Micro Optical Array Labeling: New Venture in Security Labeling

Micro optical array (MOA) technology is being called an exciting, new take on brand authentication and security/anti-counterfeit labeling.

The goal is to offer brand owners currency-level security labeling options for their products at an economic price. Advantages of this process include these features:

  • Single-pass inline flexographic printing and finishing options
  • High-resolution flexographic plate imaging with line widths down to 2-μm.
  • Original proprietary design algorithms developed to cast optical 3D and quick-shifting micro motion effects for labels and film

“The general logic of the process reflects that of traditional lenticular printing,” developer Imageworx of Levittown, PA, explains. “MOA is achieved at a microscopic scale and at resolution values multiple times greater than that of the traditional process.”

It continues, “Popular lenticular films typically range between 20 lpi and 100 lpi, and vary around sheet thicknesses of 350-μm. or more. With MOA, stringent prepress procedures result in lenses in the range of 300 lpi to 400 lpi at 80-μm. to 130-μm., which land in the ideal film thicknesses for web fed flexographic printing and labeling.”

Technical experts note, “Oddly enough, at these increased resolutions, traditional lenticular effects are no longer achievable due to issues with 4-color process register falling out of obtainable tolerances. With MOA, an entire new realm of fast moving and 3D micromotion effects are available.”

Each of these eight pictures displays a printed micro optical array label shown in sequence from five different viewing angles.
All photos courtesy of Imageworx

Background Notes

Counterfeiting and product fraud are growing problems for brand owners and businesses around the world. Not only does the aftermath of counterfeiting result in economic losses for product manufacturers, it can assuredly cause harm to the consumer and company reputations.

Typical markets affected by counterfeiting are pharmaceutical, technology, beauty, designer products and more. While many fraudulent products are obvious, increased efforts are continuously being fabricated by counterfeiters to adapt to technology with escalated attention to minor details, making it harder to articulate which products are authentic and which are fake.

Customers in need of security labeling functions may see the enhanced capabilities of MOA labeling as attractive. Why? The combination of high-resolution plate imaging, along with MOA technology, offers currency-level security functions, but embracing additional security features can further secure the custom label.

Micro Patterns Are Key

Four-color process and multi-color printing are still options with MOA labeling, assuming the effects are not created using traditional lenticular interlacing. Ideal effects are typically built from one or two colors that interact with each other in unlimited ways, allowing for 3D, color shifting, color inverting and single-color animation effects.

The video proof picture shows an example of how Imageworx sends a video/hard proof of the customer’s micro optical array label effect simulation. This proof is a black-and-white, 3D effect composite showing only the effect channel.

Deriving from research and development related to flexographic micro imaging, micro text and printed electronic capabilities, the MOA development team has explored high-tech solutions for refracting carefully arranged micro-printed patterns using films.

Using today’s modern combination of prepress, plates, press, inks and anilox, combined with specifically prepared files and ultra-high-resolution imaging, flexographic printing can now meet printable resolutions that can be matched by few other processes. In addition, with current UV and LED ink-curing systems, micro patterns can be printed with consistent quality at high press speeds, with options for adhesive lamination, cold foil, web turning, die cutting and slitting—all in one pass.