Interview With KBA on How To Make Our Money Safe & Britains New Fiver

New developments in printing technologies and materials enter almost every part of our lives. In the past, these have also affected a very important one: our money. With the rise of money, laundering techniques, new ideas and concepts for keeping our money safe and resistant are needed. Security printing constantly evolves and comes up with innovative ways to keep paper bank notes from being copied.

safety

New developments in printing technologies and materials enter almost every part of our lives. In the past, these have also affected a very important one: our money. With the rise of money, laundering techniques, new ideas and concepts for keeping our money safe and resistant are needed. Security printing constantly evolves and comes up with innovative ways to keep paper bank notes from being copied.

Just recently, the Bank of England introduced the new polymer 5-pound note. According to the Bank of England, the new polymer bills are the most resilient ones ever made. They will last 2 ½ times longer than usual paper bills and can even be washed and chewed.

Old and new techniques for safety printing

We talked to Claus Bolza-Schünemann, CEO of Koenig & Bauer AG and president of drupa, about trends in safety printing, the new fiver and the challenges in making our money safer.

drupa: For 160 years now KBA develops machines for security printing. Today, around 80 percent of all bills worldwide are produced on KBA-NotaSys machines. Have you been involved in printing the new 5-pound note as well?

CBS: Yes, among technologies of our competitors KBA machines have been involved in the printing of the new 5-pound bill.

drupa: Which trends in safety printing do you see and how does KBA influence these developments?

CBS: In safety, printing there has been the principle: Always be one step ahead of counterfeiters with even better safety features! A great part of our work is the development of such features. On the one hand, they cannot be reproducible on normal inkjet printers. On the other hand, cashiers and laymen have to be able to check their authenticity easily. During the past decades, our specialists at KBA-NotaSys have developed a vast expertise, which is mainly responsible for our technological lead and our market leadership in safety printing.

drupa: What is so special about the new polymer bill?

CBS: In contrast to usual bank notes, which are printed on special paper made from cotton, the new ones are printed on polymer aka as plastic. In the media, this is said to be a completely new thing, but in Australia, Mexico, New Zealand and Canada these bills are already in use. The change is due to the said longevity and hygienic reasons. KBA-NotaSys also uses this technology, but we and most of our clients definitely prefer printing bills on paper because of security matters. Based on the unique haptics consumers instantly recognize real bank notes and can distinguish them from the fake ones.

drupa: What has to be taken into consideration when printing security papers and bank notes?

CBS: The production of safety papers is a highly sensible business for professionals and underlies strict safety standards. These affect the access of printing houses, the employees, the materials such as papers, colors, the quality controls, the storage and lastly the distribution. Mostly, the notes are produced in state mints.

drupa: What is the biggest challenge in the development of new safety features?

CBS: We have to take a number of things into consideration when we develop new ways of making the bills safer: Firstly, they have to be unforgeable, they need to be identified easily by consumers and lastly the production has to be cost-effective.

drupa: How close does KBA work together with the designers for the bank notes? How mutually dependent are both?

CBS: We do not only develop special machines for the printing process but also help our clients with the design of their bank notes. For that, our specialists in Lausanne design bills with all required safety features for interested states. One example for that is the South African Rand note with the portrait of Nelson Mandela, which was introduced in 2012. Besides that, it is essential as well to work closely with the external designers hired by our clients.

drupa: What was the first safety feature KBA has printed?

CBS: It was the iris print at the beginning of the 1930’s.

drupa: Which is the safest bank note KBA has ever produced?

CBS: There are many, actually! Especially in the recent past, we contributed to the production of the new Euro notes and Swiss francs.

Thank you for the interview Mr. Bolza-Schünemann. We are very excited for future things to come in the field of safety printing.