Why print money on polymer
In June the Bank of England introduced its first banknote printed on a polymer substrate. The five pound note is called The New Fiver and features a portrait of Winston Churchill.
All the other UK banknotes are still printed on cotton. These are the advantages offered by polypropylene banknotes:
- Plastic banknotes are more durable since they are more difficult to tear and more resistant to folding.
- The notes repel dirt and moisture so they don’t soil as easily. The polymer is also more resistant to micro-organisms.
- Because the bi-axially orientated polypropylene (BOPP) is more rigid, the banknotes work better in ATMs and automated sorting operations.
- Plastic currency is up to twice as expensive to produce but the bank notes last two-and-a-half to four times longer than notes printed on cotton paper. The notes can be recycled so there is also an ecological advantage.
- The new banknotes are more difficult to counterfeit. In Canada, a pioneer in the use of synthetic currency, the number of reported counterfeits dropped by 74%.
The new notes are printed by De La Rue, as can be seen in this ‘Making of’ video.
How ink is made
It’s a bit of surprise when you see offset printing ink for the first time. You expect it to be a colored water-like substance but instead it is more like a paste. This YouTube movie shows how it’s manufactured.
Vellum is a parchment that is made from calf skin. It was used for manuscripts in medieval times. Even a quarter of the first Bible for which Johannes Gutenberg used movable type was printed on vellum. Much to my surprise the British House of Lords still record their Acts of Parliament on vellum. They briefly considered a switch to paper in early 2016 but had to reverse that decision due to public outcry. You have to admire the Brits for sticking to age old customs.
Recently I read two white papers that I really liked, which is rare since so many of these documents nowadays get written by content marketing companies who don’t really have any expertise in the subject they are covering.
- ‘Do PDF/VT right‘ is written by Martin Bailey of Global Graphics. This guide is useful for anyone working on or interested in variable data processing.
- ‘Differences between the GWG 1v4 and 2015 specifications‘ sounds boring but this is a very readable overview of how preflight requirements have changed in the past few years. It was written by David van Driessche as part of the documentation for the new Ghent Workgroup preflight specifications.
Prepress Pete is tweeting
Acrobat DC? On one of my systems the DC stands for ‘Daily Crashes’!
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New terms in the dictionary
DTG – Abbreviation for Direct To Garment, the process of printing directly on T-shirts and other clothing. This is typically done using inkjet technology.
Scratch off printing – The process of applying a foil to specific areas of a document. The foil can be removed with the edge of a coin or a fingernail to reveal the information printed beneath it. The process is often used on giveaway and contest printed materials, such as lottery tickets.
Short grain web press – A web press that uses printing plates whose long dimension is along the cylinders.
Ghost bar – A ghost bar of take-off bar is a rectangular solid line or pattern that is added to a press sheet and trimmed away after printing. It helps equalize ink laydown on the sheet by extending and evening out the printed area, thus avoiding ink starvation in any one place.
New or reworked pages on printing currency, print trivia, 2015 prepress & printing news, the preflight poll, common PDF issues, 2015 prepress news, offset lithography, 2014 prepress news, Xiaomi Mi2s, RAID, drupa, and various dictionary terms.
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