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3D Printing And Titanium — A Life-Changing Combination

3D printing And Titanium — A Life-Changing Combination

3D printing is delivering customisation options that make it possible to create almost any shape using additive manufacturing (AM) technology. In fact, the possibilities of 3D printing are so game-changing, it is even possible to create carbon copies of our own skulls. Sandvik’s additive manufacturing and metal powder specialists are exploring the potential of AM in the medical field, and are preparing for the future of medical implants.

Life-threatening accidents, vertebral damage, chronic osteopathic conditions and side-effects from medical treatment can all cause irreparable damage to patients. The consequences can be painful, debilitating and even fatal, so we must develop solutions to help the human body overcome challenges, enhance the healing process and improve patient prognosis. Medical implant technology has developed vastly over the years, and one of manufacturing’s most disruptive technologies is set to transform the way we treat patients.

Medical implant developers require a manufacturing technology that delivers speed, individualisation and the ability to produce complex designs. 3D printing, paired with bio-compatible materials like titanium, is demonstrating its evident potential as the medical industry’s manufacturing technology of choice for life-changing solutions.

In the past, surgeons used metal mesh to replace areas of the body such as skull bones, which tended to be weak and lacked precision. 3D printing eliminates these flaws because it uses medical imaging to create a customised implant, shaped exactly according to the individual’s anatomical data. This means that the patient can be fitted with an exact match to replace the lost or damaged area of the skull.

In Sandviken, Sweden, lies one of the world’s most cutting-edge titanium powder plants. At the plant, Sandvik’s experts are unlocking the potential of 3D printed titanium devices for the medical industry. “Titanium, 3D printing and the medical sector are the perfect match,” explains Harald Kissel, R&D Manager at Sandvik Additive Manufacturing.

“Titanium has excellent properties and is one of few metals accepted by the human body, while 3D printing can rapidly deliver bespoke results for an industry where acting quickly could be the difference between life and death.”

In addition to titanium’s material benefits, AM can help overcome some of the challenges when producing medical implants and prosthetics. Typically, the process of being fit for a prosthesis involves several visits to create a device that fits a patient and their needs. As a result, the time between a patient’s life-changing surgery and them receiving their device can be painstakingly slow.

“If a patient undergoes a serious accident, one that destroys areas such as the skull or spine beyond repair, they simply do not have time to spare to ensure their reconstructive devices fit correctly. Instead, they’re given solutions that work, but aren’t tailored to their bodies,” Kissel explained.

“Long waiting times and a lack of customisation can really impact how a patient feels after they’ve undergone a life-changing event or procedure. Even in 2020, there are still prosthetic patients using devices that do not move, or are simply just hooks.”

“Using computer tomography, it is now possible to optimise designs that simply cannot be produced using other manufacturing methods. What’s more, we can make our designs lighter, with less material waste and in shorter lead times. Patients could receive a perfectly matching device, in less time and using a high-performing, lightweight material.”

In summer 2020, Sandvik’s specialist powder plant was awarded the ISO 13485:2016 medical certification for its Osprey titanium powders, positioning its highly automated production process at the forefront of medical device development. As AM disrupts many areas of manufacturing, it’s clear that its potential in the medical sector will be life changing.

Sandvik is also part of one of the most ground-breaking research projects within the medical segment to date, contributing with its extensive material expertise. The Swiss M4M Center in Switzerland is a public-private partnership initiated by the Swiss government, aiming to evolve medical 3D printing to a level where patient-specific, innovative implants can be developed and manufactured quickly and cost-effectively.

“The Swiss M4M Center is intended to build up and certify a complete end-to-end production line for medical applications, like implants. Being able to facilitate this initiative through the unique material knowledge that is found within Sandvik is an empowering experience. Joining forces with an array of experts to reinvent the future of medical devices as well as the lives of thousands of people — is an experience out of the ordinary.”

