Freiburg, Germany-based Polysecure GmbH, a pioneer in circular economy technology solutions using fluorescent markers, was founded ten years ago to develop technology aimed at protecting materials and products against counterfeiting.
Now, 20 patents and a number of successful applications later, the company has installed an advisory board for the first time of experience people who, as Jochen Moesslein, founder and CEO of Polysecure phrased it, ‘can and want to make a difference’. The advisory board and the team at Polysecure recently met in person for the first time, during which the members of the board were given a tour of the company and shown the potential of the company’s technology.
The Polysecure team has developed a special synthesis process, allowing them to control certain fluorescence properties ‘particularly well’, said team leaders Dirk Wacker and Guojun Gao led through the production of the fluorescent markers. “This is key to reliable detection and good sorting.” Plus, they added, the process to produce the markers was scalable - growing the supply to meet national, European or global demand was not an issue.
Over the past decade, the company has successfully created and optimised cost-efficient, reliable and mobile product protection technology - together with an optical detection platform - that is already being used by numerous OEMs. Fluorescent markers in low concentrations are mixed into the materials used to produce the products which are detectable with the help of specially developed small detectors. Large series applications such as decorative films from Renolit have demonstrated that the biocompatible fluorescent markers can be easily processed and that they do not affect the material properties in any way.
Polysecure has also expanded the technology into other applications. Its fluorescent markers were found to enable the reliable sorting of articles and materials - according to specified criteria. In collaboration with plastics processing company Rehau, the company has validated the use of this patented ‘tracer-based sorting (TBS)’ for the separation of glass fibre reinforced PVC flakes and from non reinforced flakes. The company has also developed the world's first TBS sorting machine. Over the past three years, the focus has increasingly been on further developing the process for use with packaging. As Dr. Frank Fuchs, Chief Scientist at Polysecure, pointed out: "Especially for plastic and composite packaging, the circular economy still needs a technology that reliably and efficiently carries out positive sorting according to a sufficient number of definable fractions."
A further application that has emerged is individual product identification using three-dimensional patterns comprised of special fluorescent particles that are added during the production process. Dispersion of the particles is entirely random, making the patterns individual and forgery-proof. The patterns remain until the product is no longer in use.
This particle pattern technology is showing promise in other applications as well, in particular, as a way to create the product passport proposed by the EU Commission, for batteries, for example, as a way to create more transparency.
The new advisory board will be tasked with actively supporting Polysecure on strategic and competitive issues, as well the development of new markets. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg Woidasky, of Pforzheim University, was appointed as the board's first chairman.
Both Moesslein as CEO and founder, and Jörg Woidasky, as the new chairman, were unanimous at the close of the first meeting about the potential of the technology and the challenges, especially in the context of the circular economy, it can solve. "Polysecure shows that with good innovations, commercial viability and sustainability can go hand in hand. In the area of sorting technology in particular, Polysecure is further ahead than most people think. Now it is also important to make the new technologies known in Berlin and Brussels," they concluded.