Even Greater Efficiency is Possible
With innovative automation and Big Data solutions, G+D is helping to increase the cost-efficiency of many cash cycle processes.
Digitalization is changing society’s payment behavior. People are increasingly paying online and by mobile. But does that mean that cash is becoming less important? Almost certainly not! After all, cash works completely independently of a card, smartphone, or computer. And, in contrast to digital currencies such as Bitcoin, it is a legal means of payment. To many people, coins and banknotes are an embossed and printed representation of freedom. They are carried, they change hands, and they are given as gifts. What’s more, there’s no digital agent looking over your shoulder and documenting your payment behavior. As a result, it’s no surprise that the global volume of cash increases by approximately 5% each year.
At the same time, digitalization has also changed how cash is handled. Intelligent automation is making processes throughout the cash cycle increasingly efficient. Manual intervention is constantly further reduced, increasing not only productivity but also security.
Optimization of the cash cycle
Many branches already successfully rely on intelligent automation, from the networked factory with an array of smart industrial robots through to automatic data evaluation and production control. G+D is active in these fields and successfully puts this expertise to use in the optimization of the cash cycle and related technologies. The modern banknote flies through verification machines at 11 meters per second, and is automatically packed, further transported, and tracked in smart boxes using RFID chips. Big data and cash are absolutely compatible.
Cash Verification at very high speeds
Ever since banknotes came into existence, they have needed to be counted and verified. Logically, this is where the first automation technologies come in. G+D, with more than 160 years of company history, is one of the pioneers in this sector. “We were one of the first companies to automate banknote inspection,” explains Dr. Christian Legl, Group Vice President High-Speed Systems at G+D. “The first machines processed around six banknotes per second; that figure is now 44 banknotes per second with our BPS X9.”
One person can count a maximum of 4,000 banknotes per hour.
The BPS X9 manages 150,000 banknotes in that same time – while also verifying flawless print quality and the fitness for circulation of each individual banknote. This is real technical progress.
“The level of intelligent automation that we have now achieved has reached levels where a human operator would quickly reach his physical limits,” continues Dr. Legl. In an eight-hour shift, a person could ultimately feed a BPS M machine a volume of banknotes weighing the same as an Audi A1 sedan.
The vision of a fully automated cash cycle
Automation in the cash cycle
In 2015, G+D introduced a system for cash in circulation that makes several manual work steps superfluous: the NotaTracc. Banknotes no longer need to be stacked, aligned, and fed into the machine by hand – which significantly increases efficiency. There is also an additional automation stand on the output side. This means that, with the NotaPack module, shrink-wrapped banknote bundles are issued once the BPS has verified and counted the banknotes.
“The BPS machines with their additional modules remain the focus of our work on intelligent automation,” summarizes Dr. Legl. “However, we try not only to consider the individual cash center, but the entire cash cycle. The future lies in taking an overall view and standardizing the entire cash cycle.”
How a box can accelerate the cash cycle
In Vienna, the vision of a fully automated cash center has progressed extremely far. At the end of 2016, Geldservice Austria (GSA) had several BPS systems from G+D in use, processing 3 million banknotes per day, as well as authenticating them and verifying their fitness for circulation. The NotaTracc automatic filling system and NotaPack packing solution are also in use.
The NotaTracc system includes individual trays, i.e. small plastic containers in which the banknotes are fed into the BPS machine via the filling module. It is precisely in these small green boxes that G+D sees another important and possible intelligent automation step. “Every institution can become more efficient, but when we want to achieve the greatest possible effect, we have to optimize the cash cycle across all the institutions involved,” explains Christian Huber, Director Business Development High-Speed Systems at G+D. “The solution would then lie in introducing a transport medium that all protagonists in the cash cycle use. That’s precisely what we’re striving for with our trays.” In fact, GSA Vienna is also endeavoring to have trays from G+D not only within its own cash center, but also at all connected institutions in Austria, between which cash is transported back and forth.
“There are still many receipt and delivery paths for cash,” comments Huber. “It typically arrives in the cash center in bundles containing 1,000 banknotes, or loose and unsorted in safe bags. Each repacking process is associated with a security risk and additional effort.” A little more persuasion is still needed, but the advantages are clear. The NotaTracc tray could make a huge quantity of plastic foil unnecessary, and accelerate the entire cash cycle. For external transport, the box can be closed and sealed, as well as provided with an RFID chip for tracking. “Our objective here is to set a worldwide standard and introduce the first automated container medium,” says Huber, explaining the plan that is gathering more and more momentum. After all: “Over 12,000 of our trays have just been delivered to Kuwait.”
The trail of money
Understand the money trail with big data
Within the cash cycle, it is necessary to optimize not only the flow of materials, but also the flow of data. The evaluation of data in order to optimize processes is already standard practice in other industries, and could also benefit cash centers, central banks, and also banknote printers. To this end, G+D uses Track & Trace software which tracks banknote serial numbers, and, for example, can register the banknote’s condition. If this process is performed every time there is a new “encounter” with this banknote, conclusions can be reached over a longer period of time as to how the durability and anti-counterfeiting security of banknotes can be optimized.
Evaluations of this type are also well suited to improving capacity planning. “This makes it possible to understand the quantity and location of banknotes,” explains Christian Mitterhuber, Director Product Segment Management High-Speed Systems at G+D. “As a result, a central bank can determine in advance how much money will be delivered and need to be processed the following day. This enables the bank to shift plans and optimize machine utilization. This is an enormous advantage for our customers.”