The published articles are meant to primarily educate the students in printing to supplement their knowledge in the field of Printing. These are not simple Glossary of printing terms, but to the extent possible every term has been explained in brief so that it can be of some use to the students who appear in some sort of examinations and interviews.
I served the Printing Industry for over 40 years
in various capacities, a major part in an Security Printing Organization. In order not to waste the printing and paper related knowledge which I gained over years, I decided to keep them in public domain for the reason stated in prepara. Most of the illustrations - over 90% - have been generated by me to explain the terms suitably.
While I am not sure to what extent the published content will help, if the content is going to be of use to some one in some manner, I will be greatly satisfied.
Your views may be sent to me ( for my record and correction wherever needed.



- Over 400 terms-

Click on this line to read from 'A'

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

India's Burma Currencies

India’s Burma
Currency Notes
Written by: N.R. Jayaraman

: Pre Script :

Recently I was approached by a Bank Official, Mr. Taut kwat of Myanmar seeking certain clarification on India’s Currencies used in Burma. He wrote:

“…….I live in Yangon, Myanmar. I am working at Myanmar Apex Bank (MAB) as Assistance Manager. In my work, I am in touch with money every day. I am interesting about old paper money that used in Myanmar and I want to learn. There is no Myanmar author/writer who writes about old paper money of Myanmar. So I want to write about these. But I have no old banknotes and not enough money to buy it. All I only do is to learn, to find the data and to ask questions to professional. This is the reason for query…………..”

  • Were Victoria Portrait Series Banknotes (1861-66) used in Burma after the British occupation of Burma? 
  • Were the Re1 Notes (King V) used in Burma?  
  • I cannot find about Green Unifaced 20 and 50 Rupees Banknotes for Rangoon Circle. Could you explain me about that with full of details? Or could you indicate the websites which include about it? 
  • Were King George V High Denomination Origin Notes (without Legal Tender Text) used in Burma?” 
    Therefore in response to his request I decided to write an article on 'India’s Burma Currency Notes' which covers most of his doubts and at the same time the article will also be useful to the students community as well. In compiling this article I took some inputs from my own project which I had compiled several years ago while I was  in service, when out of my own interest I compiled the 'History of World Currencies' along with various Currencies used at various points of time in the known history of Currencies and Bank Notes. The maiden adventure turned out to be a welcome success though the project took several months before I could complete as many of the websites from whom I took some inputs were covered by patents and copy right acts. Therefore it became necessary for me to first obtain permission from the authors of those Websites to use some of the material and photographs from their sites. Also the contents could not be copied as such and needed to be edited, recast to compile the history in short manner. Though an arduous process, I completed the same in patience successfully as it was educative in nature. I felt that the subject would be not only an informative and educative in nature, but will remain valuable reference document to those working in the Currency/Bank Note  Note Presses since the same was not available in a single source. Therefore with such thought  in mind after I compiled the personal project sans commercial interest of any nature, I donated the personal project to Bank Note Press, Dewas from where I retired in the next few months. That was the best personal contribution that I made in my personal level to an organization in which I had served over 33 years. Since it became a open document of educative in nature I took permission from the authors to use some of the information and images from their work for the project.

    The authors from whom I took permission were Mr. Peter Symes who is a publisher of World paper Money and has several articles to his credit on Currencies, Bank Notes and Stamps, Shri Tom Chai, an ex electronics Engineer at U.S and a Gold award winner for his Web site on Money Gallery, and Shri Anurag Vaishney, senior software engineer of Noida. All of them readily accorded their kind permission through E-Mail to use their web collections for my project.

    The present article too is widely based on inputs from my original project and also meant for educating larger community and published without any  commercial interest of any nature, I wish to once again thank the same authors and give due credits to them, wherever they are now,  for having given consent several years ago to use some inputs from their sites. Also due credits and thanks to some of the websites from where the illustrations of currencies have been taken and collaged for explaining the contents. PLEASE NOTE THAT NONE OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS ARTICLE SHOULD BE USED FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSE OF ANY SORT AS IT IS MEANT ONLY FOR EDUCATIVE PURPOSE TO ENHANCE THE KNOWLEDGE.
    N.R. Jayaraman

    Indian Currencies  
    used  in  Burma
    In the history of Indian Currencies, the Paper money transaction traces its origins to the late 18th Century when the issue of Paper Money as Currencies began. As some kind of Paper money was put to circulation in India by private banks in those period of time under East India Company and British rule, some of the Indian Currencies were also used by other countries with some imprint to indicate that they were usable as money in those regions where they were issued.

