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Rockwell to upgrade the Royal Australian Mint

The upgrade will focus on the production and materials handling systems of the Canberra facility and tourist attraction, which is capable of producing two million circulating coins per day.

“The Australis Engineering led team will provide a turnkey automated production solution, with major player Rockwell Automation and several other parties supplying key systems,” said Michael Loke, Rockwell Automation solutions consultant. “The Australis and Rockwell Automation team was selected because of its ability to meet all of the specific requirements of the Mint. These included upgrading production capabilities, improving efficiency in the materials handling system, and implementing sustainability initiatives.”

The Royal Australian Mint’s upgraded systems will be founded on Rockwell Automation’s Integrated Architecture platform, which represents a unified approach to core production control and plant information systems. The multi-disciplinary Logix control platform, coupled with the FactoryTalk integrated production and performance software suite, will together provide complete control and information integration of the RAM’s automation, SCADA and manufacturing execution system (MES).

“The Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture platform provides the key interface between all systems–such as the coin presses and handling systems,” said Loke. “This will provide real-time data views, and deliver the stringent tracking and reconciliation required as the coin blanks move throughout the operation.”

According to Australis Engineering managing director, Phillip Gustafson, once the Mint sends through a production order, and blanks are delivered to the start of the process, the production system is completely accountable until the money goes out-the-door. “That means tracking every blank through the conveyors, presses and robotic handling systems, and delivering these coins to the storage vault ready for despatch.”

While the Mint’s new facilities will enable it to reduce scrap levels, improve inspection and automate manual handling procedures, productivity isn’t the only area set to benefit. “The new system won’t only deliver productivity improvements,” said Gustafson. “The RAM is a major tourist attraction, and the solution design features facilities for extended viewing of the high-security areas in the Mint for the public viewing gallery.”

Rockwell Automation is forging ahead with the project, with the first broad design plan having been delivered in early March 2008. The project will be completed in March 2009, with the first batch of legal tender from the new facility heading to Australian wallets shortly after.

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