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Sandvik Invests In Leading AI-Powered Manufacturing Software Provider Oqton

Sandvik Invests In Leading AI-Powered Manufacturing Software Provider Oqton

High-tech engineering group Sandvik has acquired a minority stake in the privately owned American company Oqton, a leading provider of AI-powered manufacturing solutions that allow manufacturers to manage, optimise and automate their manufacturing workflows.

Oqton provides a secure end-to-end, cloud-based platform that links data across the manufacturing ecosystem – from design, to production, to logistics – to help users understand, optimise and drive these highly interdependent, but traditionally siloed, processes. This open cloud platform combines order tracking, computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), scheduling, manufacturing execution systems (MES), Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and production traceability into one platform, enabling manufacturers to operate agile factories that manage complex product mixes, with lower inventory and a simplified supply chain.

​​​​​The management team welcomes the transaction, which will provide Oqton with a strong industrial partner that will accelerate opportunities for growth. The financing will be used to further develop Oqton’s platform, while expanding its commercial partnerships in multiple domains and verticals, such as additive manufacturing, robotic welding and CNC machining.

Sandvik’s customers  – regardless of their size  – share similar challenges in manufacturing. Striking the difficult balance between flexibility, effective machine use and minimising waste, all while facing a​ lack of manufacturing insights,​ can restrain productivity.​

Oqton’s solution targets inefficiencies and waste in processes throughout the manufacturing workflow.​ ​It is unique in that it combines several manufacturing software capabilities (CAD, PLM, CAM, IOT, MES, QMS) into a single platform, enabling an unprecedented degree of AI-powered automation and optimisation.

Users can automatically capture expert knowledge and eliminate repetitive tasks, access technologies remotely and across multiple sites, and optimise production planning to improve utilisation and quality. Being fully integrated, users can also link the platform to their traditional technologies, such as CNC, welding, and post-processing machines for a truly end-to-end manufacturing solution, making their processes faster, more adaptable, and more cost-effective.

“This investment is in line with our strategic agenda to broaden our offering in digital manufacturing. We are looking forward to working with Oqton and finding ways to expand our offering for increased customer productivity by creating new products that take advantage of Sandvik’s extensive know-how of manufacturing processes and Oqton’s AI-powered manufacturing solutions”, says Stefan Widing, President and CEO of Sandvik.

“Sandvik will help us scale globally with both a direct and indirect sales approach. We truly think time has come for the manufacturing space to embrace the cloud and we are working hard to facilitate this,” explains Ben Schrauwen, CEO of Oqton.

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Sandvik Coromant Appoints New President

Sandvik Coromant Appoints New President

Sandvik Coromant has announced Helen Blomqvist as its new President, succeeding Nadine Crauwels.

As president, Helen will be responsible for enhancing Sandvik Coromant’s leading position in manufacturing tools and machining solutions and sharing the knowledge that drives the manufacturing industry forward. Helen will report to the newly appointed President of Sandvik Machining Solutions, Nadine Crauwels, and will be a member of the Sandvik Machining Solutions Management Team. She starts her new position on 1 December 2020.

Blomqvist has a solid background with Sandvik Coromant and joined the company in 2003 as a research engineer. In her 17 years, she has held various managerial positions in Product Management and R&D, as well as in sales — having been the General Manager for Sales Area North Europe. She holds two patents and in 2018, she was awarded Sandvik Coromant Leader of the Year.

Blomqvist is a Swedish national and holds a PhD in Structural Chemistry from Stockholm University.

“I am pleased and honoured to have the opportunity to lead Sandvik Coromant, a company with a fantastic position for products and solutions that are adding value to our customers. I look forward to working with Sandvik Coromant’s management team, employees and partners to continue to develop our offering, our innovation power and to implement our strategy to lead the industry forward and shape the future of the manufacturing industry. My focus will be to strengthen our role as market leader.” says Blomqvist.

Sandvik Coromant owns over 3,100 patents worldwide, employs 7,00 members of staff and is represented in 150 countries. For more information on Sandvik Coromant, please visit the Sandvik Coromant website for the latest news.