    When the Paper money was introduced they were referred to in different names such as Bills of exchange, Paper Money, Notes etc, even though all of them represented real money or Currencies for exchange. For better understanding of the topic the paper money used in different names are generally referred to as Currencies in this article.

    Few banks which first began issuing the Paper Money were the 'Bank of Hindostan' which existed during 1770 to 1832 , the 'General Bank' in Bengal and Behar (which is now Bihar) which existed during 1773-75 and the 'Bengal Bank' which existed during 1784-91.
    Paper Money or Currencies in general came to enjoy wider acceptance by traders after the establishment of few Semi-Government banks like 'Bank of Bengal' in the year 1806, the 'Bank of Bombay' in 1840 and the 'Bank of Madras' in the year 1843. However the acceptance was restricted to very small class of privileged users in the business sector.

    During East India Company rule in India, two private Banks in the name of 'Commercial Bank' and 'Union Bank' came up in the then Bengal Province in the first half of 18th century and they too began issue of Paper Money in the form of bills of exchange or some kind of financial instruments for transacting the business. Later some years, two more Banks in the name of 'Bank of Western India' in the then Bombay Presidency and 'Asiatic Bank' in the then Madras Presidency also emerged. Noticing the profits of the banking business, in the later part of 18th Century, the East India Company entered into the Banking business by establishing three 'Presidency Banks' in the then Madras, Bombay and Bengal Presidencies. This development further led to the circulation of money in the form of paper. From then on, slowly money began to be circulated in the form of Paper Money both by the Private banks and the banks under East India Company. Perhaps those financial instruments on paper represented the real money and paved way for the emergence of Paper Currencies or Bank Notes as issued and circulated in India much later. However since the financial instruments that represented the real money were only issued by the individual banks in their personal capacity, their use and circulation were limited within the trading community who continued to exchange them for money based on mutual trust. There were no appreciable security or design features on those Paper Money and most of them were very simple in design aspect and printed on hand made paper.

    Amongst the three Presidency Banks established by the East India Company, only 'Bank of Bengal' was authorized to issue the financial instrument on paper then known as Notes or Paper Money and were used for payment of Public revenues and other limited transactions of the establishment. The trend continued till 1860 when one of the Finance members of the Establishment (govt) mooted the idea of authorized legal Paper Money to be issued and guaranteed by the state itself from a single window superseding the issue of
    Paper Money by different Banks in their individual capacity. This resulted into enacting the Paper money act in the year 1861.

    The Paper Money Act of 1861 conferred upon the Government of India the monopoly of issuing the Currencies and prohibiting the Private and Presidency Banks from issuing Paper money in any form. The Paper Money Act 1861, also authorized the Presidency Banks which had been earlier established by the East India Company, to enter into agreements with the Secretary of State of the Govt for becoming the agents of the state for the issue, payment and exchange of Paper money.

    In this direction some Currency issuing circles were also created. There were only three Currency issuing circles operating initially. In the year 1862, the Government increased the Currency issuing circles by opening new circle in Calcutta in addition to the already existing circles in Madras, Bombay and Bengal. Since operating, managing and coordinating the issue of Currencies with the agent Presidency banks  increasingly becoming difficult, the Govt began terminating the agency services of the Presidency Banks and prohibited them from issuing and circulating the Currencies. In the year 1865 the services of Bengal Bank was suspended followed by the termination of services of Bombay and Madras circles in the year 1867. After terminating the agency services of the Presidency Banks, the management of the Paper Currency was entrusted to the Mint (Coins producing unit) Master of Calcutta  by designating him as Head Commissioner for Issue of Currencies.

    After centralizing the Currency issuing authority, Currency issuing circles were also increased by opening new issue circles in Kanpur, Rangoon and Karachi in addition to already functioning circles in Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. With the emergence of more Currency circles and clamor for Paper Money increased, the magnitude of Currency circulation too increased both in terms of value and volume. Therefore the management of paper Currency was again taken away from the Mint master and entrusted to the Controller of Currency, an independent authority  created to manage the entire Currency affairs. The Currencies were universalized and became legally encashable across the country whichever were under the control of the then British Government of India.

    Paper Currency was managed by the Government of India till 1934 when the Reserve Bank of India was established as the Central Bank of the country to manage entire Currency affairs even as British Govt was ruling the country. Once RBI was established through an act, it took over the function of Currency issue from the Office of the Controller of Currency. Currencies issued by the Reserve Bank of India became legal tender, encashable at any place in India for payment and the value indicated on the Currencies remained guaranteed by the Government.

