Microdot costs a concern

2013-09-19 00:00

FROM the end of September, all newly registered vehicles must have microdots applied.

Witness Wheels have compared the current fees for an application of on average 5 000 microdots on a car, and the recomended retail price across the province is R850. Jannie Badenhorst of Elite Services in Ladysmith told Witness Wheels that he worries about companies who advertise they can dot spray any vehicle for R500 or less.

The dots alone cost about that price, and detergent that is needed to remove all the dirt and grease from a truck or trailer costs more. “We suspect the only way for companies to apply dots below the recommended retail price is to dab on the dots using a sponge. This is the approved technigue for motorbikes, which retails for R336,40 with us, not R500,” he said.

He said they spray on at least 5 000 dots made by Recoveri onto a vehicle after thoroughly cleaning it and using the right equipment. “This cannot be done profitably for less than R850 on a car, R1 500 on a truck or trailer.”

However, Koekie du Toit from Eaka Auto Secure Tracking told Witness they apply 10 000 microdots on all makes of vehicles for only R500.

THERE is no way in which a thief can remove the more than 15 000 microdots on a car.

Only one microdot was necessary to identify the vehicle or its parts — even if the vehicle is a burnt wreck, said Philip Opperman, CEO of Recoveri, a company that manufactures Microdots in South Africa.

The dots, each of which can fit on the tip of a needle, are sprayed with a glue onto several parts of the cars chassis and engine.

Opperman said each microdot contains a unique PIN which is linked on a database to the specific vehicel’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

“It is like giving a vehicle its own DNA. Even if the vehicle is taken apart in a chop shop, the microdots will still identify each part,” he said.

While the microdots can be seen with the naked eye, the information on them can only be read under a microscope.

Opperman said the technology limited car thieves and hi-jackers because they cannot remove the microdots to sell the vehicle or parts.

Opperman said the dots could also be used to protect cellphones, laptops and even livestock and rhino horns.

Fouché Burgers of Business Against Crime South Africa (Bacsa) had earlier said the microdots had enabled an increase in the number of vehicles that were returned to their owners.

Four companies currently sell Microdots, Data Dot, Holomatrix, Auto Dot and Recoveri.

“Our microdots are square, not round, and are 100% locally manufactured, compared to most of the others that are imported,” said Recoveri’s Opperman.

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