Written by : N.R. Jayaraman
Cash remains the
predominant retail payment system all around the world even as cashless
transactions are also increasing slowly. Since cash remains readily usable
anywhere, anytime and offers high level of convenience, the need to scrutinize
and segregate deposits of Bank Notes and Currencies into fit and unfit
category, simultaneously weed out the counterfeited notes from the bundles to
meet the ever increasing demand of hard cash for transactions remains the top
agenda of the issuing banks.
There is no
denial to the fact that once issued to public, the quality of the
currencies continue to deteriorate at faster pace due to the frequency of
usage and the manner in which they are handled. In most of the countries, the
Currencies and Bank Notes are handled casually by public, not everyone use
wallets to keep the currencies fairly in good condition, not even traders keep
them well stacked. A third of the currencies and bank notes that are put to
circulation deteriorate in a short spell of time and therefore it has become the standard policy of the Central Banks to recirculate
only the fit notes for public consumption retaining the currencies that have
lost their useful life from the the deposited lots. The exercise of determining
the deteriorated or unfit currency notes and replace them with new sets of
currencies to maintain the quality of currency in circulation is done by manual
checking process by the issuing branches.
In order to
maintain the prescribed level of quality in currencies that are put to circulation, the banks
resort to the exercise of periodically withdrawing deteriorated currencies and
replace them with fresh currencies. In addition further currency is also put to
circulation to meet the increasing market demand, all done in certain
ratio, even as sufficient buffer stocks of Bank Notes and Currencies are
got printed by the issuing central banks in the Security Printing presses.
What parameters determine the clean note policy? A Currency notes is considered
fit for further circulation provided it meets the following criteria:
- That the notes are not soiled.
- Design elements not excessively faded, discolored or currency remain
limp or firmness. Limp refers to the loss of firmness or crispness of the currencies
- Not too much creased or contains too many folds that will break that area.
- Not cracked nor lost the corners.
- No glaring holes due to stitching or stapling by users.
- No broken serial nos.
- Currencies with no defaced drawings, words, numbers, signs, symbols or where the serial number,
imprint year, Governor signature, value of the currency, or any feature of
the note has been altered in significant manner.
- Security threads damaged.
- Mutilated in any manner and two pieces joined by
Bigger challenge before the
central banks is to decide whether circulated bank notes received back in deposits are still suitable for
recirculation, whether the deteriorated currencies are to be destroyed and replaced by new ones. This again rests on the manual examination process to effectively sort out and weed out the forged currencies suitably. The longer use of banknotes reduces the cost of printing and prevent environmental
pollution. Given the huge amounts of currencies and bank notes in circulation, determining the fitness of banknotes or currencies will
have to be done with due consideration in manual examination process not only to reduce the cost of printing new currencies, but also to reduce the impact on environmental
pollution due to destruction of currencies in several ways, one amongst them being burning by incineration.
The currencies continued to be still largely counted and examined manually to determine fitness criteria
in most of the presses and banks. The inspection of currencies and bank notes
being labour oriented, every note on every sheet is examined manually in the presses before
processing into finished currency and similarly in the Central Banks and their
branches the finished notes and currencies issued or deposited back are also
examined manually to carefully determine fit, unfit criteria and weed out counterfeit currencies based on broad parameters listed above.
certainly agree where criticality in examining is required,
the manual inspection can not be foolproof. Where every note or sheet is
inspected manually, the examination can be done only with certain amount of subjectivity which
varies from person to person as the defect which may appear to be minor to one
may be acceptable to the other as tolerance limits can not be explained for
visual inspection, that too in areas where microscopic look may be required to
determine fit currencies. If haphazardly done such issues invite litigation and dispute. Therefore uniformity can
not be maintained in manual examination where criticality is required.
tolerance limits which can not be explained for visual inspection, the
limitation of time involved in the manual sorting process is another
hurdle that needs to be considered. With the advent of more and more visible and invisible sophisticated
security features incorporated in the currencies, criticality in
examination and time factor apart, the aspect of cost effectiveness too needs to be
automation to take away subjectivity factor and reduce the time involved in manual
process became necessary in the field of examination of currencies, and rightly
several systems/machines with new generation detectors and sensors have been
developed to ensure faster and objective scrutiny of printed currencies and sheets
for use both in the presses printing currencies and in the Central banking
sectors and units working under them who issue the finished currencies for
Over a decade or
so many automatic inspection machines have been developed by some of the
leading players in the field of processing systems for Notes or Currencies.
Interestingly not only the presses that print the currencies and the issuing
banks that issue the finished currencies to public face the problem of objective sorting and issue, in a step further there
remain several other areas like Malls, Super markets, Casinos and Gambling dens
where ever increasing lots mixed with several denominational values of currencies including countries of other countries too need to be quickly
sorted and issued again and again weeding out counterfeited currencies if any
found mixed in them. Across the world, many of the Malls, Super markets, Casinos and Gambling dens accept universally acceptable currency with appropriate exchange rates and therefore in those areas too the mixed lots of currencies need to be effectively sorted out appropriately.
