Toppan Printing has developed a line of NFC labels that seek to combine high-quality metallic design with the communication performance required of NFC tags.

It is the view of the company that, 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.

Labels have also generally been attached in positions that ensure they are inconspicuous and do not negatively impact the overall design of the product or package.

However, Toppan reports that the ubiquity of smartphones has prompted heightened demand for product experiences provided to consumers via the use of NFC tags. Businesses are therefore reportedly considering ways to attach NFC labels in positions that make them easier for consumers to access.

With the aim of meeting these needs, Toppan has developed NFC labels with high-quality metallic design. According to the company, it is 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 available—a metallic decor type and a metallic surface type.

The metallic decor type label features decorative metallic designs achieved by combining a variety of printing techniques, including metal foil transfer employing digital printing. High-quality designs can apparently be produced at low cost and with short lead times because no printing plates or cylinders are required.

The metallic surface type, meanwhile, uses metalizing via vapor deposition to produce a metallic mirror finish. In addition to gold and other metallic colours, matt finishes are also available.

NFC communication performance can be inhibited by metal materials. Toppan has addressed this by leveraging 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 at 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.”