    A Currency is generally considered as a type of negotiable instrument known as a promissory note and is issued by an authorised bank of a country. The amount indicated in the same are payable to the bearer on demand as every Currency is incorporated with promising clause assuring to pay the specific sum indicated in each Currency. For this purpose each Currency also carry the signature of the authorised person on the same Currencies. This is the main principle of the Paper Money.

    It is interesting to note that in the midst of all the developments as mentioned above and even before the formation of RBI the Indian Currency were in use as the official Currency in several other neighboring countries that were under the British rulers and governed from India, and one such country was Burma besides Pakistan, East Africa, Southern Arabia and the Persian Gulf. After Burma was annexed by the Britishers and kept as one of the provinces in Indian territory, they had put into circulation the very same Indian Currencies used in India but printed with imprint ‘for use in Burma’ or 'Legal Tender in Burma'. Being adjacent to Bengal, for administrative convenience and financial activities, the Britishers kept Burma under the Presidency of the then Bengal which is now known as West Bengal. Therefore the Indian Currencies in circulation then in India were also used by the Britishers as Currencies for Burma with imprint mentioned above. 

    It is not true that the Indian Currencies were used in Burma only after the formation of RBI, but the Indian Currencies were in circulation in Burma right from the year 1824 onwards even under different rulers since Burma was treated as one of the provinces of India. As explained earlier, prior to 1862 when the Paper Money had been issued by the 'Presidency Banks' of Bengal, Bombay and Madras, in order to widen the concept  of use of Paper Money to other areas, the 'Presidency Bank of Bengal' opened branches in Rangoon in the year 1861 and circulated Indian Paper Money through the Rangoon branch. The 'Chartered Bank of India', too had branches at Rangoon in 1862-63. 

    Thereafter in around 1882 or so an issue circle was created in the city of Rangoon in Burma and Indian Currencies issued by Govt of India were put to circulation in Burma through Rangoon circle. The concept of ‘Issuing Circles’ was adapted for the smooth running of the system. The entire geographical areas of the country was divided into areas called circles and Currencies were printed for each circle. Local languages were added in the Language Panel of the Currencies besides indicating the name of the circle which issued the said series of Currencies. Each of the circles had multiple sub-circles under them. Initially, the Currencies issued in a particular circle were not authorized to be circulated for use in another circle, and their encashment was possible only within that circle or a sub-circle office under the one which issued it.

    When the Paper currencies of India were introduced in Burma they were over printed with an imprint mentioning 'Legal tender in Burma only'. The  Japanese occupation and
    subsequent liberation of Burma during World War II saw Burma administered by the Military Regime for short period of time. After stabilizing the affairs of the state, the Military Regime handed over the administration to Civilian rule in the year 1946 and the Civil administration constituted 'Burma Currency Board' to manage the affairs of the issue and circulation of the Currencies for carrying out the financial activities.

    After Burma was liberated from brief occupation of Japanese forces, when it was placed under a military administration Indian Currencies in the value of Rs 5/-, Rs 10/- and Rs 100/- denominations were put to circulation for use by the Military Regime in Burma. The Currencies bore imprint in Red color - ‘Military administration of Burma, Legal tender in Burma only’. Some of those notes had the signature of Governor C.E. Jones and C.D.Deshmukh. Those meant for civilians were overprinted with imprint 'Legal tender in Burma only', and those issued for Military Regime were imprinted as 'Military Administration of Burma-Legal tender in Burma only' indirectly implying that such imprinted Currencies cannot be used in India. After the formation of Reserve Bank of India, and even after the formation of Burma Currency board under Civilian rule, the Reserve Bank of India continued to issue Indian Currencies for use in Burma with imprint reading 'Burma Currency Board- Legal Tender in Burma only'. This was done to safeguard and strengthen the financial activities in Burma and to curb illegal transactions.

    In terms of value, Currencies used in Burma remained at par with the Indian rupee. In the year 1935 when the Government of India Act came into force, the financial affairs of Burma were still continued to be managed by the British Indian Government. This facilitated the Central Monetary Authority of British India to issue Currencies on behalf of Burma for use there. After the formation of newly established Reserve Bank of India, it could not issue separate Currencies for Burma but instead put to circulation till 1938 the then Indian Currencies with some imprint indicating their legal use in Burma.

