Coinage technology may be evolving, but the technology for bank notes has been evolving even faster.
Bank notes that at one time were commonly referred to as paper money don’t necessarily involve paper any more. At one time a bank note was considered to be high tech if the vignettes on that note were sufficiently complex that it became challenging for counterfeiters to successfully copy those designs.
Note Printing Australia led the way into the modern bank note era when in 1988 NPA introduced the world’s first polymer composition bank note, a $10 Bicentennial issue. Today more than 50 countries use polymer rather than paper on which to print more than 150 denominations. According to the NPA web site, “Polymer bank note technology has gone down in history as one of Australia’s greatest inventions and exports and is a point of national pride.”
While vignettes appearing on bank notes continue to be an important factor in keeping one step ahead of counterfeiters, the very material from which bank notes are printed, the advancement in novel colors applied to the notes, and other anti-counterfeiting security devices have been added.
The latest step in bank note security was introduced May 20 by the Louisenthal division of Giesecke+Devrient in Germany. Louisenthal’s RollingStar i+ is the latest security thread technology. According to SecuringIndustry.com, “The product range combines two security technologies: ColourShift for color changes and micro mirrors for dynamic effects arranged according to highly complex algorithms… Mirrors enable an attractive optical design of the security thread. At the same time, the sub structure also offers expanded potential for customization and outstanding design integration possibilities. Each thread window can be assigned a specific motif.”
The SecurityIndustry.com article continues, “The new RollingStar i+ also offers proven magnetic machine readability. Last but not least, improved color homogeneity and an optimal color effect support fast and reliable authentication – even in low light conditions.”
Louisenthal Managing Director of Reasearch and Development Technology and Production Alfred Kraxenberger said, “Central banks need to innovate their bank notes with features that are visually attractive, counterfeit resilient, and machine-readable. This is especially true with regard to security threads. Since bank notes are seen to act as a calling card for a country, all features need to play together in perfect harmony in the bank note design. A security thread should also offer sufficient options for design integration and individualization towards country-specific motifs and themes.”