Successful trials were carried out both in the research centre’s labs in Elda, Alicante, and in a presentation to the members of CEC-Made-Shoe at their recent meeting in Brussels.
One of the techniques is based on the application of tiny laboratory-generated chains of DNA. The chains contain a code known only to the lab which created them. When applied to a shoe or one of its components, they become camouflaged among hundreds of samples of DNA and it is therefore practically impossible to detect or copy the chain unless you know the code and its location.
Only through analysis based on a micromechanical silicon cantilever system is it possible to detect, with absolute certainty, the presence of the DNA which identifies a manufacturer from among the thousands of substances which populate the surface of the shoe.
The alternative method involves application onto shoes, leathers, soles, heels and adhesives of tiny coloured particles composed by a unique ID code associated with different manufacturers. If a reflective layer is added to these particles, just passing a laser pen across the surface is enough to detect their presence and therefore identify the owner of the marked piece. Use of these microparticles implies a very small increase in the final price of the product, making this a cheap and easy way to combat fraud in the sector.
INESCOP is currently promoting the benefits of these techniques among footwear and component sector companies, through on site application tests.