    No paper money was issued by Burma till 1937 and only Indian Currencies with imprint 'Legal tender in Burma only' were used under the British Empire. However even before Burma was separated from India in the year 1938, the Reserve Bank of India took the responsibility of issuing the Currencies under a treaty called Burma Monetary Arrangements Order, 1937. As per the treaty, RBI would continue to issue Burma Paper Money which were legal tender in Burma, but not legal tender in India.
    After the restoration of a Civil Govt in the year 1946, the financial administration was given to a Governmental body named ‘Burma Currency Board’ which too deployed the Indian Currency over printed with imprint ‘Burma Currency Board / Legal Tender in Burma Only’. An interim act enacted by the British Govt facilitated the continued use of Government of India Currencies in Burma with the Portrait of King George V on various denominations such as Rs 5/-, Rs 10/- and Rs 100/- carrying an imprint ‘Legal Tender in Burma Only’ till such time the Burmese Govt could began to print the Currencies of their own. Most of them carried the signature of Governor J.W. Kelley on behalf of the Govt. 

    The Burma State Bank issued notes of 1/-, 5/-, 10/- and 100/- kyat notes in 1944, followed by another set of issues of 100/- kyat note in 1945. The name of the Currency ‘Rupees’ was replaced with ‘Kyat’. In the year 1946 the Government of Burma constituted a Committee to formally design their own Currencies and coins and when the task was successfully completed, the Burmese Govt in the year 1947 formally terminated the treaty with RBI on the issue of managing the affairs of the Currencies for Burma and began issuing their own Currencies got printed elsewhere. However the Burma Currency Board, which had taken over from RBI in 1946, again used the same set of Re 1/-, Rs 5/-, Rs 10/- and Rs 100/- Indian Currencies overprinted with ‘Burma Currency Board / Legal Tender in Burma Only’ till such time their own Currencies were released. The Indian Currencies over printed with imprint were supposed to be circulated within Burma only, but a few found them back to India and people tried to wash them to remove the overprint and use them. Such Currencies were defaced and stamped with ‘Burma Notes / Payment Refused’

    After Burma gained complete independence in the year 1948, the title of the Currency issuer had changed to ‘Government of Burma’. Only Re 1/- and Rs 5/- Currencies were issued under that name. In 1949, the name of issuer of the Currency was changed to ‘Government of the Union of Burma’. Only Rs10/- and Rs 100/- Currencies were introduced under issuer’s name.

    However in order to streamline the circulation of Currencies in Burma, as an interim measure some of the Indian Currencies in denominations of Rs 5/-, Rs 10/- and Rs 100/- were got printed from the security press in India itself, overprinted with an imprint 'Burma Currency Board, legal tender in Burma only’ and put them to circulation for provisional use from the year 1947 till 1952 when Indian Currencies used in Burma was totally demonetized. In 1952, ‘Union Bank of Burma’ took the responsibility of issuing the Currencies. Re1/-, Rs 5/-, Rs 10/- and Rs 100/- denomination Currencies were issued. replacing the word ‘Rupees’ with ‘Kyat’ but the designs did not change. In 1958, the Peacock image from those Currency was replaced with Aung San, and the new 20 and 50 kyats Currencies were introduced. 

    Different  denominations  of   Indian

    Currencies  used  in  Burma:

    • Reserve Bank of India Currencies over printed with imprint ‘Legal Tender in Burma only’ were issued for denominations Rs 5/-, Rs 10/-, Rs 100/-, Rs 1000/- & Rs 10000/-. 
    • Reserve Bank of India Currencies over printed with imprint ‘Military Administration of Burma- Legal Tender in Burma only’ were issued for denominations Re 1/-, Rs 5/-, Rs 10/-, Rs 100/-. 
    • Government of India Currencies over printed with imprint ‘Currency Board of Burma’ were issued for denominations Re 1/-, Rs 5/-, Rs 10/-, Rs 100/-. 
    Though different types of Indian Currencies were used in Burma in different periods of time the security features in them were meager unlike the present day Currencies which are flooded with several security features to make them difficult to forge. The different series of Currencies for Burma issued in various periods are grouped as below:- 

    Green Under Print Series:

    The Unifaced ‘Under print Series’ (print on print) currencies were introduced in the year 1867. The Green Under print Series Currencies had security feature such as a Green under print denoting the denomination, guilloche patterns as design elements over printed on them. The said Currencies had some sort of watermark too and the quality of hand made paper used for printing them were better. The inbuilt watermark incorporated a code that indicated the year and date of manufacture of the paper. Initially those currencies were meant to be circulated only in the Currency Circle in which they were issued.

