This month marked ten years since the first banknote was issued on De La Rue's SAFEGUARD® polymer substrate, along with the official opening of De La Rue's new polymer banknote production line in Westhoughton, near Manchester.
De La Rue first started evaluating synthetic banknote substrates in the 1970s and manufactured the first test design on polymer substrate in 1992. The polymer substrate and design was optimized over the next two decades, involving nine house note designs. R&D efforts intensified in the period between 2008 and 2012 as SAFEGUARD® approached its launch. De La Rue was honoured to work with the Reserve Bank of Fiji to ensure a successful introduction of the first SAFEGUARD® banknote when the Fiji $5 entered circulation in 2013. Today, 10 years later, that Fiji $5 denomination is still successfully circulating.
The introduction of SAFEGUARD® in 2013 was a significant event for the industry. Central banks were interested in a durable polymer substrate, but were also concerned about a single source of polymer substrate supply. SAFEGUARD® mitigated previous supply chain risks and accelerated the rate of conversion to polymer banknotes. It also introduced competition that led to innovation and advancements in polymer substrate and security features. Today approximately 5% of all banknotes issued are issued on polymer substrate and that number continues to rise and we approach the 100th live banknote on SAFEGUARD®.
The success of SAFEGUARD® led to an investment in a second line at De La Rue's Westhoughton site. This second line provides business continuity risk mitigation for SAFEGUARD® as well as for polymer in general. The expanded capacity ensures that the future demand for polymer banknotes will be met and is particularly important as more state printing works convert to polymer.
To celebrate the official opening of the second polymer line De La Rue was joined by representatives of currency issuing authorities from Europe, Africa, the Americas, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Central Asia, who gathered for a Future of Banknotes seminar and speeches earlier this month.
The highlight of the event was the official opening of the new production line by Sarah John, Executive Director and Chief Cashier at the Bank of England. Sarah John talked about the long-standing history between De La Rue and the Bank of England, as well as the successful transition of Sterling to polymer banknotes.
For more information visit https://www.delarue.com/currency/tenyearsofsafeguard to watch a short video on 10 years of SAFEGUARD® or email email@example.com for more information.