Quebec firm develops secure luggage tags
By Jennifer Brown
Next time you rip a baggage label off your suitcase, think about how easily it came apart. A Quebec-based company has developed a new product they think will make that label a little more secure.
By Jennifer Brown
Due to increasing demand to heighten airline security, Tamperguard
developed and released in November a specialized baggage tag to secure
passenger luggage from the check-in counter to the luggage carousel.
“Regular baggage tags can be removed and reapplied easily,” says Cheryl
Freder, account executive with Group DC in Lasalle, Quebec which makes
the Tamperguard line of tamper-evident seals and tags.
Tamperguard is hoping the airlines will soon be interested in adopting
its new tamper-evident baggage label which offers an adhesive that is
more resilient in cold weather. The company utilizes a variety of
specifically engineered security features, rendering any attempt of
tampering, to be clearly visible. If the label is peeled, heated, or
frozen, indicators appear.
“Technically speaking, our label stock is a combination of high quality
direct thermal paper laminated with a polyester film for maximum
strength. The tamper evident graphics are printed in red, so as to
remain invisible to infra red scanners used in the baggage handling
process,” says Freder.
“Our tags offer increased value by way of their security features,
competitive pricing, and their ability to remain sealed in extreme
humidity and temperature conditions,” says Tamperguard president
With some other seal products, removal is accomplished by peeling the
label or seal slowly, using a hot air source or an inverted aerosol can.
RFID is in use in baggage tags at airports in Hong Kong and Las Vegas,
but it only helps confirm that the bag belongs to the passenger.
“Most airlines are looking at RFID, but it is too expensive now, but it can be built into the tag later,” says Drori.
Baggage tags are issued by air carriers and their association, the
International Air Transport Authority (IATA), is currently promoting 2D
barcodes as they have for boarding passes. Those who work with the
airlines suggest RFID is the future.
“As far as we are concerned, if there was a move in the future toward
RFID, this would lend itself to increased effectiveness, but it would
require some changes in configuration to read the tag, but it would
make the identification of bags much more easier,” says Yves Duguay,
vice-president of operations for the Canadian Air Transport Security
Authority. (CATSA). “From my last look at RFIDs, they are getting more
and more performance and smaller with every new generation, so I think
that we would not see much of a change from the current tags, except
maybe smaller,” says Duguay.
“We could apply an RFID label inside our Tamperguard baggage tag,” says
Freder. “They perform different jobs. Tamperguard protects the tags
from being removed and re-applied to another bag, and the RFID label
tracks where the bag is as it moves through the airport without having
to physically scan the barcode. The RFID can tell you where the bag was
last seen, not where it is.”
Duguay adds that there have been troubling stories in Europe and the
U.S. where it was alleged that some persons were able to intercept the
RFID signal to decode personal information.
“I am sure that if it is ever used for baggage that they would fix this problem,” he says.
The price of the Tamperguard baggage tags is competitive with what the
airlines are currently paying for their non-tamper evident equivalents,
Currently Air Canada uses Tamperguard’s tamper-evident seals on its on board medical kits to secure morphine.
Several electronics manufacturers such as Sony use the company’s labels
for their cameras and other electronics. Companies in the
pharmaceutical, finance, and transportation industry also use the seals.
Tamperguard claims that its product cannot be peeled and reapplied nor
can extreme temperatures be used to defeat the adhesive without leaving
evidence. Often, other seal products can be lifted by applying extreme
heat with a hair dryer or cold with an aerosol product. Typically there
are three ways to defeat standard seals: by means of slowly peeling,
heating with a source of hot air, or by freezing the label.
“The tamper-proof seal means you can’t remove it without knowing someone has lifted it,” says Driori.
To date, Tamperguard has no takers yet for its baggage tag, but is optimistic it will see interest soon.
“We do have a number of prospective clients currently testing our
samples, and considering using our product when it is time to reorder,”