Pushing the limits of technology has been a key, and fruitful, strategy for the Royal Canadian Mint. Continual innovation has allowed the Mint to produce ever more sophisticated products and to streamline its processes.
One of its key innovations is the patented multi-ply plated steel technology that allows a steel blank to be coated with alternating layers of nickel and copper. This process offers high quality and durability that outperform traditional alloy-based coins. Multi-ply plating has been used since 2000 to produce Canada’s 1-cent, 5-cent, 10-cent, 25-cent and 50-cent circulation coins, as well as the 2010 “Poppy” coin.
In 1996, the two-dollar circulation coin (the toonie), featuring a polar bear, was released. It was the first bimetallic coin to be produced by the Mint.
To create its coloured circulation coins, the Mint uses robotics. As the coins move along the production line, the robot orients each coin to ensure precisely consistent colourization. Automated vision systems were employed in 2010 to paint the 25-cent coloured coins commemorating the top three Canadian Winter Olympic Medals Moments.