    Between 1904 to 1909 Rs 5/- denomination currencies were issued with green under print carrying the signatures of F. Atkinson and H. J. Brereton. Between 1897 till 1907 Rs 10/- denomination currencies with the signatures of R.E. Hamilton and Williams Wells were issued. Rs 50/- denomination currencies were issued in the year 1901 to 1910 from Rangoon. Rs 100/- denomination is reportedly issued in the year 1918 and signed by A.C. McWattersn H. Denning and M. M. S. Gubbay . However details on the the quantity of currencies issued are not known.

    The significant design features of those Currencies were inclusion of Burmese and Chinese languages along with Hindi and Urdu languages while displaying the numeral value of the currencies in words. The numeral value was found printed in bold numeral in centre of the currencies in green colour. Hence those Currencies were called Green Under print currencies and they carried the date, month and year of issue besides the place of issue circle in a single alphabet.

    Red Under Print Series:

    Later when it was realized that paper money was becoming more popular and the rigidity that they could be used only within the circle in which they were issued was relaxed to enable encashment of those Currencies in all areas under the control of the Govt. The major design change incorporated in those Currencies was promissory clause that read ‘promise to pay the bearer at any office of issue’. The Green colour under print was changed to Red colour under print. While the Green under print currencies the value of the currency was shown in four languages, The Red colour under print series Currencies displayed the value in eight languages such as Urdu, Kaithi, Bengali, Burmese, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Gujarati. The reason for the omission of Chinese language is not known. With forgery /counterfeit problem effectively checked by the fresh issue of Red Under print series, when more and more people began to use paper currencies, those travelling in various parts of the country were faced with the problem of use of the paper Currencies beyond the circles from where they were issued. In order to solve this problem, the Government introduced Red under print Currencies with additional features which could be used anywhere in the country under the then Govt. The Red under print Currencies thus paved way for wider use of Paper Money in any part of the country. Between 1903 and 1911, Currencies in denominations of Rs 5/-, Rs 10/-, Rs 50/- and Rs 100/- were issued and permitted to be legally encashable outside the Currency Circle of Issue. However, the names of the issuing circles were retained in those notes either in full form or by way of single alphabet . This series remained largely unchanged till the introduction of the 'King’s Portrait' series which commenced in 1923.

    Between 1908 to 1918 Rs 5/- denomination Currency was issued with Red Under print with the signatures of R. W. Gillan. Between 1912 till 1918 Currency in Rs 10/- denomination with the signatures of M. M S. Gubbay, R. W. Gillen, H. F. Howard were issued. While the denomination of Rs 5/- contained the value of the Currency in eight languages, in respect of Rs 10/- denomination English was added to denote the value. Rs 50/- denomination Currency was issued in the year 1901 to 1910 from Rangoon. Rs 100/- denomination is reportedly issued in the year 1918 and signed by A.C. McWattersn H. Denning and M. M. S. Gubbay. However details on the the quantity of Currencies issued could not be gathered.

    Victoria Portrait Series :

    The Currency notes with the portrait of Queen has been issued by Government of India in 18th century. The said Currencies had two language panels, water mark, very light designs and printed on hand made paper. Much later, some time before issue of King George V series Currencies with Victoria portrait   in denominations of Rs 10/-, Rs 20/-, Rs 50/-, Rs 100/-, Rs 500/- and Rs 1000/- have been issued by the Govt of India. It is not clear to the author whether the Victoria series Indian Currencies have been used by Burma.

    King George V Notes : 

    The Uni face series notes were always forgery prone and hence new designs were being frequently made. During the period of 1917 to 1932, notes with the portrait of George V were issued. The notes bearing the portrait of George V have the signatures of M.M.S. Gubbay, A.C. McWatters, H. Denning, J.B. Taylor and J.W. Kelly.  Indian Currencies in denominations of Re 1/-, Rs 5/-, Rs 10/-, Rs 50/-, Rs 100/-, Rs 1000/- and Rs 10000/- with the Portrait of  King George V

    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    Disastrous effect of Recycled paper - An interesting case study

    Written by: N.R. Jayaraman  
    Decades back, few of the most high profile printing units in Asia engaged in the act of printing high value security documents faced a unique problem of lint /fluff problem which left several voids on the printed image during printing by Dry Offset printing process. The high degree of voids appearing as white spots of different sizes over the image on the document was unacceptable to the customer as the documents printed were sensitive in nature and had high reputation and value internationally.