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What Is Successful Milling?

What is Successful Milling?

Milling 101: What are the considerations when it comes to milling operations, and how can operators reduce vibration in milling? Read on. Article by Sandvik Coromant.

Milling has been evolved into a method that machines a very broad range of operations. In addition to all the conventional applications, milling is a strong alternative for producing holes, threads, cavities and surfaces that used to be turned, drilled or tapped.

There are different types of milling operations. They are: 

  • Shoulder milling
  • Face milling
  • Profile milling
  • Groove milling and parting off
  • Chamfer milling
  • Turn milling
  • Gear machining
  • Holes and cavities/ pocketing

The following are the initial considerations for milling operations:

  1. The milled configuration

The features to be milled have to be carefully considered. These can be located deep, requiring extended tooling, or contain interruptions and inclusions.

  1. The component

Workpiece surfaces can be demanding, with cast skin or forging scale. In cases of bad rigidity, caused by thin sections or weak clamping, dedicated tooling and strategies have to be used. The workpiece material and its machinability must also be analyzed to establish optimal cutting data.

  1. The machine

The choice of milling method will determine the type of machine needed. Face/shoulder or slot milling can be performed in 3-axis machines, while milling 3D profiles require alternatively 4- or 5-axis machines.

Turning centres today often have milling capability due to driven tools, and machining centres often have turning capability. CAM developments mean that 5-axis machines are increasingly common. They offer increased flexibility, but stability can be a limitation.

How to Reduce Vibration in Milling

Milling vibration can arise due to limitations in the cutting tool, the holding tool, the machine, the workpiece or the fixture. To reduce vibration, there are some strategies to consider.

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Sandvik Creates The World’s Most Sustainable Steel Knives

Sandvik Creates The World’s Most Sustainable Steel Knives

Most customers turn to Sandvik Materials Technology when they’re searching for large steel billets and tubes, or equipment for industrial furnaces. However, Sandvik’s expertise also extends to the kitchen and the company has previously worked with professional chefs to develop steel knives. When Craig Lockwood set out to create the world’s most sustainable knives, he knew where to turn for an environmentally-conscious material choice.

Lockwood is the owner of handmade knives business Chop Knives, and has supplied his products to prestigious restaurants including Michelin-starred Black Swan and L’Enclume in the UK. He doesn’t just want to make the best knives on the market, Lockwood also wants his products to be the most sustainable knife choice.

Steel sustainability

The most common blade steel types fall into three categories: carbon steel, tool steel and stainless steel. While carbon steel is generally used for rough use where toughness is important, stainless steel’s added chromium can increase a knife blade’s performance levels.

Steel is the best-performing blade material, but Lockwood battled with its environmental status when creating the world’s most sustainable knives. “As a responsible maker, I thought a lot about how I could make a kitchen knife with a positive effect on the planet. I knew I needed to closely follow the material supply chain to find the best suppliers.”

Steel provides solutions to infrastructure and construction around the world. The material helps build climate resilient cities and coastal protection, and forms protective designs that minimise the effects of natural disasters. While some of steel’s many uses undoubtedly do good for our planet, the steel industry also generates between seven and nine per cent of direct emissions from the global use of fossil fuel.

So why would Lockwood choose steel as his sustainable blade choice? While the initial production of steel emits large quantities of carbon dioxide, industry leaders are acting to improve the material’s sustainability. Steel is infinitely recyclable, and can be continually repurposed without the loss of properties or performance.

Scrap value

When we think of repurposing old steel, or scrap steel, it could be easy to question the used metal’s quality. To ensure recycled steel maintains its properties, it’s important that the original manufacturer takes responsibility over their material. If a scrap dealer disposes of used steel, it could impact its quality and sustainability.

