Bank of Jamaica Focuses on Durability for New



Bank of Jamaica Focuses on Durability for New
Case Study
August 2012
| Vol 10 | No 8
Currency News | Page 6
Bank of Jamaica Focuses on
Durability for New Banknotes
Hybrid selected for $100, Jamaica’s highest circulation banknote
On July 23, the Bank of Jamaica issued a new series of notes, four out of five of which are on new durable substrates including, for the ‘workhorse’
$100 bill, the paper-polymer composite Hybrid™. A couple of weeks earlier, at the 1st Latin America High Security Printing Conference in Rio
de Janeiro, Norbert Bryan, Director of the Currency Department at the Bank, shared with the delegates the strategy behind the change in substrates and what the Bank aims to achieve.
Currently there are five denominations
of the Jamaican dollar in circulation –
the $5,000, $1,000, $500, $100 and $50
The most numerous of these are the
$1,000 (36 million) and the $100 (27
One of the Bank’s core statutory
roles is the issue and redemption of
currency and it is required to perform
this role cost-efficiently. But one of the
problems in doing so is the durability
of the banknotes, or rather lack of it.
All to date have been printed on cotton
paper but, according to Bryan, the
tropical climate and high velocity of
circulation in cash, in a country with a
high dependency on cash for transactions, exposes the notes to a variety of
conditions which reduce their useful
life. The average circulating life of the
three lowest denominations is 4-6
months (the $100 has the lowest life at
just 4 months). The $1,000 lasts more
than twice as long, at 9.3 months. An
average 93.5 million notes are in circulation, 57% of which needs to be
replaced each year. The $100 represents 30% of these new notes.
The main problem with the life of
the notes, as determined by checking
the cause of rejection through the
bank’s two BPS 3000 high speed banknote sorters, is soiling. This accounts
for 81% of all rejects, as demonstrated
in the Fig 1.
The Bank set about assessing the
relative pros and cons of the different
substrates, using in part the example of
Swaziland as a reference (the African
country has a similar climate and circulating conditions, and conducted its
own analysis three years ago, which
Fig 1: Factors affecting longevity of Jamaica’s banknotes
print varnish, varnished
notes with synthetic fibres,
polymer and two composites
– paper/polymer/paper and
polymer/paper/polymer (ie
Hybrid). The results of this
analysis are shown in Fig 2.
From all the tests and
reported information available, a projected Average
Circulating Life (ACL) for
each substrate for the $100
was calculated. The cost
effectiveness of each option
was then determined by
Fig 2: Results of the evaluation of different substrates
resulted in the issue of its new series
on Louisenthal’s Hybrid™ – see CN Vol
8, No 11).
In searching for alternatives, the
key criteria were durable substrates
that stay clean for longer, retain their
mechanical strength and brightness,
while maintaining security and without
increasing costs. The options considered were varnished paper and/or post-
dividing the expected ACL by the cost.
The results for the four different
options – cotton, polymer, Hybrid and
post-print varnish – showed both
Hybrid and polymer coming out clearly
as the best options in this respect.
Taking the evaluation into account,
as well as the known annual circulation
life and volume for each denomination,
Continued on page 7
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Case Study
August 2012
| Vol 10 | No 8
Bank of Jamaica...cont
the Bank decided to retain cotton for
the $5,000 (introduced in 2010, it has
a life of 36 months and, in any case, the
main security feature, Optiks®, is only
compatible with cotton paper).
Varnished paper coupled with a
post-print varnish was chosen for the
$1,000, $500 and $50 notes which, says
the Bank, should increase their circulation life by up to 50%. This option has
the advantage of increased durability
and the retention of the existing security features, although the possible disadvantage that the varnish could crack.
The soil resistance of these notes will
be carefully assessed.
As for the $100, the option for polymer was discounted because it would
involve a redesign, the loss of the traditional security elements and the resulting need for a public education campaign, combined with changes in
processability and online destruction.
Ink abrasion was also a concern.
This left composite notes. The
paper/polymer/paper option was not
considered suitable since there is, as
yet, no reference note, an element of
redesign would be required, since the
first note is yet to be launched the substrate’s resistance to soiling is not
known, and there is a monopoly of supply.
The chosen option was, therefore,
Hybrid, on the basis that it has excellent anti-soiling properties and
mechanical strength, and retains its
brightness much better than other substrates (it scored 2.2 in the loss of
brightness – Delta L – tests, compared
with coated cotton at 12. 4 and standard cotton at 22.4). At the same time,
however, it has the same look and feel
as cotton substrates - in particular the
quality of the intaglio. It also allows the
retention of the all the traditional
security features, so no additional public education would be required.
While the upfront cost of switching
Currency News
| Page 7
Commemorative Series Celebrate Jamaica’s 50
Years of Independence
In addition to the new substrate
notes, the Bank of Jamaica also
issued commemorative versions of
all five denominations on July 23 to
mark the 50th anniversary of independence (the island was ‘discovered’ by Christopher Columbus in
1494, occupied by the Spanish in
1509 and seized by the British in
1655, from whom it gained its independence on August 6 1962).
The front of the commemorative
banknotes remain unchanged except
that the logo for the 50th anniversary is superimposed on each watermark. On the reverse, however, the
to Hybrid is more than other paper
substrates (but less than polymer), this
potential drawback is more than overcome by the projected improvement in
the circulation life from 4 to 11.7
months, and the ACL/cost benefit
ratio, in which it scores the highest
(see Fig 3).
The Bank is establishing a system
with both De La Rue (its traditional
unique design for each denomination has been replaced by a common
vignette - a photograph of a group of
children depicting the National
Motto, ‘Out of many, one people’.
The security features on all the
commemorative notes, designed and
produced by De La Rue (the Bank of
Jamaica’s supplier for the last 50
years), are the same as the new standard notes and they will co-circulate.
printer) and Giesecke & Devrient
(printer of the $100) to assess the
results of both options, and compare
their actual performance with that of
standard cotton.
The outcome, and in particular the
accuracy of the Bank’s projections for
increased note life, will be of great
Fig 3: Comparison of ACL on various substrates different substrates for the $100 (the higher ACL/cost ratio is indicative of
a higher benefit to the Bank)
Fig 4: Projected increase in the circulation life of the four main denominations of Jamaica’s banknotes
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