In October, the U.S. government discovered that some of the newly redesigned $100 bills were coming off the printing press with blank spots caused by creases in the paper at both sites of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Washington, D.C. and Fort Worth, Texas. The government has recently announced that this will cause a delay in the introduction of these bills, planned for the spring of 2011.
Additionally, the bills that have blank spots will have to be shredded and reprinted. Because of complex new security features aimed at deterring counterfeiters (such as a 3-D security strip woven into the paper), the bills cost $0.12 to print. Hundreds of millions of bills have been printed, with a possible cost of this issue in the millions of dollars.
Although issues with currency are expensive, they’re also rare. The last time that a printing issue caused a delay in the introduction of a new bill was 1987. It’s unclear at this point when the bills will finally be released.
It’s also unclear what happened to cause the paper to crease, creating blank spots from printing. The additional complexity of this bill with the additional security features is being looked at, as are issues with the paper and the printing machines. However, because similar errors occurred at both printing sites, it’s unlikely that there is a specific issue with just one site’s machines. Although the investigation into what caused the blank spots is ongoing, we can begin a root cause analysis with what is currently known. Once more information is discovered, the Cause Map can be updated.
Because of the high potential financial losses from this issue, the eventual investigation will likely go into great detail and to determine fully what happened will take some time. The Cause Map and outline for the information known now can be viewed by clicking “Download PDF” above.