Produktion von Wolfram
Sustainability 15.07.2021 4 Min.

With a closed material cycle for production equipment made from hard metal, the BMW Group saves around seven tonnes of tungsten per year.

The BMW Group is consistently and responsibly implementing its comprehensive sustainability strategy. By recycling used drilling and milling inserts from production equipment, the BMW Group reduces its annual consumption of the conflict resource tungsten by seven tonnes. This new and sustainable material cycle is being implemented with immediate effect in all German and Austrian BMW plants.

In this way, energy consumption is reduced by 70% and CO2 emissions are cut by 60% compared to primary tungsten. The BMW Group is committed to preserving and – wherever possible – reusing valuable resources.

A responsible use of natural resources is an integral part of our sustainability targets. By implementing closed-looped systems, we will increase the proportion of recycled materials significantly by 2030 and reuse resources over and over. This applies to material used in vehicles, but also to all other value creation processes.
Dr. Andreas Wendt
Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Purchasing and Supplier Network

“Every gram counts”

Tungsten, a “conflict material”, is used in mobile phones, glow wires in light bulbs as well as for drilling and milling tools in vehicle production. As part of the new closed-looped material cycle, the BMW Group collects used drilling and milling inserts from its German and Austrian production plants to recycle them. The secondary tungsten is then used to make new drilling and assembly tools. The result: several tonnes of the hard metal are preserved, and valuable resources are protected,

Mining conflict materials such as tungsten are associated with violations of environmental and social standards. Another reason for implementing this initiative. Dr. Andreas Wendt: “With every gram of tungsten that does not need to be mined, we protect natural resources and reduce violations of environmental and social standards.” 

Scrap metal is turned into tools

Almost nine tonnes of scrap from spent hard-metal tools occur in the German and Austrian BMW Group plants every year. This scrap contains approximately seven tonnes of tungsten. From June 2021, the BMW Group is thus implementing measures for reusing this hard-metal scrap. The process produces secondary tungsten in powder form, which can then be used for making new equipment. The first tools from a pilot project are already in operation.

In addition, the BMW Group is stepping up its efforts to permanently increase the share of certified smelters in its transparent supply chain. To this end, the BMW Group conflict minerals team provides various training courses and support measures for its suppliers.

The BMW Group is a member of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) and promotes sustainable management of conflict minerals. In order to improve understanding of the processes in the mineral-processing sector, BMW Group Procurement visits selected European smelting works on an annual basis.


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