Security Throughout the Entire Lifecycle

Leonhard Kurz Stiftung & Co.KG
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Security Throughout the Entire Lifecycle

Although digital or card payments are becoming ever more frequent, banknotes will continue to be an essential means of payment in daily use in the future. Banknotes pass from one owner to another – over many years and possibly across national borders. To fulfill their purpose throughout their lifecycle, all individual components must remain robust and resilient. This means resistance to heat, moisture and dryness, for example. Find out here how LEONHARD KURZ, as a leading global provider of security elements for banknotes, contributes to their stability during circulation.

For security foils to guarantee lasting counterfeit protection, it is not only the quality of the optical effects that is key. It is not enough to produce a visually outstanding security element with unique diffractive effects. It is also crucial that the application of the security element can be integrated easily into the banknote production process. Error-free application is therefore of enormous importance to ensure optimum protection against banknote counterfeiting.

Decades of experience and outstanding expertise

LEONHARD KURZ is one of the most experienced providers of security elements for banknotes. The world’s first security foil developed by KURZ was applied to a banknote back in 1988. To this day, KURZ has continuously developed its security features further and expanded the spectrum beyond surface-applied strips and patches to include security threads.

For central banks, foils are the most versatile, flexible and sophisticated security element that can be incorporated in a banknote for counterfeit protection. Combined with KINEGRAM® technology, unique features are created that are recognized worldwide for their high protective function and prominent appearance.

Production process for security foils at KURZ.

Challenging application process: KURZ tests as industry standard

Reliability and expertise are essential: Applying security foil features to banknotes is a demanding process that requires extensive experience and outstanding expertise from everyone involved. The printing company, substrate supplier and film supplier must coordinate their processes optimally to ensure that the production of a secure banknote is successful. A supplier must guarantee the highest quality standards to be used for new banknote projects by central banks.


KURZ works continuously to ensure a problem-free and fast application process for the security foils. That means: KURZ is constantly working on the development and adaptation of chemical foil formulations and adhesives, selecting a specially adapted formulation for each customer and every banknote project. Long before a banknote is produced, KURZ runs internal test series that trial the product suitability on industry-standard application machines. This ensures smooth and fast application of the foils during the production process. KURZ tests have now become the industry standard for many central banks.

High demands on banknotes

KURZ has a wealth of expertise in the field of banknote security and offers extensive support for manufacturers with regard to the application process of the security foils, as well as the application machines themselves. If unexpected difficulties should arise during the process, KURZ will assist central banks, printing companies, and substrate suppliers with comprehensive expertise on all technical questions.


Security foils can be applied to a variety of substrates, from cotton-based paper typical for banknotes to polymer-based substrates. The relevant chemical composition and the adhesive of the security elements should be precisely coordinated with the substrate and the subsequent printing processes. But that’s not all: Banknotes come into contact with dirt, heat, dryness and moisture throughout the entire lifecycle. They must be resistant to mechanical wear, and the colors must not fade over time. KURZ has developed special tests to check the robustness of the security features and ensure that they last at least as long as the banknote itself. These include an abrasion test with special rubbing cylinders, a washing machine test or even a Tesa test, which checks the adhesion and stability of the film.

The resistance of the security foils can be checked with the Tesa test.

If you hold a banknote in your hand, you will quickly notice the security features – like the security foils from KURZ with their fascinating visual effects – in addition to colors and motifs.

The highest security standard and functionality of the design as well as the visual effects are top priority at KURZ. Together with designers and customers, KURZ develops the right security foils for many countries around the world.

One recent example is the polymer-substrate-based Egyptian 10-pound banknote with its striking design. The material scientists at KURZ have developed a transparent film for this purpose, which is applied to the heat-sensitive polymer material at high speed and low temperature.

Egyptian 10-pound note with transparent security foil from KURZ.

In the future, KURZ will continue to research technologies and manufacturing processes in order to equip banknotes with the latest security features and further optimize the application process.

Find out about the latest developments in bank note manufacturing in the Banknote Technology Report. Would you like to know more about our activities in the banknote sector?

You can also read our OROFIN articles "Secure banknotes thanks to KURZ" and "KURZ opens a window onto the banknote sector".

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