Trace-in-Metal vies for Business Innovation of the Year category 2018

By Laura Knowlson, York Press

The product, also named Trace-in-Metal, which has been designed by former police detective, John Minary, fires thousands of microdots into metal sheets “marking” them with a unique identifying code.

In addition to being impregnated into the metal, the dots – which are almost invisible to the naked eye - are also painted on to each sheet using an all-weather lacquer that shows up under ultra-violet light.

Such is the science behind Trace-in-Metal, that even the smelting process cannot destroy the nickel dots and their unique tags.

Trace-in-Metal is now protecting roofs on churches and heritage buildings in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, and it hoping to impress the judges in the Business Innovation of the Year category.

In 2015, Trace-in-Metal was awarded a £120,000 government innovation grant.

The match-funded money, given by Innovate UK, has enabled Trace-in-Metal to further develop its revolutionary metal marking system and to help garner vital third party accreditations.

Two years ago, Trace-in-Metal achieved the prized Police crime prevention accreditation, Secured by Design.

Since its launch on 2014, the Trace-in-Metal team have been looking at ways in which the product can be adapted.

Last year, after trials at a farm in the North Yorks Moors, TecTracer was officially unveiled to the outside world.

Whilst Trace-in-Metal uses ballistics to fire thousands of microdots into metal sheets “marking” them with a unique identifying code, TecTracer uses raddles to ingrain thousands of coded markers into the sheep’s fleece.

Once attached to the animal’s coat, it is extremely easy to identify any sheep that has been TecTracer-marked, and which farm it originated from.

Together with signs advertising the TecTracer marking system positioned around farm buildings and fields - combined with an e.alert early warning system linked to the police, farms, abattoirs and auction houses - its developers believe these will be such a deterrent as to render the animals virtually theft proof.

The unique identifying numbers are uploaded to a database, and if an animal is stolen, the early warning system then swings into action.

In March, 14 stolen pregnant ewes were safely returned to their Cumbrian farm thanks to TecTracer.

TecTracer is now helping rural communities to protect more than their livestock. It is being used by farmers to not only mark their sheep, but also to mark farm machinery, vehicles, saddles and bridles.

Thanks to the media interest in TecTracer, which was picked up by publications and websites in both Australia and New Zealand, the company has been approached by interested parties in both these countries.

Trace-in-Metal is fast becoming known as rural crime prevention experts. They have built solid relationships with key organisations including North Yorkshire Police, Derbyshire Police and Police Scotland and the NFU in Cumbria.

It is now looking at how else the application can be further adapted to help protect rural communities and rural businesses from criminals, taking advantage of a dwindling police presence.

From York Press