BEP prepares its Fiscal Year 2022 budget including new facility Community Comments

The Federal Reserve Board has not yet publicly submitted to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing its currency print order for the Oct. 1, 2021, to Sept. 30, 2022, fiscal year. The BEP has, however, submitted its fiscal year 2022 budget request to Congress. The request includes explanations of, and justifications for, its planned activities.

Included in the request is an aspect of the agency’s work not often recognized by collectors — providing technical assistance, advice, and some production services to other federal agencies when they require counterfeit deterrence. Other operational areas include engraving plates and dyes; manufacturing inks; purchasing materials, supplies and equipment; and storing and delivering products.

BEP also requested funds for special projects. Foremost was $897 million for the Replacement Production Facility in Beltsville, Maryland. Work began in 2021 when $30 million was dedicated to contracts for the removal of hazardous building materials, demolition of old agriculture research buildings and the relocation of some needed utility systems. The new funding request will include the award of the construction contract for the replacement facility. BEP says the new facility, when operational, will reduce its annual operating costs by at least $38 million through production, material handling, and other efficiencies.

Expansion of the Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth, Texas, began in the 2018 fiscal year. The purpose was to provide the space and support needed for the new equipment to be used in producing the next generation of currency, the Catalyst series. BEP says the focus of Catalyst will be “on the integration of strong, new security features.” The work should be completed in 2022, with $1 million budgeted for construction close-out activities.

BEP’s work on its long-term project with the Federal Government’s inter-agency Advanced Counterfeit Deterrent Steering Committee was emphasized. The objective of the ACD is to research and develop improved security features for the Catalyst family of notes that, the request reiterates, will focus on innovative Federal Reserve note security and anti-counterfeit technology.

Retooling the manufacturing process is another multi-year effort. It includes advanced intaglio printing presses, electronic inspection systems, and finishing equipment. The $100 note finishing line will be upgraded and fully automated to integrate the Single Note Inspection technology. This will replace the old sheet-inspection process and, according to the BEP report, will reduce spoilage, be more efficient, and save money. Obsolete electrical and mechanical parts on existing presses will be replaced to extend the press lifetimes.

Aging COPE–PAK (Currency Overprinting Processing Equipment, Packaging) equipment is being replaced a new generation of processing technology. This will include improved Large Examining and Printing Equipment (ns-LEPE) that will allow BEP to print all denominations on 50-subject sheets instead of 32-subject sheets.

The budget request also mentions some improvements to extend the life of printing plates, as well as various personnel initiatives.

The full 13-page document, 21.-BEP-FY-2022-CJ.pdf, is available on the Treasury Department’s website.

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