Security Substrate

What are the different types of substrate I can use for my application?

Depending upon how secure you feel your documents need to be, you need to start any printing solution with a good quality substrate (security paper, card or stock) that offers basic security measures in itself. These papers are readily available off-the-shelf from paper merchants and, when bought in bulk, provide a good basic level of security compared to the costs involved.

Base Security Paper

Such examples of this are a UV dull paper with or without UV fibers and some chemical inclusion to protect against solvent attacks.

This paper will not reflect ultraviolet light. This means that it is suitable for printing with ultraviolet inks and that they will show up easily under black light (also known as UV hand-help lamps).

It also has added chemical resistances as specified by APACS. Some of there properties are bleach, solvent, water and a range of chemicals that would be used for altering what is printed on the paper. The paper also provides a good medium for personalization (over printing) with a laser printer and the porous properties allow the toner to penetrate the surface which makes it more difficult for people to alter numbers, figures, names, dates and other details - examples of useage would be on checks.

UV fibres

UV Fibres are pre-added to the paper and provide flecks of UV colour when viewed under the right lamp. The paper may contain one or more threads/fibres and usually can be seen with the naked eye too. This means that the counterfeiter will be aware that this is the case. It is, however, another problem for them to overcome as this substrate is not easy to acquire.

Security threads

Security threads are rolled between the layers of the paper and add another degree of security. They are very difficult to copy and you need expensive machinery to be able to counterfeit this feature. You will also see holographic threads. As much as the holographic threads may present additional security you need to make sure that the verification process is thoroughly vetted as you could emulate a thread with a simple foil.

True watermarked paper

This paper has an unique image pressed into the substrate during the manufacturing processs while the pulp is still soft. This is done through a roller called the Dandy Roller. The dandy roll is a light roller covered by material similar to window screen that is embossed with a pattern. Faint lines are made by laid wires that run parallel to the axis of the dandy roll, and the bold lines are made by chain wires that run around the circumference to secure the laid wires to the roll from the outside. Because the chain wires are located on the outside of the laid wires, they have a greater influence on the impression in the pulp, hence their bolder appearance than the laid wire lines.

This embossing is transferred to the pulp fibres, compressing and reducing their thickness in that area. Because the patterned portion of the page is thinner, it transmits more light through and therefore has a lighter appearance than the surrounding paper. In security printing the two most common varieties of creating these images are know as cylinder mould watermarking and fourdrinier watermarking.

Printed watermark on paper / Artificial Watermark

Artificial watermarks are applied after the paper manufacturing process. They can be applied by the paper manufacturer or by the printer. Many paper manufacturers offer stock security papers that have a standard artificial watermark applied to them. The cost of the security paper with an artificial watermark is generally a little less expensive than one with a true watermark.An artificial watermark can be seen from one side only. It is generally applied to the back side but can be applied to the front side also. The watermark is achieved by printing the image in opaque white ink, transparent ink or by using varnish. They will all produce an image that is visible when viewed at an angle. An artificial watermark is sometimes also referred to as ghost printing. Artificial watermarks are nearly impossible to duplicate by copier or scanners, making this a good security feature to add to your documents.

Adding a customized artificial watermark to your document will make it even more difficult to duplicate. Customizing an artificial watermark is less expensive than customizing a true watermark. The customizing can be accomplished by the paper manufacturer or the printer. The most cost effective alternative will depend on the quantity of watermarked paper needed. Consult your supplier as to what would be the best alternative for your needs

Tear and weather resistant paper, such as Tyvek and Teslin

We have used this material when a document has to withstand general wear-and-tear, acute water contamination and where it may be passed between people or changing locations more than once. Each has unique feel and durability.


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