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University spin-out ilumink has been acquired by leading industrial technology specialist Tracerco, part of the Johnson Matthey group.

ilumink has developed new approaches for physical authentication with breakthroughs in printable laser technology. Key applications include authentication, anti-counterfeiting and security products. Potential markets range from high-value consumer goods through to pharmaceuticals. The technology is unique in offering brand owners overt, covert and forensic authentication in one easily applied print feature.

The company was founded by key members of the Department of Engineering research team at the University of Cambridge. Its technology was made possible using grant funding from the Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPSRC), and the Cambridge Integrated Knowledge Centre (CIKC), with subsequent commercialisation funded and supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub. Patent funding and support was provided by Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge.

The acquisition of ilumink will allow us to expand our portfolio of technology offerings to ensure we keep pace with the changing needs of customers.

 Dr Vince Croud

The acquisition will further enhance Tracerco’s extensive product assurance portfolio, which is based on innovative and covert marker chemistry coupled with sophisticated and customised analytical platforms. The ilumink technology compliments Tracerco’s expertise in in-product marking with a cutting edge packaging authentication capability positioning Tracerco as a full service provider for all its clients’ authentication needs.

Tracerco’s product assurance technologies are deployed in global brand protection and authentication programs to counter adulteration, counterfeiting and false liability claims across a range of products. The company’s authentication solutions provide rapid incontrovertible evidence that a product is genuine, or not and therefore plays a critical role in detecting and deterring counterfeiting, countering tax and duty evasion, managing false product liability issues, detecting product dilution and adulteration and managing licensed product use.

Dr Vince Croud, Tracerco’s Technology Director, said: “The acquisition of ilumink will allow us to expand our portfolio of technology offerings to ensure we keep pace with the changing needs of customers. It is an excellent fit with the Tracerco business, and the acquisition will allow Tracerco to offer a greatly enhanced range of solutions to its customers.

The ilumink team has been expertly led by Dr Damian Gardiner since its inception, and we are impressed by the dedication to technical excellence and innovation. Bringing the team within Tracerco, provides a great opportunity to build on these strong foundations.”

Dr Gardiner has commented on the acquisition: “My colleagues and I are very much looking forward to becoming part of the Tracerco team. By combining our technical expertise and creativity, we can further develop our world leading anti-counterfeiting and brand authentication technologies for our customers’ benefit.”

Arnoud Jullens, Head of Enterprise at the Royal Academy of Engineering, added: “We’re proud to have supported Damian through the growth of ilumink from a university spin-out to this important new phase. The Enterprise Hub is geared-up to identify the UK’s most promising academic engineering talent and support the development and growth of fully-fledged, successful enterprises. ilumink’s achievements to date are testament to this process and the value that we offer through mentoring, funding, and making connections.”

Photo credit: High Power Green Laser by Andrew “FastLizard4” Adams via Flickr