Contained in the Secretive Money Trade: The Cash Printer’s Story

Regardless of the passion for brand spanking new cost strategies, money stays a vital component within the overwhelming majority of economies. In actual fact, demand for money continues to develop, as Eric Boissonnas, Chief Govt Officer of Koenig & Bauer Banknote Options (KBBS), just lately identified. With KBBS printing machines concerned within the manufacturing of 90% of the world’s banknotes, a glance inside the corporate reveals how the secretive and demanding banknote business works and develops.

The historical past of Koenig & Bauer Banknote Options spans over 70 years, and, like many tales, begins with goals of recent concepts and strategies. Initially named Organisation Giori, the corporate began with a collaborative settlement with the well-established German printing agency Koenig & Bauer. Lengthy earlier than signing the deal, the founder, Gualtiero Giori, was satisfied that the banknote printing business was in dire want of one thing new: the tasteless single-color picture and design of banknotes then couldn’t match the post-WW2 financial progress. The world referred to as for safer banknotes printed in a lot increased volumes, and Giori set to reply it. 

His and different firm engineers’ innovations made a quiet revolution of recent applied sciences and effectivity within the secretive fiduciary printing business, and have become a technological cornerstone for a lot of fashionable banknote printing machines. A number of profitable launches away, Organisation Giori firmly established its place available on the market and, after 50 years of partnership, cemented the cope with Koenig & Bauer by changing into its subsidiary. 

It wasn’t an everyday massive fish that De La Rue – Giori (KBBS identify within the early 2000s) joined. Koenig & Bauer was a “Mittelstand” firm, Mittelstand being the identify of the constellation of companies that kind the German economic system’s spine. Other than technological excellence, conventional German credibility and family-like managerial and capital solidity, considered one of Mittelstand’s definitions sounds as «extremely targeted, attaining unprecedented efficiencies by designing a enterprise mannequin with a razor-thin focus and studying to do the one factor rather well». KBBS absolutely built-in this follow to create a stronger basis for the enterprise – and, consequently, a belief of their merchandise, banknotes. 

To make sure such confidence in money is a extremely necessary job for any banknote issuer. “An necessary a part of our work is to make it possible for the banknotes all of us use have state-of-the-art safety features, since if counterfeit banknotes are mistaken for real ones, this is able to erode individuals’s belief of their worth,” says Financial institution of England. This confidence performs a key function on the planet’s financial techniques and our day by day lives: banknotes, nonetheless well-received world wide, maintain the monetary worth and permit for safe funds no matter Web connection or social standing, present privateness, and develop into an irreplaceable asset in any catastrophe. 

Other than the safety features, central banks purpose for the printing high quality. Exact fiduciary printers are indispensable for layering safety parts into banknotes, and so they do it at a degree unreachable for normal machines, says Boissonnas: “This distinctive degree of high quality is absolutely the hallmark of banknote printing and is just achievable when utilizing devoted banknote printing gear. Business printing know-how can’t attain these ranges of precision and excellence.”  

Right here, the extremely targeted and client-oriented Mittelstand method labored nicely. What’s extra, it helped KBBS with one other facet of the business, the one that usually goes with little fanfare for most of the people. The case is that nevertheless good your gear is, you’ll unlikely attain the required degree with out shut cooperation with all business individuals and an built-in method to make sure flawless day-to-day operations. A banknote is born through a number of strategies, and placing them collectively requires a complete manufacturing facility, be it personal printing works of a central financial institution or a non-public safety printing firm. Let’s take a quick take a look at considered one of them, the Egyptian Banknote Printing Home: its two manufacturing websites are actually full of offset, intaglio, display printing, numbering and different machines, and getting them work required a consolidated effort spanned over two continents. 

The formal basis of the printing home for the one of the vital populated and fastest-growing international locations in Africa was laid in January 2018. Then, the Central Financial institution of Egypt (CBE) commissioned German safety printer Giesecke+Devrient with planning and constructing an built-in plant for the manufacturing and processing of banknotes, with KBA-NotaSys (former identify of KBBS) as their most popular tech companion. In the midst of development, KBBS equipped progressive gear and prolonged coaching periods for the longer term workers. “We are going to practice about 500 Egyptian technicians and operators […] over a interval of two years and work with them to share the experience of our instructors and make them acquainted with our know-how,” informed Thomas Hendle, Head of Gross sales at KBBS, earlier than the work began.  A couple of years later, this co-operation has introduced considerable fruits: the CBE launched its long-awaited 20-pound banknote, skillfully printed on long-lasting polymer substrate, sourced from De La Rue and CCL Safe, and secured with a so-called clear window with an progressive hologram from the French firm Surys. 

