Designing and manufacturing banknote paper and banknotes
With more than a century of experience in the production of paper money, the Banque de France is a world-renowned expert in banknotes and currency issuance, making it a unique partner.
For over 100 years, the Banque de France has carried out its banknote printing activities at Chamalières, a printing works equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including an automated production line, continuous banknote checking and one of the most up-to-date finishing workshops in the world. It produces more than 2.5 billion banknotes a year, in euro and in the currencies of some 20 countries around the world.
The Banque de France's banknote paper is produced by its subsidiary EuropaFi. EuropaFi is responsible for producing a large share of the paper needed to print euro banknotes, which it supplies to various national central banks equipped with their own printing works, or to private printers. It also produces paper for non-euro banknotes as well as security paper.
The Banque de France manufactures over a billion banknotes a year for countries facing challenging circulation conditions : heat, humidity, high speed of circulation, etc. Drawing on this experience, it has developed EverFit® technology, which increases banknote durability by a factor of four while also being compatible with standard paper mills and printing facilities.
The Banque de France is constantly innovating in the field of banknote production, to ensure an ever-higher level of security and to increase banknote durability. It has the largest centre in Europe dedicated to research into banknote counterfeiting.
The Banque de France provides its central bank clients with its expertise in banknotes by training their staff in banknote authentication and in the analysis of counterfeits in circulation. It also provides assistance in areas relating to currency issuance by training staff in areas such as sorting policy, the monitoring of banknote quality and the calculation of new banknote needs.
With its subsidiary EuropaFi, the foremost public paper mill in Europe, the Banque de France has an integrated production plant that combines both a banknote paper mill and a printing works. The model, which is unique among EU central banks, means that the entire production chain is concentrated in one location and allows the Bank to keep pace with the latest advances in banknote technology.
The Banque de France is thus the leading banknote producer in the Eurosystem and the partner of choice for major foreign central banks. It has internationally recognised expertise in the design and manufacture of banknotes.
The Banque de France’s research and development (R&D) centre covers all fields of research relating to banknote manufacture, including substrates, banknote printing techniques, security features and solutions for increasing banknote durability. In collaboration with major international research centres and the European Central Bank, the R&D centre makes use of the latest advances in optics, chemistry, physics and electromagnetism.
This research work has led to the launch of patented innovations such as SEALGN@TURE®, TRILUMIC® and TWIN UV®, which are designed to increase banknote security and combat counterfeiting, as well as EverFit®, which is aimed at considerably extending the lifespan of banknotes in circulation.
The Banque de France is a key player in the international banknote market. In addition to its leading role in producing paper and banknotes for the Eurosystem, it prints currencies that circulate in more than 20 countries around the world, and provides foreign central bank clients with advisory and assistance services in banknote expertise and currency issuance.
Approved on 12 July 2022 by the Banque de France's General Council, the Refondation project aims to build a new banknote printing plant in Vic-le-Comte in the Puy-de-Dôme department. This facility will house the production areas and tertiary spaces of the new printing works, as well as a banknote logistics centre for cash-in-transit activities.
With a surface area of approximately 40,000 m², the building will be contemporary in design and fit perfectly into its setting right next to the EuropaFi paper mill, which is a Banque de France subsidiary. To improve economic efficiency and staff working conditions, the plant will have state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities thanks to the acquisition of printing and finishing equipment and the installation of an automated vault, which together will form a seamless production line.
The facilities have been designed to meet high safety and environmental protection standards. Sustainability criteria have been taken into account right from the design stage to ensure efficient use of natural and energy resources and reduce the site’s carbon footprint (target of 50% reduction compared with the current Chamalières site). The preservation of the biodiversity found on the site is also an important objective of the project.
Building work will start in 2023. In 2026, the installation of a first production line, consisting mainly of new machines, will mark the start of the transfer of manufacturing activity to the new site. The second production line will then be installed, followed by the transfer of the remaining staff from the printing works and the banknote logistics centre. The total budget for the project is over €200 million (fees, machinery, building work and transfer).