Banknote Industry News has recently met Mr. Ulrich Walter – the CEO of the esteemed high security ink manufacturer Gleitsmann Security Inks (GSI) – at its headquarter in Berlin.
Ink is sometimes perceived as a minor ingredient in the context of complete finished banknotes, but actually it’s more than that – it communicates the banknote’s design and hence makes it the main ingredient of value creation. Obviously it has to be prepared correctly, to meet the final requirements for the printing stage.
Under Mr. Walter’s leadership, the company has transformed from a pure “me-too”-supplier to a customized solution provider, developing its own security features and moving the company towards a sustainable future.
GSI, the certificated € ink producer, belongs to the “hubergroup”.
GSI generates a mid-range two digit million Euro sales level and accounts for one of the highest EBIT margins within the ‚hubergroup‘. In 2020 sales figures increased by 70% compared to the financial year 2019, and in the current year 2022 it is expected to further increase revenues by a factor of two (compared to 2019).
GSI has more than 40 active customer relationships including supplies of high security inks to ECB certified banknote printers.
The product portfolio includes inks for all major banknote printing processes like intaglio, offset and silk-screen, as well as numbering and varnishing. The inks are tailored to include common properties such as IR signatures, magnetic response and luminescence. Recently GSI introduced a new high-security features called “mouveINK” to the market…and in several weeks another high security ink feature will be unveiled.
Sustainability internal & external
A topic which becomes key in the currency industry is also key for Gleitsmann: being sustainable and supplying sustainable inks
Gleitsmann is increasingly using sustainable energy for production in the form of:
- Green electricity
- Process heat for reduced energy consumption
- District heating
Most raw materials are being sourced in Europe (meeting the REACH agreement which is settled in the EU). 95% of all raw materials sourced by GSI are being transported by land route to reduce the CO2 footprint. All inks made by Gleitsmann are cobalt-free which is unfortunately not yet a standard in the industry.
Ink is sometimes blamed for harming / limiting the downcycling process of unfit banknotes, but actually a finished printed banknote consists of only two percent of ink. By its nature the varnish/binder materials used in inks need to be very resistant to detrimental external factors and take a long time to break down – therefore it may not be desirable to use “less resistant” materials because of sustainability concerns.
As a conclusion, GSI is at the forefront of the ink industry providing customized solutions in a very short time, sourcing sustainable raw materials, and shaping the future of the currency industry.