| The Royal Australian Mint automated its coin production with bucket elevator systems from Gough Econ. |
In one of the most extensive modernization and revamp projects ever undertaken by a mint, the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra, Australia, installed three bucket elevators from Australis Engineering P/L of Sydney.
As part of the Mint’s $60-million modernization of material handling and automation systems, the bucket conveyors deliver blanks to each of the Mint’s 13 stamping presses and feed finished coins to the facility’s packaging area. Under a contract with Australis Engineering, Gough Econ supplied an Elecon Bi-Axial bucket conveyor and two Econ-OLift bucket elevators.
Gough Econ said it manufactured the three systems at its Charlotte, N.C., facility. And besides the bucket elevators, the automation system includes a variety of robots and automated guided vehicles.
The upgrade project encompassed all aspects of material handling, warehousing and inventory control from receipt of blanks through manufacturing, production, quality control, warehousing and the dispatch of the finished circulating and numismatic coins.
Designed with a single load and 13 discharge points in one circuit – one for each stamping press – the Bi-Axial conveyor and elevator move blank coins from a counter in batches to the presses. After pressing, the coins are stored in 55-gallon drums before final counting and packaging.
According to Gough Econ, Elecon is the world’s only bucket conveyor that can move in three different directions – the typical vertical and horizontal movement and the added flexibility of turning corners.
The wedged-shaped buckets come together and overlap at the load station. A rack and pinion system for 360-degree bucket rotation ensures the buckets fully discharge on selection and return to the upright position. The system also includes a special tri-planer chain, tubular track and vertical drive plate.
In the Mint’s packaging operation, the two Econ-O-Lift bucket elevators receive coins from the 55-gallon drums via a receiving hopper. The two elevators then feed coins into counters where they are packaged into rolls and/or bags.
Measuring 9-in. wide, the buckets remain upright, except at discharge, and have collapsing heavy-duty stainless steel chains for durability and reliability.