A global push for Japanese group's fake banknote detection device
Accurate reading of serial numbers helps speedy detection of forgeries
MIHO TANKAI, Nikkei staff writer
OSAKA -- A Japanese manufacturer of banknote-handling machines has developed an advanced forgery-detection device covering the currencies of 20 countries. The machine matches the serial numbers printed on the note as opposed to reading images and patterns like its conventional predecessors.
Glory, based in the city of Himeji, western Japan, aims to sell the machine to financial institutions overseas. The device is equipped with a bar-shaped sensor consisting of small cameras, like those used in scanners, which identify characters and numbers printed on the note. It can process 1,000 notes a minute.
Conventional detection machines, designed to recognize images and patterns, cannot identify forgeries composed of fragments of real banknotes. In Southeast Asia, for example, parts of shredded notes that have been retired from circulation are often big enough to make it worthwhile for criminals to buy them on the black market and create fakes.
The new identification machine swiftly reads the serial numbers printed in different places on the same note; if they do not match, it can be a fake.
Another obstacle for conventional machines is the fact that the font size and location of serial numbers varies from country to country. Some Singaporean notes, for example, display them vertically. Glory's enhanced recognition technology enables serial numbers to be identified in a variety of formats -- and even in scanned images that also contain complex patterns and marks such as scratches.
The business has begun promoting the new machine to local banks overseas. It will help tellers detect fakes as soon as they are brought to the counter. The use of serial numbers also allows real-time identification of who brings in which notes, including forgeries.
The device has the added advantage of reducing the workload involved in recording serial numbers, which is required for banks in Russia, China and eurozone countries, among others. These markets will be targeted by Glory.
Domestic rivals, such as Fujitsu and Oki Electric Industry, are using similar identification technology. To set itself apart, Glory has focused on increasing the range of banknotes its device can handle.
The company posted 105 billion yen ($926 million) of overseas sales for the year to March 2016. By tailoring the forgery detection device to the global market, Glory aims to increase sales to 130 billion yen in the year through March 2018.
Masanori Goto, a Glory group manager, is confident that the product is an industry leader in terms of international appeal. "We plan to add one country every month to the availability," he said.