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Hermes Award for ProteXXion® identification technology


Leverkusen – ProteXXion®, the innovative identification technology for the forgery-proof authentication of objects and packaging, has won the prestigious Hermes Award, the international technology prize awarded by the Hannover Fair. ProteXXion® provides effective forgery protection without the need for additional marking or tagging by using laser light to unequivocally recognize each object on the basis of its individual surface structure. Bayer Technology Services GmbH developed ProteXXion® for industrial applications on the basis of Laser Surface Authentication technology invented by Ingenia Technology Ltd. of the UK. ProteXXion® is presented at the Hannover Fair in Hall 16, Stand 54.

The patron of the Hermes Award is Dr. Annette Schavan, German Federal Minister for Education and Research. She presented the prize to BTS at the opening of the Hannover Fair on April 15, 2007. Other dignitaries in attendance included German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister of Lower Saxony and co-patron of the Hermes Award Christian Wulff.
With a purse of 100,000 euros, the annual Hermes Award is among the most lucrative international technology prizes.

Unique process for the recognition of counterfeit products

Counterfeit products cause billions of euros of damage every year, and, in the case of drugs and medicines for example, can even be a health risk and put lives in danger. All previous strategies for identifying counterfeits have been based on overt or covert tagging of the products, but whether watermarks, barcodes, RFID tags, holograms or patterns applied by special printing inks, none of the markings or tags used so far offer 100 percent protection from unauthorized copying or replication.

In collaboration with Ingenia Technology Ltd., BTS now offers ProteXXion®, a unique process for the identification and avoidance of counterfeit products. The products are automatically registered during production and can be unequivocally verified at any time in the downstream supply chain using mobile readers.

Fingerprint generated using Laser Surface Authentication technology

ProteXXion® utilizes “Laser Surface Authentication” (LSA) technology. This records and later recognizes the individual fingerprint of an object, which is basically its natural surface structure. A special scanning process based on the laser speckle phenomenon records the microscopic surface structure by measuring the laser light diffusely scattered by the surface at various angles relative to the incident beam. The surface characteristics recorded by the scanner are unique – like a fingerprint or a DNA sequence. Recognition is not impaired by even moderate wear or alteration of the objects. The probability that two objects have the same “fingerprint” is between 1 in 1020 to 1 in 10100. The signal recorded by the scanner thus contains unequivocal information about the identity of the object. Due to their complex structure, the surface characteristics cannot be generated artificially.

Stored information accessible in seconds

All scanned information can be filed in a database and called up in a matter of seconds using search-and-compare software. The IT technology can be very flexibly scaled to the required number of objects and locations. With each scan requiring only 125 – 750 bytes of storage space, a typical hard drive can hold the data for many millions of products. With a static scanner capable of registering objects on production lines at speeds of up to 4 m/s, the use of ProteXXion® technology does not adversely impact the speed of the production process. Furthermore, only slight modifications to the packaging line are required.


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