Difficulties start as steel scrap sorting is not always thorough and similar steel grades are often mixed together. This downcycles the quality of the steel when reusing it as a secondary raw material. It also means the manufacturer must add virgin materials to get the right composition when creating a specific steel grade, which perpetuates a less-sustainable supply chain.

Instead, steel manufacturers can ensure the quality of recycled steel by managing their original assets. Across the European steel industry, steel is typically made up of around 50 per cent recycled material, the rest is virgin raw material. At Sandvik, our steel is made up of around 82 per cent secondary raw material, and our goal is to reach 90 per cent by 2030.

The Chop Knives are made up of 78 per cent recycled steel, which Lockwood cuts, shapes and grinds in his workshop to form the perfect blades. The specific steel grades used in the knives are 14C28N and Sandvik 12C27M. This is a martensitic stainless chromium steel developed for the manufacture of kitchen tools.

What’s more, the knives’ steel is produced in one of the most ecologically sound steel mills in the world. A Sandvik steel mill uses an electric furnace to heat the material before it’s casted and hot rolled. The hot-rolled strips are then treated onsite, reducing transport and ensuring traceability throughout the process. To power the electric furnaces, Sandvik relies of nuclear and hydropower.

Environmentally sharp

In addition to the knives’ blades, Lockwood has also worked to create sustainable knife handles. He reuses kitchen waste, such as yoghurt pots, meat packing trays or water bottles, to help his create a product that completely encapsulates his sustainability values.

The perfect blend of materials innovation, paired with creative thinking, have proven the perfect recipe for Craig Lockwood’s sustainable knives.

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How 3D Printed Titanium Motor Nodes Became A Game-Changer In E-Bikes

How 3D Printed Titanium Motor Nodes Became A Game-Changer In E-Bikes

Motor nodes are one of the hardest e-bike parts to manufacture. When GSD Global turned to Sandvik’s experts in metal powder and additive manufacturing to 3D print their motor nodes in titanium, they found they could achieve a lighter, more durable and much more energy efficient solution.

GSD Global is an engineering and design consultancy with long-standing experience in creating premium electronic bicycles, or e-bikes. Heading the organization is Zach Krapfl, an electric vehicle engineer based in Paonia, Colorado, in the United States. Krapfl is dedicated to global energy conservation and reducing fossil fuel consumption — and combines bicycles, light electric vehicles and renewable energy technologies as a catalyst for sustainable transport.

As with any artform, high-end bicycles are typically handcrafted to satisfy the specific palate of true bike connoisseurs. “Handmade bikes are pieces of art to begin with. So, if we can provide these high-end bicycle makers with a material that can make their bikes last 10 to 20 years, that’s a game-changer to them,” said Krapfl.

GSD Global works with various bicycle OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), with the majority of their design work focusing on e-bikes. For almost a decade, they’ve been partnering with Bosch e-bike systems to testify that, up until recently, e-bike uptake has been slow. Part of the explanation is thought to be that titanium parts such as the motor node that holds the electric motor onto the bike frame are very difficult to machine using traditional CNC processes — and costly at that.

When GSD Global turned to Sandvik to investigate the possibility of 3D printing their titanium components, they found that by developing the design of the motor nodes and adapting them to be additively manufactured, they could reduce their costs by more than 50 per cent.

Using powder bed fusion laser technology, Sandvik 3D printed the motor nodes using its Osprey Ti6AI4V powder. Typically, these grades are used in the medical, aerospace, automotive and engineering industries for applications that require significant weight saving while maintaining high strength and performance. The motor nodes then underwent heat treatment and sandblasting during post processing.

By providing their OEMs with Sandvik’s 3D printed titanium motor nodes, GSD Global can help them to create the ideal e-bikes that will not only cost less and thereby be increasingly sellable, but can also last longer and with increased energy efficiency.

After mastering 3D printed motor nodes, and with the launch of Sandvik’s new titanium plant, its Osprey metal powders, materials expertise and leading capabilities across the additive value chain, the possibilities for additively producing other bicycle parts seem endless.

