Military-grade spectrometer technology developed by government research agency the CSIRO and Sydney company DataDot Technology has been successfully trialled in a pilot program to accurately identify the origin of safe cladding on building façades. Counterfeit flammable cladding - said to be imported from China, with stickers attached falsely declaring it to be fire resistant - was found in Victoria just last month.

cladding tool

DataTraceID, originally developed to prevent and detect counterfeiting and prove product authenticity,  contains a luminescent inorganic marker, which provides a light signature that can be read by DataDot’s spectrometer.

The non-invasive technology is a currently used in the wide range of covert anti-counterfeit applications including casino chips, food and pharmaceutical products.

When Australia’s BMF (Building Ministers’ Forum) raised the issue of cladding identification, manufacturer Fairview Architectural asked its Innovations team to explore how best to incorporate a cutting edge ‘failsafe’ into panel labelling systems. 

"They quickly contacted asset identification and authentication experts DataDot Technology," according to a press release. "In an applied test for the building sector, some DataTraceID ‘marker’ was added to the fluoropolymer paint on the aluminium-core cladding Vitracore G2 - made by Fairview; the test proved 99% effective in spotting the ‘safe’ cladding’s origin.

"In blind tests, when Vitracore G2 panels were scanned with a handheld reader, researchers could verify panel source, type and composition data without having to remove any materials from the building facade system."

Ray Carrol, chairman of DataDot Technology, said: “We are excited that DataTraceID can make the process of cladding authentication far more efficient and reliable without the need to remove panels to undertake destructive testing. Sub-standard cladding has emerged as a major public safety issue and while responsible manufacturers like Fairview already label their panels, this innovative new security method provides great reassurance to anyone concerned by the ‘at-risk’ cladding issue.”

Greg Stewart, CEO of Fairview, added: “Fairview has already introduced a ‘traffic light’ panel labelling program and a SafeClad initiative in conjunction with the Master Builders Association NSW, but this ‘baked in’ solution helps builders, certifiers, developers, governments and installers to quickly and definitively verify what’s fitted on which construction.”

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick last month reintroduced a bill into the Senate that would ban the importation of all flammable cladding into Australia. The move, opposed by sign industry association ASGA, came days after the latest discovery in Victoria of counterfeit flammable cladding - said to be imported from China - with stickers attached falsely declaring it to be fire resistant.

DataDot Technology, an Australian public company (ASX-DDT), has provided asset identification, management, protection and authentication solutions for over 16 years throughout 28 countries. We have developed leading-edge covert, overt, stealth and now digital identification and provenance technologies that allow assets, and their component parts, to be uniquely marked and identified. DDT’s asset identification technologies have wide product application, and the potential to penetrate global markets across a range of industries including automotive, marine, clothing, food and industrial sectors.

Fairview is a privately owned company that specialises in the design, manufacture and distribution of façade solutions throughout Australia, with partners in New Zealand and the UK. With almost 30 years’ experience in the façade industry, Fairview is committed to providing aesthetically pleasing and safe façade products to the construction industry. Flexibility and attention to innovation, allows the ability to develop a range of non-combustible aluminium panel solutions and as part of their focus on addressing the issue of combustible facades; launching both Vitracore G2 and Vitradual in late 2015 and, in 2019, the latest innovation, Vitrashield.



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