San Francisco Mint Heat Treaters Help Turn Metal Blanks into Coins

By John Cochran
May 20, 2015

Victor Gomez is one of four heat treaters at the U.S. Mint at San Francisco.
Victor Gomez is one of four heat treaters at the U.S. Mint at San Francisco.

Each department of the United States Mint supports the overall mission to serve the American people by manufacturing and distributing circulating, precious metal and collectible coins and national medals, and securing assets entrusted to the Mint.

The U.S. Mint at San Francisco is the exclusive manufacturer of regular proof and silver proof coin sets that establish the standard for numismatic excellence with their brilliant artistry, fine craftsmanship and enduring quality.

Heat treater furnace operators ensure production metals meet technical standards as they enter the Mint’s coining process.

Key job elements for heat treaters at the Mint in San Francisco are:

  • Knowledge of procedures required in the heat treating shop
  • Thorough knowledge of and ability to set up and operate an annealing furnace
  • Skills maintaining proper temperature and timing throughout the annealing process
  • Perform changeovers for all coin denominations
  • Knowledge of various solutions used in treating coinage metals
  • Knowledge of when and how solutions should be adjusted to maintain proper processing
  • Thorough knowledge of and ability to set up and operate an upsetting mill
  • Thorough knowledge of and ability to set up and operate a burnishing machine
  • Ability to detect and identify potential errors during processing and to make necessary adjustments to prevent damage to coin blanks
  • Perform necessary quality, thickness, diameter, hardness, and visual defect inspections
  • Perform minor troubleshooting on all heat treating equipment

Victor Gomez is one of four heat treaters at the U.S. Mint at San Francisco. He has worked at the Mint for 20 years, with the last 10 in his current position.

The U.S. Navy veteran outlined the main duties he and his co-workers perform.

“We’re responsible for annealing of all silver and clad material of all denominations,” Gomez said.

“Each denomination is set for proper heat temperature,” he added. “Then we upset the blank coins for proper diameter by creating edges around them. We also check coin blanks for hardness.”

Gomez described what he likes about working at the Mint.

“It’s a good learning opportunity,” he said. “I started as a machine operator, and then became a heat treater. I was amazed at the whole process when I started here. I enjoy interacting with people and being able to work as part of a team. I also enjoy the cultural and employee appreciation events, and all the holiday celebrations. It’s a great honor to be a part of our team. I am proud of my profession, and most importantly, I appreciate all the opportunities the Mint has offered me.”

The production process of turning metal blanks into coins begins in earnest with heat treaters – an essential part of the Mint’s manufacturing capability.


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