Product, Feature or Process Owner/s

Jura and OEBS (Austrian Banknote Printing Company)

Product, Feature or Process Owner Release Date (Date made available to public)

Project Description

Steel Direct Laser Engraving for Intaglio Printing (S-DLE)
• The target of the S-DLE project was to develop a process that can produce directly engraved Intaglio printing plates without any environmentally dangerous chemical process or materials. In the S-DLE plate engraving (presented for award) the chroming itself is not included but the whole process that includes the PVD chroming and S-DLE together can produce intaglio plates without environmentally dangerous chemical materials/solutions.
• The earlier existing (since 2006) DLE process produced copper alloy direct printing plates, but had some limitations. Although, they could be used for direct printing, the durability of the plates (number of prints/plate) did not meet the expectations of the printers.
• Since 2006 when the first DLE machine was in production both companies (Jura together with OEBS) have been working on the development of an environmentally friendly plate engraving. Only in 2018, when the femto laser became available for the industry, the doors opened to get a proper result on the stainless-steel plates.
• The copper alloy intaglio plate engraving is not environmentally poisoning process, if the copper plate is used as a master plate in the galvanic process to produce production nickel plates to have accepted number of prints/plates the galvanic bath is a must in this regards the workflow produces hazardous materials.

Improvement of the Banknote or Printing Process

• The real improvement is in the plate making process itself. For the first time it is possible to produce laser engraved intaglio plates ready for printing while excluding all environmentally harmful processes or materials. At the same time the durability of the plates meets the industry’s expectations.
• There are some other positive aspects that will be approved by the industry: Plate elongation under different conditions (less elongation gives a better registration between offset and intaglio – the quality of the product is better, more difficult to forge), or the real durability/life time of the plates under different conditions. Longer lifetime of the plates – lower production costs. Last but not least diminished consumption of inks with steel plates – lower production costs.
• Steel Direct Laser Engraving for Intaglio Printing is an engraving process providing full 3D control over the engraving process including all kind of line-profiling, multilevel engraving, and precise control of fine-line structures. The calibration and checks are fully automated.
• Jura and OEBS have developed a complete set of software and hardware solutions covering the entire Intaglio plate making process, suitable for all materials – copper alloy, stainless steel or other material.
• Direct metal engraving (whether it is brass or steel) plates developed by OEBS and Jura make it possible to print directly or to use the plates as master plates. The new setup covers all possible scenarios for Intaglio plate making and accomodates different plate sizes (from single original proof size to Super Orloff Intaglio).
• Without any exaggeration we can state that we have a full control over all the parameters of the intaglio plate-making within few micron tolerance.

Innovation and Unique aspects

• The new S-DLE method has gone through several laboratory and printing tests through the years. First printing tests where on Mini Orloff without observing any issues, later for the first printing test on Super Orloff was used with dummy banknote design (20 years OEBS sample note), on 600 000 sheets, with no visible plate wear. The printers gave very positive feed¬back, they were totally satisfied with the inking, wiping, and the usage in general.
• For all the test and later production, the S-DLE plates were coated with PVD chroming. No plate elongation was observed during production, which was one of their biggest concerns initially.
• Tests in a real banknote production (agreed with several central banks) started in May 2022 and come to an end by July 2022. The test was accepted with very positive feedback and steel plated immediately became the standard.
• The first full production with only steel plates took place at the OEBS in 2022 from July to September, one set of plates 2.500.000 Sheets, 830.000 Sheets per plate. This result confirmed S-DLE fulfils the expectations of the printers and the process is ready. Note that all steel tests up to now ended because the planned quantity was printed, not because the plates had to be changed. The highest amount printed/plate was 950.000 prints.
• Another innovation in the process of engraving of the plates is the unique features that the S-DLE is using, in particular the simulation of the traditional hand engraving.
• What does this mean? This is the only technology where the laser engraves the lines along the path. The quality of the lines are very similar to the hand engraving, there are no resolution as we are talking about continuous lines and the quality of the engraving is really high.

Environmental Impact

• S-DLE plate engraving together with the PVD technology is an ecologically beneficial Intaglio plate-making process where all used materials are environmentlly friendly. The solutions used to clean the plates do not contain chemicals requiring special treatment. The filters used in the engraving machine to filter the dust generated during the engraving, can be deposited in the municipal selective waste. The printing plates can be recycled (not in the way nickel plates are reprocessed in a galvanic bath) as steel can be reused by the steel foundry.




File Type: pdf
Categories: Technical Awards 2024
Tags: Best New Banknote Feature Product or Process
Downloads: 2