The BMW Group has generated a closed-loop material series for tungsten and is assembling old drill and milling bits for recycling at its plants in Austria and Germany. The secondary tungsten will be reused for manufacturing new milling and drilling tools, reducing energy consumption by 70% and CO2 emissions by more than 60% as compared to using primary tungsten, said the company.
Dr. Andreas Wendt, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said that proper management of natural resources plays a vital role in their company’s long-term goals. They are planning to increase recycled raw materials percentage significantly by the year 2030 and use raw materials several times in a circular economy.
Mr. Wendt added that every gram of recycled material that preserves natural resources and refrains from desecrations of environmental and social standards counts.
Sources state that BMW Group is planning to begin gathering tool scrap from its Austria and Germany plants for recycling starting June 2021. Tool scrap contains an average of more than 80% tungsten. A special method is used to develop secondary tungsten in powdered form. The electricity required for this will be generated from 100% renewable, local energy sources, stated the company.
For producing new tools, the company plans on utilizing this dusky grey tungsten powder. It has already verified the material cycle in a project where tool manufacturer Guhring KG based in Berlin created new milling and drilling bits from recycled tungsten with the help of a small quantity of tool scrap. BMW Group plants are already using these milling and drilling bits.
The company is also focusing on gradually increasing the proportion of certified smelting plants in the supply chain. On-site visits are conducted by BMW Group Purchasing to select European smelting plants every year for improving its processes understanding involved in mineral processing.