Why are holograms so expensive?

Why are holograms so expensive?

Posted by ReviewIDprinters.com

The use of holograms to secure documents is common-place today.  In ones wallet there will be a number of them – on credit cards, currency, and driving licenses.

Holograms offer a strong level of security because the equipment necessary to produce them is very expensive and skills necessary to run the equipment require years of experience to master. This raises the bar and keeps wood-be counterfeiters at bay.  Today’s holograms offer many security features and can be very complex, but they are a visual element to the card’s security.  Other security features should be combined with holograms to better a card’s security.

The technology was invented by Dennis Gabo in 1947 using very complex and labor intensive process.  Today, the process has been optimized, but still requires a large amount custom hardware, software, and skill.

The process to create an hologram for use on a plastic ID cards is extensive and includes:

  • Hologram origination – creating the holographic image
  • Electroplating – “growing” shims to emboss a holographic image onto specially treated plastic film.
  • Coating – Plastic films need to be coated a number times with receptive layers, slip coats, and adhesives.
  • Converting – Specialty label presses are used to print registration marks, die cut films to meet CR80 standards, and marry the patch film to a carrier.
  • Finishing – Semi-automatic finishing stations are required to wind the converted film on the specific lamintor’s cores, then each roll is labeled and packed for shipment.

There are only a very few global companies that produce hologram laminates for the Photo ID marketplace.  All of the printer manufacturers rely on these few producers to supply bespoke material for their machines.

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