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Sandvik And BEAMIT Advances Additive Manufacturing

Sandvik And BEAMIT Advances Additive Manufacturing

Sandvik and BEAMIT have made several important advances in metal additive manufacturing (AM) over the last six months. Most recently the BEAMIT Group acquired ZARE, meaning that two leading additive manufacturing service bureaus in Europe join forces to become one of the largest independent AM service providers, serving the most demanding industries.

In July 2019, Sandvik acquired a significant stake in leading European-based AM service provider BEAMIT, with the right to further increase its stake over time. BEAMIT is a trusted supplier of advanced metal AM-components to demanding industries, including e.g. aerospace, space, automotive and energy – with a number of relevant quality certifications, such as AS9100 for aerospace and heat treatments NADCAP approval. The company complements Sandvik’s additive manufacturing offer, which includes the widest range of metal powders for AM and leading expertise across the entire AM value chain.

Creating a leading am service provider with more than 100 employees

The merger of BEAMIT and ZARE has created an AM-organisation with more than 100 employees based at five facilities, all located within a 40 km area between Parma and Reggio Emilia in Italy. The new Group also has four commercial offices in France, Germany, the UK and Japan.

BEAMIT and ZARE will continue to operate under their respective brand names, but activities will be consolidated under the BEAMIT Group. Together the service offering encompasses a range of materials, different AM process technologies, post processing methods and critical quality certifications aligned to demanding industries like aerospace, defense and energy.

BEAMIT’s acquisition of ZARE, follows their recent investment in PRES-X, which specialises in AM post-processing. PRES-X is the first company in Europe with the capability to perform high pressure heat treatments on 3D printed production parts, along with other advanced post processing methods like roughness surface smoothening preparation on external and internal surfaces, depowdering etc.

New state-of-the-art powder plant for titanium and nickel-based super alloys

In parallel with the activities within the BEAMIT Group, Sandvik has recently commercialised a new state-of-the-art powder plant for Osprey titanium– and nickel-based super alloys, which means that the company offers the widest range of AM alloys on the market. The new plant already received the prestigious ‘AS9100 Revision D’ certification for deliveries to the aerospace industry – as well as the ‘ISO 13485:2016’ certification for deliveries to the medical segment. Sandvik’s powder production facilities in Neath, UK, has also recently been awarded the ‘AS9100D’ certification for aerospace.

Kristian Egeberg, President of Sandvik Additive Manufacturing, says: “The AM sector is developing fast and there is a need for AM-specialist-partners with the advanced skills and resources required to help industrial customers develop and launch their AM programs. The new AM-constellation consisting of Sandvik and the BEAMIT Group is extremely strong – and will provide our customers with the opportunity to access the complementary and combined power of several leading players, covering the entire AM value chain.”

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Cutting Costs, While Saving The Planet For Tool Makers

Cutting Costs, While Saving The Planet For Tool Makers

The main driver of business sustainability goals is to make an impact on the wider world. Another benefit that is often overlooked is the economic value of implementing sustainable actions. Can businesses save money, while helping to protect the planet? Here, Sachin Pimpalnerkar, global segment manager for renewable energy at global engineering group, Sandvik, explains how Sandvik Machining Solutions (SMS) has optimised two crucial toolmaking technologies to achieve just that.

Almost everything made of metal is machined with an insert. The insert has to withstand extreme heat and force, so is made of some of the hardest materials in the world. Typically, an insert is made using 80 per cent tungsten carbide, renowned for its superior durability, and a metal matrix that binds the carbide grains together, where cobalt is the most common.

Tough components created to withstand some of the most intense working environments require manufacturing processes that are equally strenuous.

Sintering

One of the most intense steps in tool insert manufacturing is the sintering process. After the carefully selected metal powders are milled and then pressed into shape, the inserts are very fragile. It is at this stage that the inserts are fused, or sintered, into solid pieces.

