Intaglio & Banknotes Intaglio has been a hallmark of the international banknote community for several centuries. It has supported banknote designers, printers, issuers and the public with a trusted and reliable technique for adding aesthetic beauty, security, functionality and durability to a banknote. Evolution within the banknote industry has fueled the development of countless new security technologies over the past twenty years. Most of these technologies depend on intaglio for further protection, optimisation and to build higher levels of security and aesthetic impact. Intaglio has evolved in parallel to these technological developments and today remains a fundamental pillar upon which all other features, process and techniques depend. Despite an incredibly rich past, never before has intaglio offered so many possibilities. But despite all this, in the race to develop new technologies the perception of intaglio has suffered. The introduction of digital engraving techniques has opened the door to a whole new set of possibilities with intaglio. Our industry unanimously welcomed digital engraving and after only ten short years virtually all engravers have or are in the process of migrating to this new way of engraving. It all sounds too good to be true… and in fact it is. While digital engraving is a positive step forward, it aims to complement and not replace hand engraving. Hand engraving skills and competencies are an absolute requirement before moving to digital engraving. This was agreed and endorsed by 60 of the worlds’ intaglio engravers at the 2011 Intaglio Engravers Summit in Budapest, Hungary. After almost 300 years of supporting us, we have turned our backs on what some might consider as the backbone of banknote security in the space of 10 short years. Generations of knowledge, skills and technique have been abandoned by the dream of simplicity, speed and flexibility offered by digital technology. Now we realize that this dream can only become a reality if engravers have mastered the art of hand engraving and it is almost too late. 6-7 Master engravers left in the world Average age of Master Engraver is over 50 years There are less than 10 Intaglio Engraver Apprenticeship programmes today Most engravers are migrating or have already migrated to digital techniques Banknote Industry requires 2-3 new engravers per year If we lose intaglio engraving skills we lose intaglio quality/security. If we lose intaglio quality/security we lose intaglio and in another 10 short years it will quite simply be too late to do anything about it.
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