In the works for several years, this new packaging uses graphene printing technology (conductive ink) to create a concealed, low-cost circuit that is destroyed when opened. A battery-operated module sounds an alarm if someone attempts to cut or open the package before purchase. The alarm module would be removed at the point of sale and reused.
The solution, offered by MeadWestvaco, promises to reduce the cost and complexity of other product protection devices such as alarming wraps (aka SpiderWraps™) and boxes (aka Keepers or Safers). The idea that almost any size product could be protected by the same snap-on alarm module would have broad appeal within retail. Today, it is common for each store to stock numerous sizes of wraps, boxes, and tags – with some merchandise lacking desired protection solely due to their shape. The cost to store and apply these devices can be significant, but when the alternative is locking up merchandise, most retailers find it acceptable. Numerous studies have shown that securing products in cabinets or behind checkout counters results in a significant reduction in sales, compared with open-display merchandising.
The “Natralock® with Siren™” may have an additional tamper-resistant benefit, since the circuit shape and location is embedded within the layers of packaging material. As long as the alarm module and its connections to the packaging are not easily defeated, the system as a whole could prove to be more difficult to bypass without triggering an alarm.
Another new type of product protection technology is being offered by Proteqt. The solution consists of a “lock” that can be placed on products at the point of manufacturing or packaging, and is electronically released at the point of sale using radio frequency communication. Upon opening the packaging, the purchaser is able to remove and discard the lock. A review of the manufacturer’s website provides little detail about the security involved in the unlocking process, but it is presumably [hopefully] several steps above the magnetically-released locks found in most store-applied security tags.
This category of products is called “benefit denial” because an attempt to remove the lock before it is deactivated results in damage to the merchandise, typically rendering it unusable or unsaleable. Related products include clothing security tags containing ink capsules that break if the tags are forcibly removed, and DVD packaging with “teeth” that tear into the product unless removed using a special key.