Tax Stamp & Traceability Forum is Taking Shape

Conferences are back! And this includes the Tax Stamp & Traceability Forum™, which takes place from 16-18 May 2022 in Malta.

The programme is well on its way to being finalised, and here we share some of the papers and discussions confirmed so far.

First up is a pre-conference workshop on 16 May, entitled ‘Design and Production of Security Documents Through Digital Print’. This is hosted by Ian Lancaster of Reconnaissance International who will be joined by several solution providers already active in the digital security printing domain.

The workshop will examine the pros and cons of using sophisticated digital printers for secure documents, with a review of digital security inks, feature design software, printing hardware and real-life applications. It will also take a big-picture look at the opportunities and threats arising from these developments.

All those registering for the workshop will receive a complimentary printed copy of Reconnaissance’s new publication ‘Printing Beyond Colour: Commercial Innovations for Security Print’, worth £200. This 60page review offers informative technical analyses of latest generation inks and digital printing techniques and how these could be adapted and applied to the security world.

Breakeven for track and trace

Moving to the conference itself, Hana Ross, from the University of Cape Town’s Research Unit on the Economics of Excisable Products, will describe how the Unit developed an Excel-based simulation model, using basic economic principles, to determine the breakeven cost of track and trace. An initial model was created for South Africa, but it can be customised with data from any country.

De La Rue will share its experience in implementing and operating digital tax stamp solutions that meet the requirements of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. It will also discuss the relationship between printed tax stamps and track and trace coding, the role of each in an overall solution, and how these can be used together to gain additional advantages.

SICPA will introduce its new technology stack for broadening the scope of traceability solutions beyond traditional excisable goods, in an era where ease of integration with external systems is becoming increasingly important.

Stardust Materials will focus on the challenges of ink jetting inorganic luminescent materials, employed as covert taggants, for printing latent text and barcodes.

OPTEL Group will examine how digital tax marks, directly applied to a product, can be an interesting alternative to physical tax stamps in price-sensitive, highspeed production markets such as beer and soft drinks. It also looks at a novel approach involving AI-based security features that reduce implementation costs, maintain production line performance and provide new opportunities for supply chain intelligence.

Jura JSP will describe how digital security printing holds the answer to customer requests for both a high level of protection and flexibility, short delivery times and small production batches.

LEONHARD KURZ will offer insights into how visible digital seals (VDS) could work on a tax stamp, and provide examples of applications that already use VDS. The company will also examine the world of anti-copy and anti-cloneable codes and how VDS could play a role in this.

According to Sri Lanka Customs, tax stamps are one of the most effective monitoring, control, and enforcement tools for preventing leakages of lawful revenues due to the state.

Its paper will describe its ‘Foolproof’ tax stamp system and present a case study demonstrating enforcement techniques used in connection with a large illegal export of foreign cigarettes to Europe in 2021.

Securikett will describe how important it is to think in terms of interoperable functional units that constitute a complete system, rather than thinking in terms of single silos. The paper will draw on the basic assumptions of ISO 16678:2014 (for interoperable object identification and related authentication systems) and ISO 22381:2018 (for establishing interoperability among object identification systems).

U-NICA Group will demonstrate the importance of multi-layered digitally linked security technologies.

NanoGrafix Corporation will describe new innovation where a 3D optical structure is directly digitally ‘printed’ on a substrate, and embedded with variable embossed digital holographic data. With this technology, printers can create their own variable embossed holographic images in-house and on the fly on their printing press.

Digital variable embossing of holography just becomes one extra ink in the printing process, falling in register with the other ‘inks’ in a single pass.

Baldwin Vision Systems will examine how advanced quality control systems can inspect and verify overt and covert security features. The systems generate a special data file, combining the retrieved data from these features, which is used to track tax stamps through the finishing and packing process. The final version of the data file can then form the basis for a unique and reliable track and trace solution.

Value of smartphone technologies

Arylla, in Canada, will focus on the extensive value of smartphone technologies for authentication. It will begin by comparing smartphone readable features currently available, such as the holographic products from Authentic Vision, the Invisicode taggants from Arylla, and the stochastic copy detection codes from ScanTrust. It will then review new possibilities discovered across various markets and look at how these could apply to tax stamps. These include the powerful analytics that can be gleaned from usage data, the scale achieved by open sourcing product verification to gig workers (independent contractors or freelancers) and consumers, as well as experiments conducted with blockchain.

Quantum Base in the UK will look at how there has been a renewed focus on using secure unique identifiers in an overarching system to provide a multifunctional tax stamp. In this regard, it refers to its Optical Q-ID solution as the world’s first quantum secure tax stamp technology, empowering global supply chain actors to be custodians of product security, armed with just a smartphone. Q-ID tags employ materials with external properties defined by nanoscale, macroscopic imperfections.

A smartphone, with no additional hardware, reads a unique ‘quantum fingerprint’ identity from the tag and verifies it was generated by a quantum material, making cloning and simulation impossible.

Alan Hodgson, consultant in printing and imaging, and advisor to Tax Stamp & Traceability News™, will discuss how the design of tax stamps or secure labels of the future will be influenced by the need to interact with new technologies such as smart packaging and wearable mobile devices. He will examine likely routes that these technologies will take so we can plan for this and best identify the threats and opportunities these will bring.

This is just a taste of what’s in the programme for the Tax Stamp & Traceability Forum. We’ll keep you informed of new items as and when they are confirmed. Find out more at