Stocks, shares, bonds and other financial instruments and documents are increasingly being dematerialized by financial institutions. Just as the Reserve Bank of India did in November 2016, central banks are regularly removing old currency to be replaced by newer denomination bank notes—often with new materials and security features.
Demonetization is not unique to India; in several countries where tax avoidance is endemic, high value bank notes are demonetized and taken out of circulation to be replaced by newer and more secure currencies. However, the challenge for central banks is not only to regulate and produce more secure currencies but also to destroy or securely dispose the old notes using sustainable technologies.
Security printers too face similar challenges so that only the correct quality and number of documents or financial instruments are delivered while all waste is securely and accountably disposed. As the volume and complexity of secure documents increases, central and national banks and security printers are using automated sorting, shredding and waste disposal systems from European companies such as G+D Currency Technology of Germany, Kusters Engineering in The Netherlands and Hunkeler Systeme in Switzerland.
Bank note printing and production is challenging—waste often includes misprints, defective holograms, edge strips and other artifacts and imperfections. For the fastidious production of perfect notes, the accumulated waste needs to be professionally disposed. The requirements for a fully automatic disposal system are many-sided: first of all, every safety aspect must be fulfilled without interference in the production process.
“An industrial security document disposal system must reliably guarantee product quality, production safety and the integration of the different collection points and materials into one central disposal system, as well as continuous transparency during the entire process,” explains Erich Hodel of Hunkeler Systeme. “Every step has to be monitored and managed—it is the overarching management of a systems solution, which is the backbone of every production process.”
Hodel says that several central banks around the world are confident customers of Hunkeler Systeme’s automated disposal solutions systems due to their extreme reliability. A versatile engineering company with specialized secure documents software capability and great experience in automated paper handling operations, Hunkeler has a wide range of solutions for varying demands of complexity and volumes. The company provides systems for various bank note types, which use a highly complex mix of materials as different as cotton and plastics for producing bank notes in many countries.
Ultimately, secure disposal systems require customization for specific needs and custom designed solutions are based on engineering and visualization of the processes with complete software programming and development. “A 100% or totally secure process is the base of every bank note sorting system or waste disposal solution, or both. The solutions can consist of inline or offline components, or a combination of both. Centralized units can have larger waste systems and automation can include robotics. For decentralized systems, secure solutions such as bank note punching devices for local destruction of bank notes can be provided,” adds an industry expert who is familiar with bank note production.
Customization and visualization is the key to security
Thus far, the key to the success of secure waste disposal and logistics solutions for secure documents and bank notes for Hunkeler’s customers has been the guaranteed security with workflow software and visualization of its custom engineered solutions. A profound understanding and visualization of the process is the only way to make possible a secure and reliable waste management and disposal logistics system.
However, the system must also be sustainable—waste must be minimized in the production process, and the collection, sorting and disposal of the waste must be reliable and done with integrity while keeping in mind the recycling options. An automated software-driven systems approach can do this best without compromising the integrity and security of financial documents and bank notes.