    The high value document paper used by the print houses were made of 100 % cotton combers (rag content) ones. The paper supplied also strictly conformed to certain vital parameters of the paper. The print houses were getting paper supplies from multiple sources of paper mills across the world besides  internal paper mill. Out of several supplies, the paper supplies received from two particular mills were highly prone to fluff/ debris (void on print) problem leading to higher percentage of wastage of the printed paper inspite of the fact that the paper supplies were pre inspected before receipt and cleared  acceptable for use. The print houses were losing a huge chunk of their profit though were not running in loss, but the loss on the profit was telling upon their overall performance rating.

    The procedure of processing the documents in those units were as under:-

    • Print by Dry Offset
    • Over print in Intaglio to partly hide certain areas of print
    • Examination of the printed documents for numbering
    • Weed out the defective printed sheets and sort them as all good and defective sheets
    • Numbering all good sheets in one pattern
    • Numbering the defective sheets separately by a different other pattern
    •  Recovering all good documents from the defective sheets numbered 
    • The final all good printed documents combined together and print material made ready for dispatch as per contract terms. 
    • Destroy the print defect sheets .
    The documents were subjected to printing on very old versions and newer versions of Dry Offset printing machines available in those period of time. The problem of voids on print was faced only in Dry Offset print unit.  All the Dry Offset machines were equipped with powerful dedusting unit inbuilt with anti static rods. The role of the anti static rod was to first remove the static or surface tension from the surface of the moving paper of feed board. Appearance of static or surface tension on paper is very normal in high speed machines caused by the mild rubbing by the  continuously moving sheets  from the feeder. Even minimum amount of rubbing  cause static on paper due to the high speed of machine running. Therefore all the automatic high speed running printing machines are always inbuilt with some form of anti static devices. Once the surface tension or the static is eliminated from the surface of the paper, immediately the suction unit  above the static rods under which the paper travel suck off the extraneous particles from the paper surface to allow void free print to take place.

    In order to keep the production cost of printing as low as possible within acceptable limits and to enhance productivity, the permissible printing defect of all sorts- manual as well as natural defects-  was limited to certain percentage of the total printed sheets and workers were suitably rewarded if the end results registered the rejection level well below stipulated mark by their timely intervention to curtail the defects on the machine. The permitted rejection level in force was in sinc to standard norms as practiced by the internationally reputed print houses who were also engaged in the act of printing similar documents on mass scale, using the same kind of paper and other raw material, some of which were also from the same sources of suppliers who were supplying to then existing Print houses being refereed under existing case study.  

    As I said earlier, out of several supplies, strangely the paper supplies from two particular mills were only leading to more and more wastage due to several void spots appearing on the printed images which was unacceptable to the customer and therefore those printed lots with defects (voids) had to be rejected which in turn hiked the production cost of the document. In order to control the rejection accruing out of such defect, the workers were instructed that as soon as the voids were spotted by the watchful workers, they had to stop the machine, clean up for voids and then run back the machine.  Since this action can not be carried out on the running machine, the machines had to be stopped, specks causing voids cleared and then machine rerun which interrupted the continuous running of the machine affecting total output producible. Internationally practiced standards were that stopping the machine once every 45 minutes to one hour gap - on an average 8 to ten stoppages in a shift of 8 hours for any kind of quality adjustment including for cleaning dust and dirt was an act of  good performance by the print house. Frequent stoppages of the machine for cleaning voids reduced the running hours of the machine, controlling the constant quality of the document became more difficult, reducing the waste of  paper in re-feed became more and more difficult. There was resentment in workforce as their rewards were shrinking on account of paper problem leading to higher percentage of wastage which lay beyond their control to correct.

    What exactly are void spots and how do they surface?   The process of image transfer on to the paper was like this.  The sheets were subjected to first printing ( base colour), both sides getting printed simultaneously
    by Dry Offset printing process. The process of printing both sides of the paper in one pass simultaneously is called perfecting printing process. In this process of printing, the inked image from the plate gets first transferred on to the blanket cylinder on both sides which in turn transfer the images on to the paper surface. Both the blankets on front and back side in act of dual role transfer the image on to paper as well as act as impression cylinder to each other.   

