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Printed Electronics World
Posted on May 16, 2008 by  & 

Japanese companies introduce RFID Crystagram label

Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. Hitachi, Ltd. and Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd. have jointly developed the world's first "RFID Crystagram" (patent pending) label, which combines a hologram with a contactless IC chip. Toppan Printing has commercialized the RFID Crystagram and sales began on March 4, 2008.
Currently, counterfeiting and illegal distribution of many brand goods and other products continues throughout the world and has become a serious international problem. In response to these crimes, countermeasures have been introduced in many countries and industry, but cutting-edge technology is always required for the prevention of counterfeiting and illegal distribution.
Developed jointly by the 3 companies and commercialized by Toppan Printing, the RFID Crystagram is a label with which one of the world's smallest contactless IC chips, the µChip (developed by Hitachi), has been incorporated into Toppan Printing's original "Crystagram" hologram by employing Hitachi Chemical's mounting technology.
Top: RFID Crystagram and above: Reading of an RFID Crystagram
By affixing the RFID Crystagram to brand goods and various other products, a visual counterfeiting check is possible and it is also possible to trace products through production and distribution using the µ-Chip. This means that prevention of counterfeiting and illegal distribution as well as effective management and traceability are possible with just a single RFID Crystagram. The use of de-metallization, whereby the Crystagram can be processed into a detailed form, enables the design of the RFID Crystagram to be freely devised. Additional components such as an antenna are not required since the Crystagram's aluminum deposition section acts as the µ-Chip's receiving antenna for radio waves. Therefore, the RFID Crystagram has extremely high design quality and can be used to enhance a product's image.
Toppan Printing is actively engaging in sales aimed at manufacturers that handle domestic and overseas luxury brand goods and at industries such as food and medicine where safe distribution is required. Hitachi will provide services such as system construction using RFID Crystagrams as "Traceability/ RFID Solutions".


Holograms make use of the interference pattern created when two rays of light overlap to record and reproduce 3D images. They can give a unique luminance or sense of high-quality through images with a 3D effect and rainbow-like color changes, and are security devices which are extremely difficult to counterfeit or forge. Toppan Printing led the industry by starting hologram research and development in 1967. Holograms developed were quickly adopted for use on credit cards and currently the company's products are employed for a wide range of items such as product coupons, gift tokens, checks, and verification of authenticity for export goods.


Electron beam technology used in semiconductor component manufacture is applied to create bright, high-definition images and achieve a unique visual effect. Since sales began in 1994, Crystagrams have been used predominantly for security applications such as for credit cards and securities.


This is a contactless IC chip developed by Hitachi. It is the world's smallest class of IC chip, square and measuring 0.4mm on the side (one version is only 0.1mm on the side) it typically has a printed silver microantenna and a read-only ID with a memory capacity of 128 bits (38 digits in a decimal system). Due to its small size and thinness it has become possible to attach it to a wide range of materials and parts, including paper, to which attachment was previously difficult. Hitachi provides expansive business solutions, including optimization of the efficiency of corporate management or development of new businesses, centered on functions using the µ-Chip such as data processing, determination of product authenticity and recycling of products and resources. The µ-Chip is the ucode approved tag of the Ubiquitous ID Center (Chairman: Ken Sakamura, Professor of the University of Tokyo, Chairman of the T-Engine Forum and Chairman of the YRP Ubiquitous Networking Laboratory).
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