Typically 95% of all banknotes manufactured are printed simply to replace the worn-out and damaged notes that have been removed from circulation.*
In order to keep reprinting costs to a minimum, a key driver for banknote substrates is to make the paper as robust as possible, so as to withstand the physical, environmental and chemical abuse that notes may suffer when in use.
Classical banknote paper is made of 100% cotton; cotton paper is superior in both strength and durability to wood pulp-based paper. Durability can be further enhanced by varnish coatings, the addition of artificial fibres and polymer lamination. Fully polymer based banknotes such as the biaxial oriented polypropylene Guardian TM substrate, although initially more expensive to produce, can have greater longevity.
Smithers Pira offer a vast range of tests to assess the physical, surface and durability performance of banknotes, including stiffness, resistance to tear propagation, crumpling resistance, fold endurance and simulated environmental ageing.
Our durability testing is complemented by a critical assessment of security features before and after durability testing, including the high resolution analysis using a document examination system.
*Source: The Future of Banknote Technology to 2024, Smithers Pira.