The project

The aims Mag ID is an innovation, not a research project!

The objective of this action is to introduce Mag-ID as a cost-efficient alternative for high volume tracking & tracing, brand protection and inspection and to replace passive RFID as a cheap solution for high volume applications.

Since magnetic barcodes are dirt resistant, the technology will replace some barcodes with a more reliable read. The technology allows for distance reading, which means that the information can be read through coatings, e.g. parts before and after a paint booth can be identified automatically with the same technology. This can be used for tracking and tracing of components in a subassembly e.g. in identification documents to ensure that personal data and pictures are matched in the process and after assembly.

Together with a verification as a service platform, SMEs can provide authentication and validation services world-wide. Magnetic barcodes can replace many RFID solutions as they are environment-friendly without separate electronic device disposal.

Within Mag-ID, the SME partners will demonstrate the results manifold: BOGEN Mag-ID one-shot reader in a volume application, INSPECTRON with evaluation modules for the Mag-ID brand protection, tracking and inspection solutions. INSPECTRON will move into a service-based business model, while BOGEN will create a separate business for a project-based model.

Advantage of MagID

Potential customers have voiced the need for identification and verification of products in many places in the lifecycle of a product. Whether they want to avoid mixing up highly sensitive information between different people, for example, avoiding the wrong composition of an identification document with photo, signature and personal data or whether they want to verify, that a specific consumable is safe to be used in a specific product or they want to verify that the product is not forged: Safety, confidentiality and avoiding fakes are only a few of the pain points of the customers.

Verifying the identity of parts, eventually the product after assembly of the parts and finally the identification of the products in all places during the life of a product are key requirements for many potential customers. Combining authentication and automatic reading of identification for products with easy integration in many different parts of products and with hidden information at low consumable costs has been the wish of many customers with high brand protection requirements. Combining these features for all kind of products, including passports, complex mailings and high risk or high-value products such as medical drugs, luxury items or medical equipment as well as low cost products, which cannot be tagged today due to the high costs.

While RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) has promised to solve many of these tasks, market uptake on the technology has been very limited, as the technology only has addressed 15% of the total markets so far. One key reason is the high cost of the RFID-chips that is prohibiting many use cases. Using conventional barcodes allows tracking and tracing, but it requires a clean environment. Both dirt and scratches will reduce the applicability of this technology. And the conventional barcode cannot be hidden.

How our solution addresses the problem and avails of the business opportunity Mag-ID

INSPECTRON has been developing, manufacturing and commercializing identity solutions for special applications, including passports, lottery tickets and bank note printing for many years. These solutions have been using different technologies for identification and verification during the production process, e.g. for complex products such as passports, where text, picture and biometric data chip need to match. The technology, on which Mag-ID is based, is magnetic ink character recognition (MICR). With MICR, a text is printed with a magnetic ink and afterwards, the text can be read magnetically by interpreting the resulting magnetic signals of the different printing. This technology is used in volume for checks, where the bottom line is printed with MICR ink. A check is only valid, if this line can be read magnetically. The advantage of this solution is that the line can be written over (signatures extending into the MICR line) or stamped over and the information can still be read magnetically without any disturbances.

The disadvantages of the solution are the limited alphabet and only two available fonts for reading. At the same time, the text can only be read with the available technology today, if a sensor is moving relative to the magnetic ink.

BOGEN has been producing magnetic ink inductive reading heads for MICR for many years and has developed spintronic technology (in particular, tunnel magnetoresistive sensors, TMR) for reading magnetic ink. The key advantage of this technology is, that the spintronic based sensor does not require a relative movement between sensor and the ink. Using several spintronic sensors in a matrix enables to read a complete barcode at one-shot and will avoid all the problems of achieving a consistent movement between the sensor and the code. Mag-ID will be based on existing MICR-ink and will use the new TMR reading technology for decoding the codes. The barcode will be used as it is easier to read than the MICR letters.

Key market applications for MagID

They include:

  • Documents, for example security printing application or e-pedigree applications for complex documents consisting of different components (e.g. passports) or sensitive mail information verification.
  • Electronic components to avoid fake components in the market. Once marked with an Mag.ID barcode, the components can be checked in a SMD placing machine before assembling on the pcb, whether they are in the manufacturers database.
  • Apparel. Printing a magnetic code on a label that can be checked in the supply chain, especially at retail stores to check, if the piece of clothing is genuine.
  • Drugs. To avoid grey market drugs or counterfeit drugs, add a magnetic barcode on the blister package, that can be read from outside the package to verify the contents matching with the package. A different barcode on the instruction leaflet can ensure, that the right leaflet has been packed without opening the box.
  • Other. There will be many other applications for high value luxury goods, that would like to protect their goods with a simple MagID barcode. Examples are cosmetics, perfumes, liquor.