Even many of the
collection centers receive mixed bags of currencies across the counters or in
the deposit boxes. They have to be quickly and effectively sorted. In respect
of issuing bank branches, they too receive bagful of currencies which need to
be sorted to identify the fit /unfit currencies. All these factors will reveal
that inspection and sorting of defect free currencies alone is not sufficient,
but also the machines that are put to use for inspection and sorting need to address the additional problem of separating the mixed
currencies appropriately from the lots. Realizing the magnitude of the problem,
the suppliers have moved a step forward to develop processing machines that
sort, determine fit/unfit currencies, but also sort out the currencies
into various denominational values, various currencies etc drastically
reducing the time involved in such exercises if done by manual labour.
automation in sorting the multiple currencies into various
denominational values, various currencies etc cannot be expected to be 100 %
accurate, but contested by the suppliers who assure 100 % accuracy, the general
feeling is that there will be an error margin of at least 2 % in view of
several security features incorporated in each of the currencies which needs to
be quickly scanned and compared in memory with the machines for sorting. However in respect
of single country currencies the effectiveness of inspection cum sorting
machine to process the currencies into fit/unfit Currencies have been highly
Bank note processing machines led to designing suitable table top model to
heavy duty machines some suitable for the Presses and some for the Central
Banks and their branches. Though at the outset it may appear simple, remember
all operations to be carried out like comparing the currencies with
memorized images and then sort, count, pack, reject destroyed
etc all to be carried out at high speeds by a single machine is not an easy task to
do accomplish. The case assumes more importance especially where sorting for the currencies packed in ATM as ATM fit
and ATM unfit is involved. Amazingly all these operations have been made possible in the
specialized machines developed by leading players in the supply of such
function of the sorting machines or processing systems is:-
- Rapid sorting and accounting of mixed denominations
or various other Currencies and accounting them separately.
- Fitness sorting so that the usable and unusable
deno including the counterfeited notes are identified and weeded out in
- Withdrawal of expired series in separate stack.
The Bank Notes or
Currencies processing machine consists of plurality of sensors, a transport
system, an input/output device, a control device and an interface. The control
device has memory console that has the entire elements of bank note or
currencies and during processing the data is compared through a software to sort
out fit/unfit currencies or bank notes. The interface has couple of memory systems to keep features of different kinds of bank notes or currencies
and which can be updated with alteration, supplementation or replacement of the
data stored in the memory.
The heavy duty
and most sophisticated ones have been marketed by eminent players like Giesecke and Devrient, De la Rue Giori and Japanese
firm Toshiba etc. Even the small players like Kores India have produced
smaller version for use in Banking sector and RBI in collaboration with a firm
De La Rue Giori,
pioneers in the field of manufacturing of several printing and processing machines for
security printing and whose company installed the world’s first Automated
Teller Machine (ATM) at Barclays Bank, in London, in the year 1967, claim to
provide a range of high-speed cash sorting and authentication systems,
enterprise cash management software and single note inspection equipment for
banknote printing facilities, ensuring optimum productivity and
performance for banking sector. The DLR 9000 processing machine
offered by De La Rue claims meet the needs of banknote print works for
end-of-line inspection and processing of fully-printed banknotes, guaranteeing
the quality of currency.
One of the processing machines introduced by Giesecke Devrient (Giesecke &
Devrient GmbH, Munich, Germany/ www.gi-de.com) has been Numeron® which
according to the manufacturers have installed base of over 10,000 systems. The
machine reportedly processes many different Bank note qualities and substrates
including Polyester and hybrid paper. The speed of the machine is 1200 bank
notes per minute and mainly intended for use in Central banks, Casinos and
Commercial banks. It has integrated printer to get statistical reports. The
machine rapidly sorts out mixed deposits including fit and unfit sorting.
The second model
has been BPS®C4, which is most suitable for Cash Centers, Casinos and other
areas where cash inflow is very high. BPS® C4 reportedly supports as many as
100 different Currencies, from Paper to Polymer base, but limited to 20
Currencies at a time as the output compartments are limited to 20 on this
machine. The BPS®C4 enables uninterrupted operation even when Currencies are
fed continuously that scans both sides of the Currencies with an excellent
degree of authentication to sort, account and detect even counterfeits with
high degree of high-tech sensor system with intelligent interface guides. It
keeps accurate accounting even after jam recovery of the machines and the speed
of the machine has been 40,000 notes/currencies per hour. The other models
supplied by them include BPS X9 which processes 1,50,000 currencies per hour,
the fastest processing system in the world of note sorters.
of the manufacturer is Toshiba (Toshiba Corporation, Minalto-Ku, Tokyo*) which is providing solutions for cash handling businesses to central banks,
commercial banks, cash in transit(CIT), and security printing works.
