Product, Feature or Process Owner/s: De La Rue

Project Description

ASSURE™ is a specialist covert (i.e. level 3) taggant that is fully embedded in the core of polymer banknote substrate. It can only be detected by central banks/issuing authorities.

Covert authentication solutions have long been available in paper banknotes, providing the last line of defence for issuing authorities facing significant counterfeit attacks.Until recently there has been no robust solution for polymer banknotes.

The lack of robust covert authentication solutions for polymer banknotes was starting to become a gap versus customer needs. Many central banks began their journey to polymer via lower value denominations (due to the durability benefits of polymer) and are now working up their series, converting increasingly high value denominations year on year.

Higher value denominations are more likely to be subject of a counterfeiting attack and some of these notes that are converting would benefit from level 3 protection. Central banks with level 3 protection on their paper banknotes are often keen to retain that protection in their polymer banknotes as they upgrade.

Before ASSURE™, polymer banknote covert security features were limited to being ‘on’ the substrate (e.g. printed features). By incorporating ASSURE™ into the core of De La Rue’s SAFEGUARD® substrate, the durability of polymer and the embedded nature of ASSURE™ combine to create the most robust type of covert authentication solution available.

Unlike alternative level 3 solutions, ASSURE™ is in the core of a polymer substrate that is proven in circulation. It will form part of the banknote until the very end of its lifetime.

Improvement of the Banknote or Printing Process

ASSURE represents the ultimate in robust, durable and secure covert authentication for polymer banknotes.

ASSURE is introduced into the polymer substrate during the extrusion of the biaxially-orientated polypropylene (BOPP) into clear polymer film that forms the base for polymer banknote substrate. This means it is locked into what will become the very core of a polymer banknote and will remain there, detectable only by central banks and issuing authorities, until the end of the banknotes useful life. Previous level 3 solutions for polymer were restricted to inks and so subject to potential ink wear over time.

The ASSURE feature utilizes the most sophisticated taggant technology. It is impossible to detect without ASSURE sensors, meaning that only the central bank or issuing authority can detect this feature. The covert nature means that it doesn’t visualize visibly or even under any level 2 machine read sensors and will not interfere in the wider cash cycle.

When banknotes are specified with ASSURE then ASSURE is already present in the BOPP by the time De La Rue receives the base polymer substrate. It is already locked into the core of the polymer substrate and so has no impact on the efficiencies, effectiveness or safety of the subsequent polymer substrate or banknote manufacturing processes.

Innovation and Unique aspects

ASSURE is the only level 3 taggant to be extruded into the BOPP of a polymer film that is proven in circulation. It is 100% integrated into the core of the polymer substrate.

The taggant underpinning the ASSURE solution are optimised for compatability with BOPP polymer film production – withstanding high mechanical share and temperatures of over 150°C . The process of integration ensures that ASSURE is equally distributed throughout the BOPP (unlike paper level 3 taggants which, by nature of the paper substrate manufacture process, are more randomly distributed).

By integrating the taggant into the polymer feedstock, the taggant is locked deep into the polymer, proving the highest possible level of protection and part of the polymer banknote until the very end of its useful life.

The ASSURE taggant is homogeneously dispersed throughout the entire core of the polymer substrate, every square millimetre has a readable taggant signature. This means that it doesn’t matter if a banknote feature reduces the ASSURE signal as the rest of note is still readable.
The impact of all other banknote features have been measured on the readability of ASSURE and, no matter the combination of features, the ASSURE feature remained highly readable and highly secure.

Banknotes containing ASSURE have passed all standard banknote tests. Unlike paper, polymer is non-porous, so even the harshest solvents can’t attack and degrade ASSURE taggants.

Environmental Impact

The environmental impact is negligible throughout production and the taggant does not impact the recyclability of used notes.

In the event of a state sponsored (or other major) counterfeiting attacking ASSURE may offer some environmental benefits by providing an efficent and fail-safe route to remove counterfeits from simulation, thus reducing unnecessary logisitcs associated with counterfeits circulating in the cash cycle.

Categories: Technical Awards 2024
Tags: Best New Banknote Feature Product or Process