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Security fibre – a traceability weapon against abrasive counterfeiting

An increasing number of producers of coated abrasives are being confronted with the challenge of global counterfeiting. Finland-headed forest industry major Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s solution to the counterfeit challenge within the abrasive backings industry is the use of security fibres.

Counterfeiting is a global problem that many might first associate to high-end consumer brands. However, counterfeit products can also be found as replacement parts or as components in different applications in many industries including specialty papers like abrasive backings. Ahlstrom-Munksjö has developed security fibres that  are added to the paper to enable producers identify the product quality and avoid counterfeits (photo courtesy Ahlstrom-Munksjö).

Counterfeiting is a global problem that in recent years has been estimated to account for 2-3 percent of global trade. The publicity for counterfeit retail consumer products may create a perception that counterfeiting only results in brand erosion and revenue losses, but counterfeit products can also be found as replacement parts or as components in different applications in many industries.

Abrasive backings are specialty papers that are used as a substrate for abrasive products used both in industrial and do-it yourself (DIY) sanding applications ranging from grinding to super fine finishing operations.

Security fibres are added to the coated abrasive backing paper to secure that it is easy for producers to identify the quality of the product and avoid counterfeits. The fibres are embedded in the backing paper during manufacturing and include both coloured and fluorescent fibres.

They can be used to assure product traceability, without affecting either the mechanical or chemical characteristics of the backing paper. This limits the risk of counterfeiting and enables producers to clearly identify the requested product quality, when the material is further processed in the value chain.

By using the requested quality, the users of the abrasive product can protect themselves from potential breaks or damages in the production process and potential health injuries when the product is used in industrial sanding. The technology is registered under the label BE SECURE.

Offering our customers a solution that assures product traceability is a clear differentiating factor for us. Our Chinese customer Zibo Riken, a manufacturer of coated abrasive, chose a custom-made fluorescent fibre to be used in the products we supply them. Through this unique product specification, they were able to secure a stable product quality and were able to increases their sales volume significantly, said Daniel Qiu, Sales Manager at Ahlstrom-Munksjö.

Ahlstrom-Munksjö offers a complete range of backings, including a variety of grades tailored for each application. The abrasive business is part of Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s Industrial Solutions business area.

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