Their offer for
Bank Note Processing machines for sorting and inspection under FS series is
stated to be suitable for central banks and large commercial banks with a
highly efficient system that uses advanced detectors to make fitness sorting of
banknotes. Toshiba’s FS 2000 model offers multi denominational processing with
a speed of 1,20,000 notes per hour. The model GB-5600 has been developed for
banknote processing at central bank cash centers with a speed of 60,000 notes
per hour. It has 4 stacker and 4 strapping units and model FS-810 with a speed
of 40, 000 notes per hour with 4 stacks has been developed especially for
branches of central banks. The firm is also offering IBS-1000
which is a compact desktop currency sorter. The heavy duty quality inspection system is also supplied by Toshiba under the series BI 1200.
- FS 2000
- GB 5600 and FS -810
- BI 1200
The latest in
this field has been Kores India Limited.
According to Kores India, their product Kores® Fusion Loose Currency Counting
Machine Cum Counterfeit Currency Detector is a compact loose note counter table
top machine that identifies counterfeit notes across the counter through
various detection methods like Infrared Pattern Detection, Water Mark
Recognition, Magnetic Detection, Security Thread Detection, Ultra Violet
detection & overall printing detection through a stored/scanned image of
the genuine note stored in the machine. Kores Fusion is manufactured in
to Kores, the features include :-
- Capability to count 1500
notes per minute. During counterfeit detection, it runs at a speed of 1200
notes per minute.
- It also has an inbuilt
capability of counting the value of the notes to make it easier for the
Teller Guy/Cashier (in banks) to tally the slips while accepting it from
- Besides Indian Rupees (Rs.10,
Rs.20, Rs.50, Rs.100. Rs.500 & Rs.1000 denomination), Kores Fusion can
also be used for currencies of other countries like US Dollar, Great
Britain Pound & Euro.
- At a time the currency of 16 countries
can be programmed in Kores Fusion.
- Any new feature added in the
currencies can be upgraded in the golden image stored for comparison.
- Notes of different
denominations can be counted and checked in one go with Kores Fusion.
While it will give you the total value of all the notes, Kores Fusion will
also tell you how many notes are there of each denomination in the
Systems shortly known as BIS (Belinski str. 163V, 620089 Yekaterinburg,
Russian Federation) established in 2006 by a group of engineers, managers, and
process specialists who had been working successfully in the field of bank
process automation for 15 years in close cooperation with several
international banknote printing factories has reportedly designed a machine
called BARS 6000 for quality inspection of newly printed single notes, to
deliver the standard bundle or package size containing 1000 notes and processes
up to 40,000 notes per hour. The other models of sorting cum inspection
machine offed by them include the following:
- Bars 6000
- Bars 5600
- Bars 5200
- Bars 3000
A firm in Ireland namely Dualtron Ltd offers Magner 175 model table top sorter
for segregating fit/ unfit currencies and the machine is reportedly approved by
ECB (European Central Bank). The firm claims that their machine is ECB Approved for Banknote Recycling Framework and has the following features.
- Two Pocket Banknote Fitness sorter
- Counts and separates ECB Fit notes from Unfit notes
- Very productive note sorter (800 notes per minute
in Fitness Mode)
- Very quiet operation
- Counts notes in all conditions extremely accurately
- Count, ECB Fit, ATM Fit, Serial number detection
- High Quality currency counter Made in Korea
The policy of ECB in respect of recirculation of clean note policy using machines for inspection and sorting of fit/unfit currencies are very clear. They have a
testing mechanism for recognizing the devices suitable for sorting the Euro
notes. Each device is tested by an NCB, in accordance with a common Euro system
procedure, to check its ability to correctly detect
counterfeit euro banknotes and to correctly identify genuine euro banknotes. Read the following ** :-
Quote:- The ECB is the
central bank for Europe's single currency, the euro. The ECB’s main task is to
maintain the euro's purchasing power and thus price stability in the euro area.
The euro area comprises the 19 European Union countries that have introduced
the euro since 1999. On 16 September 2010 the Governing Council of the European
Central Bank (ECB) adopted Decision ECB/2010/14 on the authenticity and fitness
checking and recirculation of euro banknotes. Decision ECB/2010/14
has been amended to extend its scope to the authenticity and fitness checking
and recirculation of new series of euro banknotes. According to this Decision,
euro banknotes may only be recirculated if they have been checked for
authenticity and fitness. Euro banknotes recirculated via customer-operated
machines or cash dispensers must be checked for authenticity and fitness by a
type of banknote handling machine that has been successfully tested by a Euro system national central bank (NCB) -Unquote