Paper Money

Firm gains patent for note disinfectant system

Notes are placed within a custom-designed large scale oven unit, which has oxygen sensors and timing controls. Between 4 million and 6 million notes can be disinfected in 1 to 2 hours, the designer says.

Images courtesy of Spectra Systems.

Spectra Systems Corp., a company based in Providence, Rhode Island, that offers security technology including software and advanced materials for use in bank notes, product authentication, and gaming, said on April 9 that it was granted a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its system for disinfecting bank notes from SARS-2 viruses and other biohazards.

According to the firm, the patent is expected to be issued within six weeks, and other applications are filed in other regions across the world. Spectra Systems claims that its technology can disinfect bank notes in under two hours by using a combination of nitrogen and heat to deactivate SARS-2.

Spectra’s chief executive Nabil Lawandy said, “The coronavirus pandemic has raised questions about the health safety of bank notes. Given that several new SARS-2 variants have been shown to be more virulent, it is likely that COVID-19 will become endemic. Central banks and casinos that exchange cash with the public may conclude that a proactive approach rather than denial is the logical approach to maintaining the use of cash worldwide. Our newest product is designed specifically to address this situation effectively, and its patent was, we understand, allowed in record time.”

The technology utilizes a combination of nitrogen (to create an oxygen-free environment) and heat to neutralize SARS-CoV-2 and other viral and bacterial pathogens. While doing this, the process is still able to protect a bank note’s substrate, inks, and security features. It is effective with both paper and polymer.

The complete system, called the BDS-1000, has the capacity to disinfect between 4 million and 6 million notes in 1 to 2 hours with no consumables, as it extracts oxygen from the air. Bank notes can remain in strapped or shrink-wrapped form, allowing for a workflow efficient enough to disinfect 15 to 20 million bank notes in an eight-hour shift.

The BDS-1000 is composed of two primary subsystems: A custom-designed large scale oven unit with oxygen sensors and timing controls, and a pressure swing adsorption (PSA) nitrogen gas generator. The PSA extracts oxygen from the ambient air and produces a nitrogen atmosphere within the disinfection oven.

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