De La Rue has entered into a new strategic partnership with Opalux, a specialist producer of smart materials for security printing applications.
Canadian company Opalux is based in Ontario. Its team of scientists and engineers has patented a number of “premium first level security features” using tunable colour-changing photonic crystals and nano-scale technology.
The firm’s products include OpalPrint Polycarbonate, which creates a colour shifting image that overlays the image of the document holder in items such as passports. Its ElastInk product changes colour in response to finger pressure and can be either reversible or irreversible; while Opalux Photonic Ink is RFID-activated and optically-variable.
Ulrich Walter, product director for De La Rue’s security features and identity portfolio, described Opalux’s technology as “exciting” in the face of the ongoing need to stay ahead of counterfeiters.
“One of our core strategic priorities is to grow our security features portfolio by investing in research and development, as well as partnership,” he said.
Opalux technology will be incorporated into future products from the security printing giant, which had sales of £461.7m in its most recent financial year and lays claim to being the world’s largest security printer.
Opalux chief executive Andrew Binkley said the business was looking forward to combining its expertise with De La Rue’s integrated portfolio of security products, and global reach.
Opalux has benefited from a number of grants to assist its development, and recently pre-qualified for the Canadian government’s Build in Canada Innovation Programme, which helps innovators commercialise their inventions with grants of up to CAD$500,000 (£296,000).
Opalux is also signed up to the Genesius projects run by the UK’s Metropolitan Police and the Department of Homeland Security in the USA, aimed at ensuring specialist security printing materials are only made available to bona fide security printers.
De La Rue currently produces British passports and has tendered for the new passport contract, which is expected to be announced by the end of the year.