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Paper substrate manufacturers in Europe20 августа 2014 года

Paper substrate manufacturers in Europe

In terms of ownership, half of Europe's security paper manufacturers are public sector and the remainder are privately owned firms. Europe's paper manufacturers have a production capacity of around 100,000 tonnes of security paper a year, and most of them produce paper for several currencies in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Ten of the manufacturers are accredited by the European Central Bank (ECB) to manufacture paper for the Eurosystem's euro banknotes. The Eurosystem's demand for paper is between 6,000 and 11,000 tonnes a year (see chart).

The substrate used to print new banknote series usually has more value added than traditional cotton based paper. This value added is the result of two types of enhancement:

  • security: the paper incorporates an ever increasing number of banknote security features;
  • quality: the paper is strengthened in order to improve the quality of the banknotes in circulation and make them more durable.

Whereas the cost of the paper substrate used to account for approximately 20%-25% of the cost of each banknote, today, with the quality and security enhancements, it can be as much as 50% of the cost. This increase in value relative to the cost of banknotes is also taken into account in central banks' banknote authentication policies, which include verifying the security features incorporated in both the print and substrate.

I. Substrate types

Substrates for banknote printing can be divided into four types:

  • Standard paper: made of cotton fibres.
  • Durable paper: obtained by improving standard paper's soiling resistance by using a coating and/or by mixing cotton fibres with synthetic fibres to improve its mechanical resistance.
  • Polymer: a plastic substrate.
  • Hybrid substrate: a combination of a paper and polymer substrate. This has a laminar structure that combines layers of different materials.

All Europe's paper manufacturers can produce both standard and durable paper. So far a minority have developed hybrid substrates and only one offers a polymer substrate. All European countries print their banknotes on standard or durable paper substrates, except Romania which uses polymer.

II. Security features

Cotton paper is itself a security feature, as it gives banknotes the characteristic texture and rustling sound the public recognises. It is also a medium into which other security features for the public (level 1), professional cash handlers (level 2) and central banks (level 3) can be incorporated. All manufacturers have the technology to incorporate traditional security features such as watermarks, fluorescent fibres, and embedded or windowed security threads in the paper substrate. Moreover, they have all installed the necessary equipment to incorporate a holographic foil and glossy stripe, rotogravure and silk-screen printing, and most can also incorporate the new windowed security threads with floating images, which are bulkier than traditional threads, in the substrate.

A number of manufacturers are installing equipment to incorporate transparent plastic windows in the paper substrate. One manufacturer incorporates a tactile effect by inserting a fine strip of paper printed with a special ink in the substrate to give a relief effect that is perceptible to the touch.

III. Aspects of production

The paper manufacturing process is fairly standardised across all paper makers. The stages are:

  • 1. Selection of raw materials. Procurement of raw materials seeks to ensure quality goals are met. The main raw material is cotton. Selecting the right suppliers is crucial to achieving the required quality.
  • 2. Pulp preparation. During this phase cotton fibres are prepared, and depending on the customers' specification, various chemical products are added in order to achieve the required technical characteristics.
  • 3. Web formation. The web is produced by depositing the cotton fibres on a cylindrical mould and eliminating the excess water. It is at this stage that security features such as the watermark and security thread are incorporated.
  • 4. Application of special processes. Coating and application of holographic foil and glossy stripe.
  • 5. Cutting and packaging. Rolls of paper are cut into sheets, which are then counted and packaged.

The speed of the paper machine is in the 50 -120 metres/minute range, but is highly dependent on the type of substrate being produced. In general, the higher the speed, the lower the quality of the watermark and the poorer paper sheet formation. Paper machine cylinder widths are within the 1,250 and 2,500 mm range but vary widely. The machine divides the web into between 1 and 3 rolls of paper. Each of these rolls has a width of between 810-850 mm, depending on the banknote type.

IV. Quality, health and safety, and environmental issues

Europe's paper mills comply with international standards on quality systems, environment and health and safety, and almost all of them have ISO 9001 quality certification, ISO 14001 environmental certification, and OHSAS 18001 health and safety certification. European paper manufacturers also need to have specific security accreditation from the ECB in order to manufacture paper for euro banknotes.

General characteristics   Banque de France Louisenthal Crane Fedrigoni Goznak Landqart De la Rue FNMT DIPA PWPW
Substrate type Standard paper Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Durable paper Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hybrid substrate Yes Yes Yes Yes
Polymer Yes
Currency Euro Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Other (number) Yes Over 30 25 15 Over 30 Over 80 Over 5 Others Others
Security features Watermarks Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fluorescent fibres Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Security thread (embedded/windowed) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Holographic stripe Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Threads with floating images Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Planchettes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Glossy stripes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Other See-through window See-through window Motion® See-through window Varied Formed Image Thread® Irisafe® Durasafe® Optiks™ Starchrome™ TACTOCEL® tactile effect stripe Leap®
Certification Quality Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Environment Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Health and safety Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ECB - security Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Production Capacity (Tonnes) 3,000 20,000 9,000 12,000 10,000 16,000 2,300 1,000
Average speed (m/min) 80 Task dependent Over 120 Over 80
Roll width (mm) 1,250 2,500 1,650
No. rolls 1 3 3 Depends on roll width 2
Width of each roll (mm) 850 810 Depends on banknote width Max. 825
Source: Billetararia, april 2014. Fernando Leon and Juan Pablo Garnacho Banco de Espana
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