Durable security markings for automotive parts

INM security marking imageResearchers from Germany have developed a form of security marking that will stay visible on automotive components even if subjected to harsh environments.

The team from the Leibniz Institute for New Materials (INM) will be presenting the technology at this year's IAA motor show, which gets underway later this week in Frankfurt.

Currently, security markers are generally produced from plastics, with embossing processes used to embed random structures into these foils in the form of codes which appear as a hologram.

"Heavy mechanical stresses and heat can lead to scratching, abrasion or charring and render the labels illegible in a short space of time," says INM.

Rather than plastic, the researchers use glass-like materials based on silicates - cured to 500 degrees Celsius - for their hologram-like structures. The holographic grating structures which are embossed beforehand are preserved during the curing.

The scientists also cover the holograms with another glass-like material which ensures the marking remains easy to read even in the event of heavy soiling or oily residues.

"At the same time, this form of coating makes it harder for such markers to be copied," notes Peter William de Oliveira, head of the optical materials programme division at INM. The materials are particularly suitable for use on metallic substrates.

"Visible security features on automotive spare parts represent a seal of quality for manufacturers and consumers - they guarantee that spare parts are original," said the INM in a statement.

"Whereas for the driver original parts mean a lower risk of an accident, the proof that they are original protects the manufacturer from any claims for compensation which are brought on the basis of counterfeit products."

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