Covestro is developing solutions with films that improve security and enable efficient production of cards. The company is presenting new and sophisticated products for ID cards at SDW 2017. Covestro’s position as a leading supplier of thermoplastic films for high-value documents derives primarily from the fact that the company continuously responds to the latest trends in this innovative sector. To meet the many different demands of card manufacturers, Covestro has developed a range of polycarbonate films under the Makrofol® and Bayfol® brands and the Platilon® ID range of thermoplastic polyurethane films (TPU).
“Multi-layer TPU films and combinations with polycarbonate films for applications where excellent mechanical strength and durability are crucial are new to our portfolio,” says Georgios Tziovaras, applications engineer in special films at Covestro. One example is the thin fold of passports, which consists of a Platilon® ID composite film and is laminated inside onto the data page. The production process is highly efficient and the composite is also long-lasting. Documents can be opened and closed again any number of times without affecting flexibility or tearing at the fold. As the TPU films soften at temperatures similar to or higher than corresponding polycarbonate Makrofol® ID products from which the data pages are made, they cannot be separated from each other again without damage being caused. “As a result, they can’t be used to manufacture new ID cards and thus offer excellent anti-forgery protection,” says Tziovaras.
On request, Platilon® ID products can also be equipped with laser-reactive properties to integrate further security features into the fold. As with the polycarbonate data pages, it can also be personalized using standard laser engraving equipment. The thickness of the layers in the composite films, which is thinner than for individual films, also enables greater design freedom. The data page can thus also be made thinner, while nonetheless offering high strength and flexibility. This simplifies the integration of security features, and the thinner data page also saves money.
In ID documents made using Makrofol® ID Superlaser polycarbonate film, the holder’s data and photo can be laser-engraved in higher contrast than is possible for standard laser-reactive overlay films. The data are also integrated into the core, with the result that the film also offers enhanced anti-forgery protection. Personalization is faster and more cost-effective than the conventional production. The development of this film and the patent-protected Superlaser technology is Covestro’s response to the latest trends on the security document market.
Other innovations include extremely thin white polycarbonate films in the Makrofol® ID range. Thanks to their high opacity, they ensure the underlying chip cannot be seen following lamination. The thin layer of just 30 / 50 micrometers also offers more freedom to incorporate additional layers in the card.