    The voids  are small to big sized white spots appearing over the printed image.  The voids are the partially embedded extraneous particles on paper, which instead of getting sucked by the dedusting unit get struck to the surface of the blanket cylinder during image transfer. The embedded extraneous particle from the paper stuck on to the blanket refused to get removed by itself and continue to stay over the surface of the blanket. The properties of the said particles are  that they prevent subsequent image transfer from the plate on to the surface of the blanket in those areas where they were seated thus making the area  no ink acceptable zone, thus finally leaving blank spot on print to appear. Those white spots were called voids in technical term.

    Actually the act of the dedusting unit with anti static rods is to suck away the loosely floating extraneous particles as released from the surface of the paper by the anti static rods. Generally the paper may contain some  partially or fully embedded foreign particles which may not  get released from its surface and therefore not get absorbed by the dedusting unit unless they are pulled out from the paper. As long as they remain stuck over the surface of the paper, no defective print  would appear. However if they are not removed by the dedusting unit and instead get stuck on to the blanket surface due to the pulling action of the greasy ink, then the defect of void spots began to appear. While the smaller voids are permitted to pass through in consent with the customer, the bigger voids are not allowed as they are construed as broken image thus lessening the value and importance of the printed document itself. Hence the prints with large voids are not  accepted.

    As the problem of fluff/ debris from the paper surface causing void images began to increase affecting productivity and let loose industrial unrest,  several technical committees were formed to diffuse the unrest, Discussions at several levels were held and matter debated extensively, each group airing their own technical views. Some of the technical views expressed were:

    • that the voids were the result of ineffective working of the dedusting unit or less powerful anti static rods both of which failed to remove the surface tension on paper which in turn kept back the floating particles remain over the paper surface, which subsequently got stuck to the blanket surface. 
    • improper conditioning of the paper to press room condition
    • too tacky an ink which pulled the fibbers from the paper surface
    • too much pressure between blanket cylinders
    • use of tacky surface blankets
    • the machineries and equipments producing paper in the mills were not cleaned properly and the dust and foreign particles stuck on them fell on to the paper surface and got embedded and therefore the machineries were to be thoroughly got cleaned  etc etc.  
    Based on the recommendation of the committees several tests, trials and other measures were taken as detailed below:
    •  Fitment of more powerful dedusting units
    •  Pressure between blanket cylinders adjusted
    •  Lesser tacky inks used
    •  Newer varieties of less tacky blankets tried 
    • The machineries and equipments in the paper mills frequently got cleaned in the presence of the technical experts committees formed at various intervals.
    •  A set of paper was freshly manufactured in the presence of committee and tried on the machine.
    Inspite of conducting tests and trials as suggested, no meaningful result in eliminating the menace was achieved and the end result in every test and trial was almost zero in curbing the problem. Years rolled none of the observations of the committee members produced concrete results many of which played less or no role at all on the vexed issue since the root cause lay elsewhere, known only to few authorities in the paper mills that supplied defective paper and the actual fact was kept hidden for mysterious reasons. What intrigued some of the think tankers was that while on the same conditions, the paper supplies of  other mills left void, fluff free prints and when the paper supplies from the two mills which were fluff prone were used, the problem resurfaced again. As a test case, when some quantity of paper was produced in one of those two mills under the watchful eyes and presence of some members, the behaviour of those paper were found excellent on the printing machines. How could then the same machineries and equipments which were blamed to be covered with layers of dust and dirt able to produce in the presence of the members good lots of paper when the basic raw material used was the same ? This was unanswered question in the minds of isolated think tanks some of whose expression of doubts in different angles were brushed aside as irrelevant  under certain pretexts and hierarchy. The  unfortunate aspect of the entire exercise was that the attention of the committee members were cleverly diverted from the aspect of basic pulp making process and they concentrated only from the pulp filtering stations onward on the paper making process. Therefore for many years the problem of the paper supplies causing voids on print continued to occur on lots of paper received from the two mills without serious attempt made to track the root cause of the problem. 

    Over the years  it became routine affair to constitute few task forces and committees with experts drawn from paper mill, machinery manufacturers and  the printing units to address the problem which as expected failed to address the problem as the root cause of the problem though  known to key personnel can not be contained altogether and at the same time on surface some action plan had to be stage managed to appease the workers and to show that corrective measures are taken. To consume the huge stocks of supplies already received and kept in the warehouse of the print houses and cleared on inspection and stocked in the warehouse of paper mills, as an interim measure to artificially reduce the magnitude of the problem,  lots of good quality paper received from other mills and defective paper lots  received from the specific two mills were mixed and issued for printing in the print houses and the productivity kept continued.  In order to maintain industrial peace, some sops were also given to the workforce at intervals to compensate the lesser pay the workers got due to higher level of rejection beyond permissible limits. The key personnel allowed the problem to die down by itself over the next few years as nobody could offer alternate solution in redressing the problem. After several years when the alternate suppliers entered into the fray, and  policy changed, the problem of higher percentage of waste accruing out of the paper automatically died down considerably.

