US Coins

Laser blanking under study by U.S. Mint

Fraunhofer USA executed a comprehensive study involving laser-cutting nine different materials for coinage blanks, according to the U.S. Mint's 2014 Biennial Report to Congress submitted Dec. 12.

The report addresses the Mint's progress in finding composition alternatives and production methods that will cut costs for circulating U.S. coins.

Fraunhofer studied replacing the current mechanical die blanking and on-site annealing with laser blanking and off-site bulk annealing. Currently, blanks are punched from coils of coinage strip, and the rough blanks are deburred and then annealed to soften, for formation of the raised rim on an upset machine, before being struck on a coinage press.

Fraunhofer also studied retaining the on-site annealing but replacing the current die-blanking with laser blanking.

Fraunhofer concluded that the laser blanking would not offer substantial savings compared to the current mechanical die blanking.

Suggestions for additional examination include non-laser blanking alternatives, such as die-blanking with a "push-back station" that might be able to directly blank annealed material without distorting the blanks and cutting blanks using water jets.

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