Sintering is not a quick process — but time is money. Keeping powerful furnaces in operation for many hours at a time uses up immense amounts of energy, but cutting corners and producing fragile inserts would be even more wasteful. If a reduction in energy consumption is to be made possible, it would require a reduction in cycle times without compromising product quality.

Teams at Dormer Pramet, part of the Sandvik Group, have successfully reduced the cycle time of their sintering process by almost 100 minutes. To achieve this reduction, Dormer Pramet engineers worked in close collaboration with research and development specialists from Sandvik Materials Technology (SMT) in Pune, India to redesign the gas flow passing through the charge of the sintering furnaces.

Coating

When machining ferrous materials such as cast iron or stainless steel, a coated insert is the favoured tool of choice. CVD coating involves placing tools into a chamber, which is pumped with gases at 950-1100 deg C. These gases react inside the heated chamber, depositing a thin layer onto each tool that reinforces its strength.

High temperatures are key to effective CVD coating, but maintaining them is an energy intensive process. How do we keep heat inside a building? We insulate it. To prevent heat from escaping CVD coating chambers, Dormer Pramet added new insulation onto the furnace’s coating. Trapping heat inside the chamber has shortened the cycle times of CVD reactors, and is estimated to lower emissions by 25 tonnes every year.

Combined, these two actions are calculated to not only reduce annual emissions by around 40 tonnes, but also save around 230,000 euros every year. Sustainable action will always focus on environmental improvement, but by implementing simple changes, manufacturers may also enjoy the business benefits that process evaluation can bring.

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Sandvik Coromant Joins Forces With Microsoft To Shape The Future Of Manufacturing

Sandvik Coromant Joins Forces With Microsoft To Shape The Future Of Manufacturing

Sandvik Coromant has embarked on a unique venture with Microsoft to drive forward the development and digitalisation of the manufacturing industry. Combining Sandvik Coromant’s expertise in machining with technical solutions from Microsoft, the collaboration will seek to link up parts of the production chain to create solutions for the next generation of manufacturing. The contract also includes an acceleration of the internal digitalisation network for Sandvik Coromant.

​Sandvik Coromant’s CoroPlus offering, developed in part with Microsoft, is based on Azure IoT Suite, Cortana Intelligence Suite and Dynamics 365 for Field Service. Among other things, the offering connects people, machines, tools and data on a single platform to offer Sandvik Coromant’s customers a better basis for decision making, and provides an overview of the various developments in the manufacturing process. This can enable savings, for example, by reducing machine downtimes.

“We see this collaboration with Microsoft as key to the success of our digital strategy. We have a historic relationship with them and look forward to continuing our journey, creating value by working together to develop and implement solutions for the manufacturing industry to guarantee efficiency, sustainability and growth. This unique partnership represents a new way for our companies to work together more closely to develop our competence,” explained Nadine Crauwels, President of Sandvik Coromant.

One unique aspect of Sandvik Coromant’s CoroPlus offering is that data is not only gathered at machine level to adjust equipment, notify technicians about maintenance requirements and warn managers about potential problems. Data is also gathered at tool level, which means that the customer’s industrial tool becomes “smart” and can be adapted and adjusted at any time for efficient use and to prevent production stoppages.

The partnership with Microsoft adopts an integrated approach to digitising the data, expertise and experience used on a daily basis by Sandvik Coromant to guide their customers, and will serve as an additional tool to facilitate streamlining of production.

The new joint venture between Sandvik Coromant and Microsoft gets under way in the first quarter of 2020 and will involve operations both in Sweden and abroad.​​​

 

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Making The Industry More Sustainable With The Circular Economy

Making the Industry More Sustainable with the Circular Economy

Mats W. Lundberg, Sustainable Business Manager at Sandvik Materials Technology (SMT), evaluates the circular approach in the metalworking industry.

How old is your mobile phone? If you’re thinking about your current device, it’s likely that you change it every couple of years following the release of a fancy new upgrade.

