Building Materials
• Paints & Coatings
• Imaging Supplies – Printer Consumables.

Main Families of Taggants / Forensic Markers – Micro / Nano
A range of Taggant technologies are commercially available today – Each with distinct attributes & suitability for different types of application (both in terms of chemistry and scale as well as other factors).

The main families of taggants that are available commercially today may be segmented as follows:
• 1st Generation – “Micro-scale” Taggants (order of 10-6 - power of minus 6 - metres physical dimensions)
o Micro-Scale particles
o Micro Nameplates
o Other

• 2nd Generation – “Nano-scale” Taggants (order of 10-9 - power of minus 9 - metres physical dimensions)
o Organic DNA
o Inorganic – Rare Earths
o Quantum Dots
o Raman Scattering
o Other

A key difference is that ‘Micro’ scale taggants can be identified with a standard microscope, which brings unauthorised reverse engineering at least with the realms of the possible. ‘Nano’ scale taggants on the other hand are up to 3 orders of magnitude smaller (or 1,000 x smaller) and can only be detected with specialised laboratory equipment tuned to specific wavelengths or other characteristics known only to authorised testers.

If the would-be counterfeiter cannot even detect a taggant / forensic marker, then replicating it is going to be extremely difficult. Furthermore in some situations it may be useful for law enforcement personnel if the criminals are unaware that a product is carrying a taggant / forensic marker.

Taggants / Forensic Markers – Key Drivers
The following attributes are powerful:
• Taggants / forensic markers are established as an authentication technology of choice that are admissible as conclusive evidence in Courts of Law – underpinned by laboratory verifiable forensic evidence - Support Services / Lab tests / In-the-field
• Taggants / forensic markers be spread extremely thin across very many items down to molecular level – So can be applied right from the start of value chains to raw materials, as well downstream, as required
• The fact that Serialization (a hot topic and major growth area in Pharmaceuticals and also increasingly across other vertical markets) is not actually a guarantee of authenticity of content is a potentially highly significant for the taggants / forensic marker industry.

Other attributes associated with taggants / forensic markers include:

• Highly Covert – Micro scale through to Nano scale
• High barriers to reverse engineering, detection and/or un-authorised replication.
• Option to mark both packaging and / or product (providing additional security that may be
• Unique formulation, complexity, concentration, encoding can provide exclusivity to each
individual client / application.

Ingestible Taggants / Non-Ingestible Taggants

Taggants / Forensic Markers may be divided in to 2 clear categories:
• Materials approved by regulatory organisations (eg: FDA, EU) for ingestion in to the body
• Materials that are not approved for ingestion in to the body.

The first category is potentially suitable for a wide range of applications and markets (both ingestible & not ingestible) provided that other characteristics are acceptable. While the second category is limited (not suitable for ingestible Pharmaceuticals, Drinks & Food products and also products that come in to contact with skin externally - eg: Beauty products and also Jewelry).

Note: For agrochemicals & seeds – FDA approval for ingestible taggants/ forensic markers may become more important if linked to the global food chain.

Cost Structure in the Taggant / Forensic Marker Business
A well developed laboratory back support service is a key element in the provision of a taggant / forensic marker based offering. In some industries the service & related infrastructure needs to have global reach – For other industries a regional or even local approach may be sufficient – But the major business opportunities tend to be international.

Some leading solution providers offer such international support services backed by a substantial and impressive array of resources. While at the other end of the spectrum are taggants / forensic markers that are supplied in small quantities for self-application by the end user. In the case of former approach the cost of the actual markers themselves will represent a relatively small proportion of the total cost of the full service – In the latter case of the actual markers themselves can represent the main component of the overall cost.
The cost of carrying out laboratory testing can cost several $100s per test (this will vary from provider to provider).

There are also costs associated with the application of taggants / forensic markers, for example:
• Direct application to raw materials
• Direct application to electronics components / assemblies or mechanical parts during manufacture
• Embedding in printing inks for packaging / labels.

So although the cost of actual taggants / forensic markers themselves may well be worth more than their own weight in gold (as the saying goes) this is offset because these markers are applied in such minute quantities – parts per million, parts per billion or even in some cases parts per trillion.

Financial Losses & Markets for Brand Protection Solutions
Financial losses due to counterfeiting and related activities globally have been accelerating at an alarming rate over the last few years and this trend is forecast to continue with annual growth rate of global counterfeiting growing at more than 15% in 2016 (according to according to the ICC estimates). The overall situation is getting worse and the ramifications are a matter of serious concern.

The global market for brand protection solutions across all vertical markets has been estimated at less than 0.5% of the financial losses in 2016. Best estimates put forecast growth of brand protection solutions (all types) at 12.6% in 2016. While the market for security taggant / forensic marker solutions is estimated to be growing somewhat more rapidly at nearer 20% annually. Brand protection technologies and solutions have not proved to be entirely effective in the past and have tended to be compromised sooner or later (often sooner) by a highly ingenious and innovative criminal element.

Meanwhile the brand protection industry continues to make efforts to respond in an effective and coordinated way. And taggants / forensic markers can be a key building block in how the brand protection business will gain more traction in the next few years, pa

We at Vandagraf believe that it is still quite early days for taggants / forensic markers and that there is a substantial potential upside for future growth with some excellent business opportunities. In the course of this research Vandagraf has profiled 93 companies involved in the taggants / forensic markers industry and we envisage that there are likely to be opportunities that can match the strengths of many of these businesses.

The trick will be for individual solution providers to identify the right opportunities for their own businesses and to seize these opportunities before their competitors do so:
• New types of customer – Commercial sector / governmental
• New vertical markets
• New product categories
• New geographies.

The creation of de facto industry standards for certain types of taggant / forensic markers based
application, may be a viable goal.

Overview - Towards Categorisation & Selection of Target Markets
There does not appear to be any real limit to the variety of applications for taggants / forensic markers – Where a problem of counterfeiting arises, the viability of a taggant / forensic marker approach can always be examined on a case by case basis. And as previously stated taggants / forensic markers exhibit a number of powerful unique selling points & characteristics. 

A challenge for solution providers is to identify pro-actively new market opportunities for their taggant / forensic marker offerings and this requires careful examination of:
• The nature a scale of the problem – Financial losses and / or threat to life
• Scale & reach of the problem – Volumes / global, regional, local
• Suitability and potential effectiveness of taggant / forensic marker based solutions
• Strengths & weaknesses of particular solution providers portfolio of offerings & capabilities
• Analysis of competition (existing players together with a steady stream of new entrants)
• Other 

Each provider tends to have unique attributes, based on:
• Technology
• Existing markets & client base (vertical markets, types of products)
• Reach (global, regional, local).

Further considerations include:
• What vertical markets to look at?
• What product categories?
• Where will be the high growth demand?
• And so on

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