Researchers at Texas A&M University may have discovered a way to detect counterfeit products. According to the university, a team of researchers has discovered a way to imprint a “hidden magnetic tag” on goods during the manufacturing process using metal additive manufacturing technology. This permanent magnetic tag, which would replace physical tags like barcodes, would be encoded with authentication information to allow for improved traceability and quality control.
A smart phone can be used to scan the area on the product where the tag is located, granting the user access to the information stored within the tag.
The researchers called the project “Embedded Information in Additively Manufactured Metals via Composition Gradients for Anti-Counterfeiting and Supply Chain Traceability,” and their findings were published in Additive Manufacturing.
In a recent quote, Daniel Salas Mula, a researcher with the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, said, “Different approaches have been used to try to locally change the properties of the metals during the manufacturing process to be able to codify information within the part. This is the first time that magnetic properties of the material are being used in this way to introduce information within a nonmagnetic part, specifically for the 3D printing of metals.”