Battling Counterfeiting in Microfabrication

50 US dollars under a magnifying glass. close-up

Counterfeiting is one of the scourges in the manufacturing industry. The hard-earned work of manufacturers through years of tedious research, tests, and failures can often be snatched

by people looking to capitalize on the success of others without doing the work. 

A lot of products are often counterfeited. The wide range of toys, luggage, and apparel that are available as what is commonly referred to as knockoffs are never-ending.

Counterfeiting in Microfabrication

Just as counterfeiting is a problem in other manufacturing sectors the problem is no less pervasive in the micro-manufacturing sector. With the many different devices and small parts that are manufactured during submillimeter manufacturing, counterfeiters have a wide range of products that they are currently counterfeiting. 

Solutions for Fighting Counterfeiting

A lot of technologies have been created to try to reduce counterfeiting. These solutions enable the authentication of parts. The solutions more often than not allow for the movement of a product from the manufacturer to the place where it will be sold. 

Methods and devices that are used to fight counterfeits are always subject to certain requirements. The anti-counterfeiting device should be connected to the product in a way that prevents it from being tampered with.

For example, it could be integrated as part of the product’s material or somehow bonded to the surface of the product to prevent tampering. Authentication of the product should be easy and quick. Any method of authentication used should have a high level of accuracy to prevent false positives.

Anti-counterfeiting devices can be categorized by the technology that is used. One category of devices uses optics to prevent counterfeiting. The use of optics may include watermarks and special inks. This makes certain documents harder to counterfeit.

There are also electronic counterfeiting solutions available. The most common one is radio frequency identification. These radio frequency identification tags can be put in many different types of products. Radio frequency identification tags (RFID) provides a high level of traceability to products in addition to providing authentication.

Chemical methods of identification are also a viable solution. This method makes use of nanoparticles and inks that contain taggant compounds. They also use markers that contain  DNA sequences.

The Effectiveness of Anti-counterfeiting Solutions

Most optical anti-counterfeiting devices are quite easy to use and authenticate using just the naked eye. If they can’t be detected using the naked eye, a low-powered magnifier will work to ensure authentication.

RFID anti-counterfeiting devices allow anyone to do item-level tracking and can also be built into some products overtly. The drawback of these tags is that they can sometimes be costly and quite large.

Chemical anti-counterfeiting solutions are easy to use and offer reliable tracking of products. They are often not easy to duplicate.

The Battle Goes On

The battle against counterfeits will never stop. Counterfeit products have the potential to destroy the reputation of the original manufacturer of products. 

It also enables people who did not do the work necessary to produce a product to benefit from it. Every day, more work is being done to further enhance the anti-counterfeiting methods that are currently available and to create new ones.