An innovative use of bi-metallic coin manufacturing by-products and pulsating technology to create the Recognition Medal

Project Owner:  Royal Canadian Mint

Employees wanted to contribute to the community early in the pandemic, which led to the Recognition Medal: a token of appreciation for essential workers, which raised funds for a national charity combatting food insecurity. To maximize the donation, it was made of recycled materials and packaged by employee volunteer and their families.

Minting the medal when the Mint was partially shutdown by the pandemic was challenging. Different employee teams worked in isolation bubbles that never interacted. People worked remotely in many ways: designing tooling; engraving innovative features like pulsating effects and micro-text; designing packaging and a complete PR and media relations campaign. Human Resources worked with hundreds of employees to coordinate medal assembly and packaging at home. Engineering and machining crews designed and made tooling; production and plating teams manufactured the tokens, and complete assembly kits were prepared for volunteers. IT staff also provided unprecedented remote network support.

It was the first time our Pulsating Technology (micromachining a surface to create thousands of tiny cubic arrays of micro-mirrors at different angles to reflect light and simulate motion) was applied to plated material. Previous applications were only on silver coins.

Producing over 100,000 medals with a pulsating effect meant that we could achieve strong die life and consistent quality of the optical feature on harder circulation coin products.

Even the bi-metal coin slugs were reshaped by retooled blanking process to ensure proper electroplating and high speed striking.

Going from initial concept to implementation in less than two months was also innovative.

The uniqueness of the Recognition Medal is twofold:

Technically, the pulsating technology is unique to the Mint, as it is formed by thousands of micro-mirrors arrayed with specific and different angles, to reflect light in a way that creates movement. Applied to a heart shape on the Recognition Medal, it symbolizes the beating hearts of millions of Canadians. It is also the first time this technology has been applied to plated circulation coin material.

From a social responsibility point of view, it was unique in being a pure charitable fundraising product. Never before has the Mint sold a product where 100% of the net proceeds were donated to charity. By taking full advantage of recycled materials and thanks to employees volunteering personal time, the Mint was able to maximize the donation value of each medal.

The medals were conceived and produced in an extremely short timeframe to rapidly capture public sentiment for essential workers and drive maximum sales.

The use of the recycled materials greatly reduced the Mint’s environmental footprint and maximized the donation value of each medal.

The production and packaging of the medals was completed in a completely safe manner, with no COVID infections incurred at any step in the process.

Awards | Special Covid Response Award- 2021


Best Currency Initiatives Implemented In Response To Covid-19


Finalist | Winner