Case Study

Commercialising microlens manufacturing for banknotes

Emerging roll-to-roll capable nano-imprint technologies to preventing counterfeiting

CamIn works with early adopters to identify new opportunities enabled by emerging technology.

Revenue:
$0.5 billion+
Employee headcount:
1,000+
Opportunity:
Digital services
Sponsored:
Chief innovation officer
75
%

of CamIn’s project team comprised of leading industry experts

CamIn’s expert team

CamIn team members
Micro-lens design
Roll-to-roll manufacturing
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Digital services
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Millions of dollars of counterfeit banknotes are in circulation at any given time. For companies that manufacture banknotes, it’s an arms race against the criminals. Security features must be improved continually: as soon as new features are rolled out, counterfeiters will attempt to reverse engineer them.

What are “microlenses”?

“Microlenses” are optical lenses with a particularly small diameter, e.g. a diameter of less than 1 mm. Our client, a global banknote manufacturer, was planning to develop their next-generation security features. The key challenge was developing security features that would be difficult to reproduce accurately on a counterfeit banknote, but that could still be manufactured cheaply using high-speed processes.

Our client knew that substantial progress had been made involving microlenses and recognised that this technology area might be relevant to developing security features. But they were unfamiliar with the technical fields where these new developments were occurring, and needed expert guidance to investigate whether this technology could help them achieve their goals.

35

technology areas assessed

6

experts assembled

8

week project duration

Identifying use cases for microlenses

To determine whether this technology would work for anti-counterfeiting, we assembled an interdisciplinary team with expertise in nano-lenses and high-speed manufacturing.

Our team was tasked with helping our client identify whether any new technologies could underpin new security features that would be both effective and easy to manufacture.

Within a few months, our client was able to establish partnerships to drive the development of these new security features and work towards a pilot product.

Designing security features

To help our client identify new security features, we assembled two project teams of technology and industry experts. Their remit was to focus on two distinct aspects of anti-counterfeiting technology: security feature design and manufacturing techniques for security features. Both of our teams identified a range of state-of-the-art solutions and promising experimental technologies. After investigating over 15 new microlens designs, our team selected the five that were most suitable for use for our client as a next-generation security feature. Our manufacturing team also identified more than 20 manufacturing techniques and determined that three were most compatible with the client's high-speed manufacturing requirements.

Our teams then identified the manufacturing technique most suitable for use with the selected microlens design, which was then evaluated in our client’s context as a hard-to-counterfeit security feature. Finally, we selected and benchmarked the most promising startups and research groups that our client might partner with to complete their development of these new security features.

CamIn's analysis identified several innovative technologies that were new to our client, and our interdisciplinary team of experts determined innovative methods for manufacturing novel security features.  Within a few months, our client was able to establish partnerships to drive the development of these new security features and work towards a pilot product.