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Research & Development

Forward-looking solutions

The technicians in the research & development department are constantly on the lookout for new processes and solutions that enable innovations and improve existing processes. They deal with new surface treatment technologies and methods for the conservation of precious metal products, with a special focus on environmental protection. New projects, such as the uniquely shaped coins of The Uncharted Universe series, present new challenges for all the departments involved and require constant coordination with the engraving, toolmaking and production departments.


With which other departments does the research & development department work closely?

Gregor Innitzer: On the one hand, the research and development department works together with all technical departments, be it blank production, production planning, plant management or the laboratory, and on the other, with marketing and the engravers. Our cooperation with the marketing department mainly concerns the development of coin products, such as 3 euro, 5 euro, 10 euro, 20 euro or 25 euro coins. The cooperation with production revolves around the implementation of these product developments, quality issues or machine and equipment procurement, but also process optimisation

Portraet picture Gregor Innitzer

So, you are you given a task, such as the production of coins with colour applications, coins with special shapes, etc., and you assess the possibility of producing them?

Gregor Innitzer: Yes, we support the marketing department in product development in cooperation with the engravers. But we also support production in the procurement of machinery and systems. Technology changes and machines are increasingly efficient. The aim is to bring in cutting-edge and efficient machinery and processes that we have never used before. For example, the research and development department has brought pad-printing technology in-house.

So, there are lots of interactions and many steps on the way from the initial idea for a coin to the finished product. You carry out a task, you answer a question, the project moves on to the next step, then it comes back to you with a new question. Is that how it works?

Julia Mißebner: Exactly, at the beginning we clarify the technical details and whether the new ideas are feasible.

When the design is ready, other issues such as printability or packaging are added, and at the end we are there for the test strike to assess its quality and to make sure the production process functions properly.

Careful planning down to the smallest detail is essential, especially when it comes to cost-intensive projects. Because if something goes wrong, it can have significant financial consequences, right?

Gregor Innitzer: When investing in new machinery and technology, we have to take the time to make sure everything works smoothly. When replacing machinery, we look for machines that are at least as productive as the existing ones, but potentially more efficient, faster or more environmentally friendly. But if the marketing department says The Uncharted Universe coin series ends on 10 May 2023, then we need a follow-up product ready to be packaged and shipped in 2024. So, this time constraint requires a fast and efficient approach.

Are coins with a special shape or set with minerals a particular challenge for you?

Julia Mißebner: While they are not unsolvable problems, such assignments do require our department to resolve the many related issues. Unusual coin shapes also pose a particular challenge when it comes to applying colour, as the pads cannot reach all the uneven surfaces on the coins. To solve this problem, we visited the manufacturer of our pad printing machine in Switzerland and selected the best pad for us out of 1,000 possibilities.

Read the entire interview in the 2022 Annual Report.

Read 2022 Annual Report

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