A huge achievement in our collaboration with University of Turku!

As you might have read from our Smart Blog, we’ve been researching various anti-counterfeiting methods in collaboration with University of Turku for some time now. Now the work continues with even more enthusiasm, as the Post Docs in Companies (PoDoCo) program granted the research group with funding!

”We’ve been researching various anti-counterfeiting methods under the leadership of Smart Product Specialist Jaakko Niukkala for several years. These methods include both physical markings, such as product numbers and serial numbering, on products with laser and ink jet, as well as product identification at the software level, which are based on individual QR codes,” says Aleksi Arpiainen.

The well documented research led to an inspiring collaboration: since summer 2022 the research has been conducted together with PhD Ian Machado and the Intelligent Materials Chemistry Group from the University of Turku.

”I was surprised to get contacted by University of Turku as we have had no connections there. What really got me interested of the collaboration was the fact that they were searching for potential commercial uses for the photochromic material with some very promising properties. After the mandatory paperwork we got things rolling smoothly and with low threshold. Both us and the UTU team are genuinely interested to harness the potential of the material in our applications”, Jaakko sums up.

Through our joint efforts and expertise, a material that is suitable for making markings that are invisible to the eye has been developed, and Machado’s team explores its potential in their own applications.

“We did development work together with the research group, experimenting with mixing the substance with silicone, which we screen-printed into gaskets to improve their sealing properties. The results were promising, so we decided to continue the collaboration”, says Machado.

Ian Machado and our team will continue the research with the help of PoDoCo. Machado thinks that development of uses for smart photochromic materials is a good example of extending the partnership between the academy and industry.

“Among many challenges, optimizing the markers production and concentration can be cited, together with designing new infrastructures for this new approach”, says Machado.

”Our goal is to find out how photochromic material would be easiest to apply to our own work, what conditions it can withstand and how low concentrations it can still be detected. If successful, the project may not only improve the recognizability and safety of our products, but also to commercialize the material for other companies operating in the spare parts market, for example by means of a license model. At best, this would bring significant growth to our business,” Arpiainen describes.

The PoDoCo program: funded by foundations

The PoDoCo program is led by DIMECC and funded by the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, Maa- ja vesitekniikan tuki ry, Svenska Kulturfonden, The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland (SLS), Finnish Foundation for Technology Promotion, KAUTE Foundation, Foundation for Economic Education, Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation, and The Paulo Foundation, investing a total of approximately 800,000 euros every year, which enables over 24 full-year grants each year.  www.podoco.fi