Toppan Printing (Tokyo, Japan), a global leader in communication, security, packaging, décor materials and electronics solutions has developed NFC Labels that combine high-quality metallic design with maintenance of the communication performance required of NFC tags. Near-Field Communication (NFC) is a set of wireless communication protocols covered by ISO standards. It’s compliant with Type A, Type B, and FeliCa communication protocols and can be used for contactless smart cards, readers/writers, and communication between devices.
“Due to a focus on essential functions, little attention has traditionally been paid to high-quality visual design for RFID tags and QR Code labels used for product management and authentication,” the company pointed out. “Labels have also generally been attached in positions to ensure that they’re inconspicuous and do not negatively impact the overall design of the product or package. However, the ubiquity of smartphones has prompted heightened demand for product experiences provided to consumers via the use of NFC tags. Businesses are therefore considering ways to attach NFC labels in positions that make them easier for consumers to access. The importance of maintaining the quality of the product or package design has created demand for higher quality design for NFC labels themselves,” Toppan concluded.
To meet these needs, Toppan has developed NFC labels with high-quality metallic design. It’s now possible to attach NFC labels to packages for high-end items such as wine, spirits, and luxury brand goods without sacrificing design quality. Brand owners can also leverage NFC functions to facilitate product traceability, anti-counterfeiting, CRM, and other customer-focused services driven by digital transformation. Two types of labels are currently available – a metallic decor type and a metallic surface type. Outstanding design and a premium look was achieved by combining multiple decorative printing technologies used for creating eye-catching designs on high-quality folding cartons.
The metallic decor type label features decorative metallic designs achieved by combining a variety of printing techniques, including metal-foil transfer utilizing digital printing. High-quality designs can be produced at low costs and with short lead times because no printing plates or cylinders are required. The metallic surface type, meanwhile, uses metallizing via vapour deposition to produce a metallic mirror finish. In addition to gold and other metallic colours, matt finishes are also available.
Various metals can interfere with NFC performance. Toppan addressed this by leveraging its expertise in NFC tag antenna design to ensure communication performance even when metallic decoration techniques are applied. “We have taken advantage of Toppan’s wealth of decorative techniques and extensive antenna design know-how to develop labels offering excellent visual quality and optimal NFC communication performance,” said Takamitsu Nakabayashi, Senior R&D Manager for Toppan’s Security Business. “They can be applied seamlessly to high-end and luxury product packages to provide all the benefits of NFC-enabled customer engagement and supply chain management, and we plan to add to this series of products in the future.”