Digital authentication technology will be used to tackle counterfeit personal protective equipment (PPE) in the Middle East.
Honeywell’s technology uses a smartphone app to authenticate PPE. The user scans a digital code embedded in the packaging with their phone camera and software validates the product’s authenticity through a database.
The company said increased demand for PPE, such as N95 respirators, to combat the Covid-19 pandemic had sparked a rise in counterfeit products across the Middle East and Africa.
Hundreds of thousands of counterfeit N95 respirators have reportedly been seized in the regions. Nearly 20 factories selling substandard face masks, disinfectants and hand sanitisers have been uncovered in the UAE since the outbreak of the virus and 400,000 counterfeit face masks were seized in Dubai in January 2021, Honeywell said.
Honeywell-branded N95 respirators are produced in the UAE by Strata Manufacturing as part of a strategic collaboration established last year in response to the pandemic. The N95 respirators are certified to meet N95 and FFP2 standards. The Strata-Honeywell operation produces more than 30m respirators annually.
Greg Norton, general manager, fine chemicals & authentication technologies at Honeywell, said the UAE would be the testing ground for the digital authentication technology across the region.
“This software will not only confirm the authentication of our N95 respirators made in the UAE, it will also help detect counterfeit PPE products to help authorities reduce illicit trade during the pandemic,” said Norton.