In reality, mobile telephones as old as the brick-like, antennae inventions of the 1980s probably remain in landfills. With many of our planet’s environmental issues linked to human consumption, it’s time to rethink our ‘take-make-dispose’ economy.

READ: Achieving Sustainability In Manufacturing

Technology moves fast—even at the time of a new product launch, the next big thing is probably already in the pipeline. As a result, we’re creating mountains of obsolete devices that can take centuries before they begin to break down. Glass alone has no measurable decomposition period, meaning it can take over a million years before it degrades. The World Economic Forum (WEF) reports that 50 million tons of electronic waste is produced each year, which if left unchecked could rise to more than double by 2050.

But it’s not just digital devices that are creating a backlog of waste. As urbanisation, industrialisation and population increase around the world, the amount of waste we generate continues to rise. But what if this didn’t have to be the case?

Going Full Circle

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a circular economy is “based on the principals of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use and regenerating natural systems.” By employing reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling methods to create a close-loop system, circular systems minimise the use of new materials and keep products equipment and infrastructure in use for longer.

A circular economy covers a broad scope of areas including every industry sector, resources such as metals and minerals as well as biological resources like food and fibres. It requires a complete overhaul of product management. Instead of focusing on driving more volume, companies are rethinking products and services from the bottom up to future proof their operations across the entire supply chain.

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The foundation predicts that implementing the circular economy has the potential to deliver a 48 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and material cost saving of as high as 700 million US dollars per year in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) segment.

Since 1862, circularity has been a part of what we do at SMT — although that’s not what we called the process back then. At the time, it was more of a question of resource efficiency, as we would re-melt leftover scrap material during production. We still apply this ethos today, but the process has been fine-tuned and our products consist of 84 percent recycled material on average.

More Than Sustainability

But circularity doesn’t only benefit businesses from a sustainability perspective. With the introduction of any new process, advantages are often rendered useless if they do not also satisfy the needs of the business. A circular economy is capable of addressing both global sustainability challenges while achieving business value by taking care of an issue that no customer is ever thrilled to deal with—waste.

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Overseeing the entire lifecycle of a product gives the business greater control of their assets. This control means that the company can effectively review its costs, while also improving spending for their customers who will benefit from selling used products, helping the business create better and longer lasting relationships with customers. By recognising that a circular economy extends business value, those across the supply chain are able to understand the value of the model.

Making the Shift

Circularity is nothing new for Sandvik Machining Solutions (SMS), as Lars Ederström, Project Lead for Sustainability and Governance at SMS, explains, the business model and a buy-back program has been in play since the 1990s.

“In 2006, Sandvik Coromant launched a customer buy-back program that allowed customers to return their used products so that we could recycle them and reclaim key materials such as tungsten and other rare precious metals,” says Ederström.

The program has since increased in volume and it is now a valuable process for SMS’s customers and its operations.

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“Our customers appreciate that we manage this end-of-life process for them,” Ederström says. “In addition to lightening the burden of managing used products, we are also helping our customers contribute to the circular system and make a real difference to the sustainability of our industry.”

Our goal at Sandvik Group is to become more than 90 percent circular by 2030. To achieve this, we’ve recognised a number of areas where we can improve our material management, including recycling steel and cemented carbide as part of a comprehensive buying back program. Achieving this goal will be tough, even for us seasoned circularity veterans, but we’re ready to evolve a process that has been part of our DNA for the past 158 years.

SMS will also be placing stricter demands on its suppliers of raw materials and packaging, requiring them to increase their use of secondary and recycled materials. This will help ensure that not only the division’s own products contribute to the circular economy, but the materials it purchases will also be based increasingly on used materials.

It’s time to make the shift. A circular economy will not only help businesses achieve sustainability goals and make a real difference to our planet’s emission levels, but switching from a linear way of working will also help achieve real business value. Making the mot of used products ultimately creates a whole new level to the supply chain and, who knows, maybe even our retro Nokia mobile phones could make their way back into the cycle.

 

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