PC films for secure ID cards to guard against identity theft, damage, premature replacement

16-Nov-11
Two new breakthrough Lexan* polycarbonate (PC) film technologies for identification (ID) cards that help simplify integration of additional security features needed to combat identity theft and counterfeiting have been introduced by SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business. New Lexan SDCX co-extruded film and Lexan SC92E flexible hard-coated film provide solutions to the challenges of constructing ID cards and security documents with more and thinner layers and complex manufacturing. Several years after SABIC’s successful introduction of the Lexan Secure ID film portfolio, this expansion of its security product offering clearly demonstrates the company’s commitment to identity protection technologies that benefit smartcard manufacturers and consumers alike. “Identity theft and the risk of counterfeiting call for increased functionality and innovation in electronic ID card design,” said Lennard Markestein, global marketing director, Specialty Film & Sheet, Innovative Plastics. “These two new Lexan* film technologies are critical additions to our ID card film portfolio, providing our customers significantly higher productivity in card production while incorporating a laser-engravable layer and a brand new option to create more sustainable cards with longer useful life of the ID cards.” Lexan SDCX co-extruded film combines a core layer of white opaque or transparent Lexan film with a clear, laser-engravable cap layer to avoid the challenges of handling separate thin film layers. Lexan SC92E hard-coated film for card overlays surpasses standard PC film in durability, including scratch and chemical resistance, helping to extend useful life and reduce resource consumption. As more sophisticated security features are incorporated into the latest electronic ID cards and documents, additional layers are required to construct them. Thus, the individual card layers become thinner – down to 50 microns or less – and the manufacturing process becomes more complex and challenging. Lexan SDCX co-extruded films solve these challenges by combining a very thin, laser-engravable layer with a thicker white opaque or transparent layer. This film permits high-quality, cost-effective laser engraving, including high-contrast personalization with a photo and signature of the cardholder. The print image inside the card cannot be modified without damaging the card. Lexan SDCX films also provide outstanding resistance to heat and frequent bending, as well as minimal distortion. These films are produced in a 10,000 clean room environment. They are available in gauges ranging from 30-75 microns for the laser-engravable layer and from 120-275 microns for total thickness. Lexan SC92E one side flexible hard-coated film has an excellent abrasion and gouge resistance compared to uncoated polycarbonate film. It also achieved a very good rating of HB (ASTM D3363) in the pencil hardness test, showing high resistance to scratching in everyday use. The product also helps the card surface maintain gloss and transparency over a longer period. One of the strengths of this overlay film is the excellent flexibility of the hard coat; a 1/8” Mandrel bend is possible without cracking or damaging the coating. Even after frequent bending, cards return to their original shape. These features not only extend the card’s service life but also better protect security features inside it, such as passport photos, signatures, personal data, and holograms, over a longer period to combat counterfeiting and misuse. The hard coating also offers resistance to abrasive cleaning agents and to the chemicals found in sun creams, cosmetics, oils, greases and fuels. Another important feature of this coated film is the ability to be laminated under high pressure and temperatures of up to 190C without any loss of properties. Lexan SC92E films are available in thicknesses of 100 and 175 microns. Potential applications for these new SABIC films include electronic ID cards, military, government and police ID cards, passport data pages, green cards, driver licenses and border crossing cards.
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