At his level, it could appear that banknote printing isn’t a lot completely different from any industrial manufacturing: set it up, get it going and collect the freshly printed payments. Nevertheless, the business has some particular pitfalls, hardly recognized to different producers. Other than normal points like financial savings on consumables or reducing operational down time, a banknote printing machine should strictly adjust to the true operational necessities, and likewise provide a possibility to take care of precisely the identical glorious high quality and traits all through a sequence lasting a number of years. 

To fulfill this problem, a fiduciary printer has to tirelessly enhance manufacturing, spend money on innovation and draw on suggestions from clients, Boissonnas explains: “Now we have reorganised our Austrian manufacturing unit with a view to take our meeting strains to the reducing fringe of essentially the most superior industrial processes, with systematic high quality management at each stage. This has enabled us to additional enhance productiveness, due to the simultaneous growth of our coaching centre, which has unrivalled experience.” And there’s the necessity to maintain money safe that retains spurring the business as nicely, the ECB reminds: “To remain forward of counterfeiters, we constantly work to enhance these [security] options and to develop new ones for future banknotes.” 

One other concern of a banknote issuer, maybe, seems extra acquainted. A invoice shouldn’t solely be counterfeit-proof, but additionally sustainable. It’s a facet necessary for all of us, which is why central banks go for sustainable money, its manufacturing and general lifecycle. Maintaining with this requirement requires a steady funds for innovation, and KBBS, particularly, offers with it by devoting 15% of its turnover to R&D and its implementation. That is the way it works in follow: “KBBS prints safety features with very exact tolerances, which allow the banknotes to be authenticated a number of hundred instances, at decrease value, whereas decreasing the necessity for safe transport and the related environmental influence,” tells KBBS’ Chief. 

The final pitfall could look by some means shocking after we communicate of a money printing. Suppliers don’t work alone, however as a part of fashionable ecosystems, the place every part, together with money, have to be related to the most recent know-how. Right here, gear suppliers as soon as once more flip to cooperation. Growing the SUSI Optics Jazz optical authentication answer, KBBS has teamed up with Fathom Optics, a specialist within the deployment of sunshine discipline know-how for particular results, Landqart for the provision of the precise polymer substrate, and with watchmaker Swatch for the design of the demonstrator be aware. Richard Pereira, whereas introducing the innovation on the Mexico Metropolis convention in Could 2023, highlighted the added worth of cooperation: “the substrate maker, the press-maker, the ink maker, the designers, the originators and, after all, the client, all have their roles to play as they arrive collectively and convey their enter to create this implausible function for the general public”. 

So, we see now that the lifetime of a safety printing business producer, even lifetime of as seasoned and well-established one as KBBS, is ridden with challenges and obligations. Nevertheless, as soon as every part is settled, the general public will get an opportunity to the touch a well-known banknote that includes the most recent improvements, just like the UV-visible SUSI Flip on the Solomon Islands’ polymer $5: “The SUSI Flip function has actually captured the creativeness of the banknote world as a result of it was a real innovation in the best way one explicit printing machine was used to supply a function that’s viewable below UV mild,” Observe Printing Australia (NPA)’s Malcolm McDowell stated whereas explaining the amusement. 

The component was printed by NPA utilizing a Koenig & Bauer Simultan IV and was the world’s first software of this function on a circulating banknote: “As a consequence of its configuration and complexity, the SUSI Flip is extra superior than every other offset UV function available on the market. It’s just about unimaginable to breed utilizing commercially out there applied sciences and thus very tough to counterfeit. Lastly, the function is simple to recognise and perceive for the general public,” KBBS itself explains on its web site. 

Seeing the great previous money born of this intricacy appears to create a hyperlink between the previous and the longer term. The idea of bodily cash has been current in our tradition for a lot of centuries, and people who assist to print it weren’t born yesterday both. At that, fashionable cash is unimaginable with out hi-tech and innovation, together with the printing gear. And, because the story and doings of KBBS present, it’s all about discovering the precise steadiness between the previous and future, and between being near clients and going forward of counterfeiters.