Security features for staying one step ahead of the counterfeiters

Source: Giesecke & Devrient

There are several key requirements that must be met by a new banknote: esthetics, counterfeit prevention, machine readability, physical durability, and public acceptance. Only banknotes that fulfill these requirements perfectly – and perform well in circulation – are capable of establishing themselves long term.

Intaglio Printing

Intaglio printing lends the banknote its exclusive character. Strong denomination colors, striking portraits and ornamental designs, and not least the relief-style embossing are the unmistakable features of this sophisticated printing technique. Thanks to the use of computer-aided FIT engraving technology, translucent multi-tone structures can be produced in addition to tactile elements. The result is a wide spectrum of additional color shades. Embedded security elements for human detection, as well as functional areas for machine readability, reinforce the valuable contribution that intaglio printing makes to banknotes.

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Covert Security Features

Covert security elements provide another authentication method. These are integrated into inks, threads, and foils and thereby extend the functionality of these elements to further verification levels. Some elements have been specially developed for checking using small handheld devices at bank counters and points of sale. Other elements are suitable for checking by machines in commercial and central banks.

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Watermarks – the banknote security feature the public recognizes best

The exclusiveness of producing cylinder mould watermarks has provided protection against counterfeiting for hundreds of years. The attractive designs that result are the most readily recognized security feature available to the general public for the authentication of banknotes. Central banks of all the world’s major currencies act on Interpol’s recommendation to embed watermarks in banknotes to protect against currency counterfeiting.

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Foil elements

Foil elements are security features that are easy to identify and therefore highly suitable for verifying authenticity. With their eye-catching designs, which are applied to a prominent area of the banknote or security document, they attract the attention of all users. Foil elements enable the creation of flexible designs through the incorporation of gold, copper, or aluminum effects.

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Laser Marking

Security from laser beams. With LOOK (Laser Originated Optical Key), banknote printing companies brings banknotes into the age of the laser. LOOK is a laser marking method that uses ultramodern laser technology to individually adapt established security features and thereby create new ones.

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Security threads

Security threads are an efficient and reliable security element. They are easily recognized by the general public and offer a high level of protection against counterfeiting thanks to the complex techniques used to produce them. Security threads are inserted into the paper at the cylinder mould during the paper production process – either fully covered by the paper or as a window thread that is visible on the surface of the paper at regular intervals.

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Special-effect inks

Printing using optically variable special-effect inks produces intriguing security elements that are quickly and easily identifiable and create irreproducible effects. The special-effect inks change their appearance depending on the angle from which they are viewed: they are visible or invisible, or they change color.

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Windows in Banknotes

Windows with various effects created using films or printing techniques are eye-catching, easily recognizable by the public, and can be checked for authenticity. Because each element is made up of a complex combination of different production steps, window elements represent an effective barrier against counterfeit attempts.To authenticate the window elements, users look at them directly, hold them up to the light, or view them at an angle against different backgrounds. All the devices use the same substrate – cotton banknote paper with a clearly defined opening that is sealed by a transparent laminated film.

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