The company Director, Ajit Kumar Surana talks in detail about the new high security Aadhaar Cards introduced by UIDAI.
Holoflex has designed and produced the holograms for the new Aadhaar Card which is packed with high security overt and covert features.
- Apart from QR Code and Hologram, it incorporates Micro Text, Ghost Image, Guilloche Pattern along with both issue as well as print dates.
- The design elements are simple for identification by a common man but complex for a counterfeiter.
Indian hologram expert Holoflex has designed and produced the high-security Hologram and supplies the solution to UIDAI selected card manufacturers.
Holoflex’s success story is a 29 year long journey (since 1991) of triumphs and challenges. One thing that has stood the test of time is the company’s grit and determination to offer products that are globally competitive on technical and commercial requirements.
All through these three decades Holoflex has executed several prestigious hologram projects. “We have had the honour of supplying holograms for the Commonwealth Games whose tickets were printed by India Security Press, Nasik,” remembers Ajit Kumar Surana,Director, Holoflex Limited.
“The application of the hologram on the entry tickets had to be done in house as ISP did not have the equipment to hot stamp the hologram. We were allowed to get our equipment into the ISP to convert the job within their premises. This was the first instance in ISP’s 200 year old history where an outsider was allowed to get their equipment into the ISP premises.
We also won the global tender to supply the holograms for the Non Judicial stamp paper for Andhra Pradesh government at the height of the Telgi scam controversy.
Among the corporate, we have done holograms for the entire music industry through Indian Music Industry, the apex organisation in India for music industry – all the music cassettes and CD’s sold in those days carried our hologram. When mobile phones arrived in India, there were huge quantities of smuggled counterfeit phones in India. Holoflex designed and produced a common hologram across the entire mobile phone industry in those days to protect and identify the genuine handsets. Holoflex even progressed to be Nokia’s vendor for holographic seals to several of their factories outside India too,” he adds.
Today Holoflex is not just a holograms supplier but has expanded its horizons to offer labels including high security labels designed using their security designing software and other features like printing QR code, laser numbering, track and trace etc. “We have invested in state of the art flexo printing machine from Omet srl, Italy and have two more presses of different make to cater the entire spectrum of customer requirements,” informs Ajit. They are a one-stop solution provider with services ranging from concept to delivery and all is done in house.
Key product and solutions that Holoflex offers to a wide spectrum of customers include:
- Holograms – self adhesive and hot stamp type
- Labels – self adhesive and wet glue
- High Security labels with special tamper evident features
- Multimax which is a special label designed for energy meters and extremely resistant to tampering even by chemicals and heat
- Shrink Sleeves & Shrink Labels
- Scratch and win coupons
- Track and Trace
Behind the scene – design and production of the latest Aadhaar Card
“The brief from UIDAI was that the design elements have to be very simple for identification by a common man but very secure against counterfeit attempts,” says Ajit, giving details about the recent Aadhaar Cards project. Several design iterations happened and the designers were asked to think out of the box. Normally a customer wants lots of features whether or not they are aesthetically appealing. But UIDAI was refreshingly different as they wanted highest security with minimum number of features without compromising on the aesthetics. We are proud that our designers were able to achieve that to the UIDAI’s satisfaction”. He further adds, “The testing parameters of the hologram are similar to that of Rupay payment card holograms which is also benchmarked on the Mastercard and Visa holograms.”
Obviously, the technological requirements were a huge responsibility here. “Our hologram is the primary visible security feature for and we had to ensure that the output is of the very highest quality,” says Ajit. It was of utmost importance that the holograms work flawlessly on the card producers’ stamping machines. Holoflex ensured that they review and fine tune various raw materials and processes beforehand. “We also went to the extent of modifying and replacing some critical machine parts in order to improve process efficiency,” informs Ajit.
Creating a hologram is an intricate process involving a very high level of technological expertise. We first need to create a master hologram and then printing plates from that. And then there are several other processes and specialised coatings to achieve the highest quality standard to meet the stringent requirements, moreso in cases such as unique citizen’s identity like the Aadhaar Cards by the UIDAI.
The challenges posed by the hologram were a pleasant experience, says Ajit. Sharing his experience while working on the design, he says, “The design was a challenge as well as a pleasure – as the size of the hologram limited what we could do. Besides, it had to be designed to withstand heat and pressure for image transfer at the card manufacturers’ end.”
Speaking about the security features that make the new card tamper proof, Ajit emphasises, “Each of the security features listed above including the hologram makes the card secure. Our hologram serves as the visual authenticator, and besides that there are a host of other security printing features that are printed by the card producer. The QR code is also what makes it unique. The various features are in harmony and complement each other and thus make the card very secure.”
Cost and time implications
It is a nationwide project involving every citizen. Interested card owners can get their cards replaced with the latest high security one at a nominal rate. “We congratulate UIDIA on managing to keep the cost of the card very affordable at a nominal rate of Rs 50. All Indian residents can get a card that is secure and very convenient to carry in a wallet,” says Ajit. The Aadhaar card owner will benefit by way of possessing a National ID card that is secure, pocket friendly and enables visual authentication tools like hologram and security printing. The card holds some key confidential information as well. Moreover, the security features like gulloche patter and ghost image etc. will prove strong deterrent against counterfeiting. “I am very proud that our country now has a state-of-the-art, highly secure identity card for its citizens,” concludes Ajit.
Counterfeiting and imitation is a global menace for brands as well as customers and authorities. It is extremely important for all brand owners to ensure that their products are secure and they have a strong connect with their consumer for their genuine products and a visual indicator is used for their consumers to identify the genuine product.
“I would strongly urge all the readers to check the authenticity of the products they buy and consume. The brand owner should take all precautions that their own products are protected from the menace of duplication and the consumer should also be demanding such authentication features,” recommends Ajit.