As part of its new strategic focus, ASX-listed tech company Dotz Limited (DTZ) will use its proprietary marking, tracing and verification technology to help companies tackle the US$2.2 trillion global black market that exists due to counterfeiting of their products.
Dotz CEO Uzi Breier said the company’s technology has already been successfully tested in China, where 70 percent of the world’s counterfeits originate and would focus on anti-counterfeiting measures in packaging, polymers and lubricants and related product liability areas that ensure products are not diluted with low-rate materials that don’t meet regulatory or corporate guidelines.
“Declining trust is a major reputational issue of our time. Most companies that produce any sort of product with a premium brand value are under attack from counterfeiters which is undermining the faith customers place in their brands. Many of these brands also have health concerns associated with counterfeiting.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that counterfeit medicines constitute up to 50 per cent of the stock sold globally by dubious online pharmacies. More than 120,000 people die each year in Africa as a result of fake anti-malarial drugs, either because the drugs were substandard or simply contained no active ingredients at all.
Dotz’s ‘ValiDotz’ markers utilise microscopic molecular, non-toxic, carbon-based security tagging materials to create unique biological signatures on printed surfaces, coatings, varnishes, bulk plastics and can also be inserted into polymers and lubricants and other liquids.
Visible only under UV light, the marker does not affect the properties or appearance of a tagged product and has four layers of security, rather than the common three. These biological signatures are made up of colours, colour combinations, patterns and forensics while Dotz’s cloud-based image recognition and detecting readers enable on-site product authentication against the user’s unique data sets.+
Our innovative end-to-end tagging, tracing and verifying systems have proven effective in preventing the counterfeiting of different forms of packaging in China, largely because our unique markers are carbon-based and virtually impossible to reverse-engineer.
During a recent industrial pilot, our markers were successful in protecting brand integrity for a company that produces about six billion boxes of cigarettes a year. We used cigarettes as the pilot to test the strength of the technology as counterfeiting is rife in this industry and the difference between the cheapest and most expensive brands is 100-fold.”
Lubricants are also being counterfeited in mass quantities and pose a serious threat to an otherwise rapidly growing market. Counterfeited and out of spec lube oil, used in all aspects of modern life from vehicles and industrial machines to hydraulic systems and bearings, can not only result in costly machine failures and prolonged down times for critical equipment but also pose severe health and safety concerns to both humans and the environment.
“Currently, there are no effective means of combatting these counterfeit products as perpetrators manufacture low-quality fake oils and use empty containers of the original product and even high-quality printing to mislead consumers. To maintain consumer trust manufacturers, governments, and distributers must take proactive measures to combat counterfeiting.”
“Our markers are incorporated and added into existing manufacturing processes in packaging and polymers or added to lubricants, making it economical for brands to implement. They also have multiple applications and could be easily adopted by everything from high-value perfume and pharmaceutical industries to heavy manufacturing and mining.”
In the oil and gas services and upstream sectors, Dotz’s ‘Fluorensic’ product is used as a tracer. Using the same microscopic molecular, non-toxic, carbon-based security materials as Validtoz, the only provider of non-toxic tracing fluid in the market. Being water soluble, resistant to photo-bleaching and non-toxic, it is ideal for drilling applications, helping to prevent the potential risk of harmful chemicals in upstream oil and gas exploration and production, fracking fluids and detecting and tracing water and soil pollution. The tracing fluid doesn’t absorb into the reservoir formation and can be used in any concentration without damaging the environment or causing health hazards. Coupled with Dotz’s portable detection system, Fluorensic enables on-site tracing.
“The ability to trace our marking in real-time with the in-field Fluorimeter kit that can be used on site by a company staff member is a highly valued by the oil and gas industry, where they would typically have to wait three days to analyse the results offsite and identify blockages.”
“Our unique tracing and detection systems are addressing an important market need and we see this sector as offering massive business and growth opportunities.”
Since his appointment in May, Breier has restructured and refocused the business, increasing commercialisation efforts and reducing costs by 20 percent.
“We’ve had an intense period of research and development and are now focused on commercialising our technology. Our technology is the most sophisticated and mature in the anti-counterfeiting, fracking and product liability sectors, which is where we are currently focused.”
“We’ve conducted successful field tests in these segments and are progressing towards commercial agreements.”