    However the big question that stood unanswered in the minds of thinkers was 'what exactly caused the void on print that haunted the presses even though the papers used to be pre inspected to get nod for dispatch'?  After deeply studying the problem from various angles and discussion with several experts from the same field over many years, it became known that the root cause of the problem could have been  the use of higher percentage of recycled paper in the pulp beyond permissible limits. This fact could not be shared at that time in public, lest it would have created industrial unrest and wrath of key personnel. At the same time the key personnel always believed that time was the best healing factor and  bad experience with bad qualities of paper as has been discussed above  in their print houses will slowly fade away from the mind and hearts of the personnel in the same print houses as time passes.  

    It was realized that in one of the two paper mills, usually the mill itself recycled part of the trimmings from their own finished stocks and added them with good pulp at some proportion while manufacturing the paper in order to reduce the cost of manufacturing paper. This is usual practice adapted by many other paper mills too. The excess stock of trimmings which remained beyond the scope of their processing unit was sold out. In this instant case few private firms which brought the trimmings from the mills recycled them along with other paper trimmings and produced ready to use recycled pulp cakes (paper pulp) and sold them back to the same mill when the mill faced shortage of main raw material- cotton comber.  The ready to use paper pulp cakes  had to be procured by the paper mill  to offset the shortage of main raw material due to stringent procurement policies which hit them hard and production had to be somehow kept going even if it meant partial loss on profit to the print houses due to higher percentage of rejection and to whom the supplies were sent. The said paper mill thus knowingly continued production of defect prone paper by mixing good pulp plus some percentage of recycled paper from their own mills plus certain percentage of ready made recycled paper pulp cakes brought from the private entrepreneurs.

    The recycled paper cakes contained lots of foreign particles and shorter fibers both of which  did not get digested and mix well with the pure pulp. While manufacture, the small extraneous particles which passed through even filtering process lay embedded over the surface of the paper. Those partially embedded foreign particles struck on the surface of the paper  have been the culprit in producing severe fluff/ debris problem leading to void images on the print.  Nobody seriously bothered to analyze  how when the same mill continued to supply good quality paper to meet the printing requirement of a specific high value document (lest the supply would have been given to some other mills), the same mill continued to maintain bad supplies for printing low value  documents in the same print houses. 

    In the case of the second mill whose supply was terrible, it was speculated that the supply of defective paper manufactured with higher percentage of inferior quality raw material was borne out of bad business practice. Gelatin was used by this mill for coating instead of PVA coating since it was cheaper raw material. The Gelatin too has lot of extraneous particles that prevent proper bonding of fibers especially on recycled paper. It was observed that the paper mill  supplied defective paper lots with Gelatin as coating material instead of PVA coating and paper manufactured with more percentage of recycled paper in their supply along with  defect free lots  and thus indulged in unfair trade practices possibly due to the following reasons:

    • To offer  paper at lower rates in the face of stiff tenders.
    • To reduce cost of manufacturing paper supply them at lower rate
    • To recover recurring extra expenditures incurred on invisible cost expend while getting contract. 
    • To offset the extra expenditure expend on subsequent inspections
    • To offset loss on profit due to several extraneous considerations which can not be spelt openly.
    However one of those two mills was blacklisted from supplies later for many reasons. The speculation and observations  on both the mills which supplied bad quality paper as discussed above have no documentary proof and were heard to be so.  But it was unofficially known to key personnel who were firm in their belief that the above  would have only been the reasons since the supplies received from other mills who manufactured with  similar processing techniques with PVA coating instead of Gelatin were able to supply very good quality paper to the same print houses.  

    However with passage of time, when passive authorities left, bad suppliers blacklisted and changed, the menace of bad paper supply, mainly due to mixing of recycled paper with good pulp for manufacturing the paper sharply fell down automatically.  As years passed every one had also forgotten the turbulent periods of the episodes. However an important lesson learnt was that when too much recycled paper is added in the paper pulp during manufacture of quality product required for production of  high value document  as was needed, they will indeed  cause productivity loss.