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A cure for counterfeit controllers?

What if you bought a brand new packaging machine partly on the strength of the controller it relies on only to discover that said controller is a counterfeit and wasn’t made by the firm whose name is on it?

Apparently this kind of thing has been happening frequently enough with Siemens SIMATIC controllers to cause the firm to take action. It has custom-developed a security seal solution that counteracts tampering and counterfeiting of its controllers. Combining visual and digital security features, the solution is based on Schreiner ProTech’s BitSecure copy protection pattern, which utilizes a reader for easy-to-check verification. A hologram with a void effect complements this specialty solution.

Siemens SIMATIC controllers are widely used in manufacturing and process engineering, including on packaging machines. Due to an increase in counterfeit controllers in recent years, Siemens sought out Schreiner ProTech to help devise a method of protecting its customers from these illegal, inferior knock-offs.

“Since the fakes could not be detected with the naked eye,” said Michael Drollmann, Senior Sales Director at Schreiner ProTech, “we developed a seal solution in which coordinated security mechanisms interact at various tiers to reliably identify tampering and counterfeiting attempts, and to deter future counterfeiters. The seal required minimal space – another benefit for Siemens.”

Schreiner ProTech’s security seal solution is based on Schreiner ProSecure’sBitSecure. The copy protection pattern uses a high-resolution, cloud-like print image featuring intricate details undiscernible by the naked eye. If a counterfeiter attempts to imitate it, the image suffers a loss in precision and optical details, which reveals the image to be fraudulent when a handheld reader is deployed. Reliable authentication is supported by additional security features on the housings of the SIMATIC products. For example, a customized hologram with void effects exposes an irreversible message when the seal is peeled off for the first time.

“Schreiner ProTech has achieved a solution that fully satisfies our requirements in terms of security, verification, and processing within the defined economic boundary conditions. Likewise, the solution has been integrated into our fully automated manufacturing process without influencing the cycle rates,” say the project managers at Siemens in summing up the results.

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