When you take a stack of bills to the bank, chances are the teller will place them into a machine which counts them and offers up a total. You can also see this technology in work when a bank teller opens up a bundle of bills and places them in the bill counter to assure the count is correct.

These devices, which have been around since the 1920s, not only count the bills, but can check for counterfeit currency as well. They were originally used by the Federal Reserve Bank as a way to increase efficiency (rather than counting the bills by hand) and to reduce human error.

Dollar Bill CounterIn the 1980s the counters were revamped and analog machine technology was incorporated as were microchip-driven technologies. These advances made it possible for the bill counter to perform its task in a shorter period of time than the previous technologies. In addition to the usual bill counting machines you may have seen, there are also weight-based counting machines that operate based on a series of complicated algorithms that denote variances in the weight of both bills and coins.

The most advanced of the bill counting machines have myriad built-in features and provide a variety of counting modes. Some of these include:

  • The ability to note specific bill denominations
  • The ability count and handle bills, regardless of their condition
  • The ability to decipher mixed denominations in the same stack

The way it works is that the bills are placed in the “hopper” and the machine is turned on and begins flipping the bills behind a separator. The sensor in the machine tracks the number and denomination of bills. The machines will typically stop when they encounter a bill that is abnormal – whether counterfeit or a varying weight from the other currency being sorted.

Coin sorting machines – such as those seen at grocery stores – use a similar technology to the bill counters. The way they work is that they “shake and sort” the coins into holes that fit the type of each coin. The coins are then electronically measured for height and weight and a determination on the amount is displayed.

UKA optics is a manufacturer of standard and custom high resolution lens assemblies that are used in OCR systems, film scanners, bar code scanners, digital photography and bill counters.