Paper Money

2022 BEP report cites facilities upgrades, Maryland site acquisition

2022 was an exciting year on many fronts according to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s Annual Report and former BEP Director Len Olijar.

Image courtesy of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

Director Len Olijar called 2022 an exciting year on many fronts in his introduction to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s Annual Report. He cited progress on the goal of upgrading agency facilities as the most noteworthy.

He said that the expansion of the Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth, Texas, is nearing completion. In the Washington, D.C., area, a major milestone was the transfer of land from the United States Department of Agriculture to the Department of the Treasury for the new currency manufacturing facility in Beltsville, Maryland, that will replace the current 100-year-old plant in Washington.

He also cited investments in new printing and processing technology for the next generation of bank notes now under development. He described the next notes as having “increasingly complex features to deter counterfeiting and a raised tactile feature to support denomination by the blind and visually impaired community.”

The Federal Reserve System’s currency order for the year was on schedule and under budget, according to the report. Without going into detail, he said the BEP research and development program successfully integrated new and innovative security features and a raised tactile feature into the next bank note designs through a series of test trials. Additional testing is planned in the 2023 fiscal year and over the next 10 years to ensure that the new currency has manufacturable designs that function well in commerce.

Revenue from printing and delivery of currency to the Federal Reserve System was $1 billion for the year and resulted in a profit of $153 million. As authorized by law, this will be used to provide funding for working capital requirements and investments in plants and equipment.

According to the report, “the BEP continued its multi-year effort to migrate from 32-subject to 50-subject technology by validating and optimizing the use of two Intaglio printing presses valued at $27 million in our facility located in Fort Worth, Texas.”

Further, it expanded utilization of its single note inspection technology that minimizes spoilage. These steps and so-called process enhancements reduced costs and increased productivity, realizing savings of over $20 million in manufacturing costs. The bureau spent $70 million on research and development initiatives.

The report also highlighted a little known aspect of BEP operations — the Miscellaneous Manufacturing Branch produces certificates for the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Service award, Medal of Honor, and other certificates that may need counterfeit deterrence. It also produces special security documents issued by other federal agencies.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article stated that Len Olijar had retired. He has not retired from his post as BEP director.

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