How does a Banknote Counter work?

Note counter overview

A note counter is a machine that counts the quantity or value of banknotes in a given lot. Note counter hardware and software varies to a large extent depending on the model. A low-cost note counter typically has fewer functions and counts at a slower speed, while a high-cost note counter incorporates advanced software and counts at a high speed. Why not check out the note counter overview page?

How to use a banknote counting machine

A banknote counting machine is extremely easy to use. Whether you are using an advanced banknote counting machine or a basic banknote counting machine the user requires no prior technical knowledge. Instructions and guidelines are in the user manual provided.

Typically the user places the banknotes on the banknote counting machine hopper (at the top of the machine). The banknote counting machine will start counting automatically or the restart button will need to be pressed. The counting result will be displayed on the screen. Functions such as batch counting etc can be easily inputted via the control panel.

Types of note counter

A note counter can either count the quantity of banknotes or it can count the value. A note counter that counts the quantity of banknotes is simpler in design since it does not need recognise the value of each banknote e.g. the NC10 note counter.

A note counter that counts the value, sometimes called a value counter, has sophisticated image software that recognises the value of each banknote. Value counters e.g. the NC50 note counter, can also report the break down of your counting result i.e. display the quantity/value counted for each denomination.

NC10 and NC50 Note counter

How a note counter works

A note counter has an input roller just below the hopper (where you place the notes). Once the notes are placed in the hopper, the start/stop sensor recognises their presence and automatically starts the counting process: The input roller spins, which transports the banknote to the centre of the machine. At this point the note counter counterfeit detection features check the banknote and the counting sensors register the note counter has counted a banknote. Finally the output roller transports the banknote to the stacker impeller (the circular propeller like component), which transports the banknote to the stacker. A diagram of a note counter is below:

Note counter Exploded View Infographic
(1) Top cover (9) Left hopper guide
(2) Right cover (10) Lower aft banknote feeder wheels
(3) Right hopper guide (11) Left cover
(4) Upper aft banknote feeding wheel (12) Control panel cover
(5) Forward banknote feeder wheels (13) LCD screen
(6) Hopper (14) Stacker impeller
(7) Control panel (15) Stacker panel
(8) Stacker start/stop sensor (16) Stacker
    (17) Handle

Note counting machine counterfeit detection

Counterfeit detection on a note counting machine is optional. A counterfeit detection simply checks whether the banknote has or has not got a security feature. Security features are found in genuine banknotes, for example UV marks, metal thread, magnetic features etc. Counterfeit detection uses sensors to check whether the security features are present. For example magnetic detection uses a long magnetic sensor underneath the input roller, which detects whether the banknote has the correct magnetic properties. Once checked the note counting machine will either continue counting if is deemed authentic or automatically stop and sound the alarm if it is deemed counterfeit.

Since counterfeiters may be able to replicate some security features: the more counterfeit detections a note counting machine has the more accurate it will be. It is worth noting a top specification note counting machine can detect a counterfeit banknote with 100% accuracy e.g. the NC40, NC40+, NC50 and NC60 note counting machines.

Note counting machine sorting

Sorting functions on a note counting machine are optional. Some note counting machines detect rogue denominations within a stack of banknotes i.e. a £5 within a stack of £20 banknotes to eliminate human error. The NC20 and the models above in the note counting machine range all have 'rogue note detection'. A note counting machine with rogue note detection recognises and stores in its memory the width of each banknote that passes through the machine. When a smaller or larger banknote is counted the note counting machine recognises the width difference, sounds the alarm and automatically stops. It is worth noting rogue note detection or width detection is sometimes not a default setting and needs to be activated (which is very simple if you look it up in the user manual).

NC30 Sorting functions

Advanced note counting machines such as the ZZap NC60 use advanced software, which allows them to sort your banknotes according to denomination, orientation and fitness/quality. An advanced note counting machine recognises the value, size, density and security features on each banknote. From this information it can sort your banknotes in a variety of ways. An advanced note counting machine has two or more stackers so it does not need to stop every time a banknote is sorted, it simply off-sorts the banknote to another stacker while it continues counting. An advanced note counting machine is perfect for businesses that deal with large volumes of banknotes and need the banknotes managed according to specific requirements.

NC60 Note counter
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