The Sigrid Göransson sustainability award to recycling of mining bits
The Sandvik Sustainability Award in Memory of Sigrid Göransson 2022 was awarded to the team behind a unique circular mining bits solution. Not only does the innovation turn waste into new products, it also creates job opportunities and reduces supply chain risks.
The winners behind this innovation are Petter Nilsen, Dean Kangleas, Gary Tully, Annegret Bicherl and Thomas Zimmerl in a joint cooperation between the two business areas Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions and Sandvik Machining Solutions. The award ceremony took place on June 1 and the medal was handed out by Sandvik CEO Stefan Widing.
“The recognition for the team to be awarded the Sigrid Göransson award makes us proud and happy. A safe and efficient extraction process increases our ability to take responsibility for our used products, support our customers' sustainability work and create local job opportunities,” says Petter Nilsen, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions.
Success has been realized through developing integrated innovation methods
Modern drill bits are produced of steel with tungsten inserts. After the drill bit is worn out, there is still lots of tungsten left. The material is difficult to recycle and the drills become waste to the customer.
The winning team has developed a process to separate tungsten inserts from the steel body through an inductive heating process where the vibration makes the tungsten inserts drop out. Sandvik buys back the used drills at the customer for separation and recycling.
The tungsten inserts are transported to Sandvik’s recycling facility, Wolfram Bergbau und Hütten, where they are processed with a method developed by Wolfram. The recycled material is as good as new and can be used for a full range of products.
“The need for circularity was clear, then success has been realized through developing integrated innovation methods with an entrepreneurial team spirit,” says Gary Tully, supply chain director at Wolfram.
The advantages are numerous: the customers get paid for their used drills and the need for virgin material is reduced. The tungsten inserts weigh a fraction of the entire drill which reduces transport and CO2 emissions. The separation process can be made locally, creating job opportunities. The circular material flow is positive for the environment and local communities and reduces the business risk of outside dependencies in the supply chain.
Sigrid Göransson was the granddaughter of Göran Fredrik Göransson, founder of Sandvik and the daughter of Anders Henrik Göransson, CEO of Sandvik. Sigrid made the company focus on social responsibility and improved working conditions at a time when that was rare.
In the name of Sigrid Göransson, Sandvik has launched an annual sustainability award to celebrate the best innovations within the company. It is an internal award praising our heritage of sustainability and community involvement. The prize will go to a solution that has had a measurable and lasting impact on environmental, economic or social sustainability at Sandvik or in local communities.