The hologram industry is likely to see further growth as the pace at which anti-counterfeiting technologies combine to provide multi-layered solutions continues to quicken.
And while security applications remain the most valuable for the industry, 2015 is also expected to see substantial growth in the production of holographic optical elements (HOEs) for use in automotive displays and lighting, as well as for general lighting control.
Ian Lancaster, the general secretary of the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA), says his industry is meeting end-user needs due to the technology’s adaptability and capacity to push the boundaries of innovation and add value.
However, the key to future success will be the ability of holograms to become an intrinsic part of flexible, multi-functional security solutions. These will provide brand owners with the effective ‘weapons’ to battle the counterfeiters and criminal gangs producing hundreds of millions of fake products each year.
Holograms will gain increasing traction with other layered technologies in 2015 and beyond says Ian Lancaster, adding: “Anti-counterfeiting technologies will grow as the criminal masterminds get more sophisticated every year, and the security printing industry needs to expand capabilities using multiple technologies to remain ahead.”
Product counterfeiting is a trillion dollar a year problem, which represents about five to seven percent of all global transactions, so the long term outlook for anti-counterfeiting technologies is good.
“There will be growth in all markets but those countries with an emerging middle class will probably see the highest,” says Ian Lancaster. “This includes economies such as India where there’s continued expansion – and our industry in India will reflect this with growth of up to 20 percent.”
He also predicts that increasing collaboration between holograms and other security and traceability technologies is likely to lead to industry consolidation.
“We may see larger companies offering authentication solutions acquiring niche security and security printing hologram producers to offer customers single source authentication solutions.”
The use of well-designed and properly deployed authentication solutions, as advocated in ISO’s 12931 standard, on authentication solutions, enables examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating it from the counterfeits coming out of China. Even those that carry a “fake” authentication feature can be distinguished from the genuine item if that item carries a carefully thought-out authentication solution.
Turning to the very-different field of HOEs, which takes advantage of holograms’ ability to control light, the growth of LEDs is stimulating the adoption of holograms to provide better control of their emitted light. HOEs are being used to diffuse and “smooth” the light from arrays of LEDs as now being used in display and domestic environments, while they are also being used to focus and shape the light.
Similarly, with LEDs in use as vehicle rear lights and brake lights HOEs are also being used to enhance the emitted light. Meanwhile, HOEs also have an important role in vehicle instrumentation and improving the image on small and large format LCD and OLED displays.