Sumitomo Electric Hardmetal to Cover Tungsten Procurement by Recycling

Sumitomo Electric Hardmetal, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Electric Industry (SEI) to manufacture cutting tools, plans to use recycled tungsten for all cemented carbide tools sold in Japanese market. Tungsten is the main material for cemented carbide tools. The company collects recycled tungsten mainly at a recycling plant jointly established by Sumitomo Electric Hardmetal, A.L.M.T. Corp., SEI’s another subsidiary, and Nagoya University. The recycling plant’s output is expected to reach 25 tonnes per month within fiscal 2011 ending in March 2012. Meanwhile, Axismateria, SEI’s another subsidiary, will start tungsten recycling business at around 5 tonnes per month. Additional 10 tonnes of recycled tungsten supply is committed to third parties.

The joint recycling plant was established inside A.L.M.T. Corp’s Toyama plant in Japan along the five-year industry-academic-government project by fiscal 2011 ending in March 2012 supported with the governmental subsidy. Their unique chemical method enables separate collection of tungsten trioxide, cobalt and tungsten from used cemented carbide tools at lower cost than the conventional recycling method.

Axismateria is the joint company between Sumitomo Electric Hardmetal and A.L.M.T. Corp. to manufacture cemented carbide mother alloy for cutting tools. Axismateria plans to build a new alloy powder factory inside the headquarters plant by June 2012 and to start recycling of used cemented carbide tools inside the new factory. Axismateria will adopt a conventional tungsten recycling method.

Adding recycled tungsten supply from third-parties, Sumitomo Electric Hardmetal will become able to procure recycled tungsten at total 40 tonnes per month. This volume is same as Sumitomo Electric Hardmetal’s present consumption of primary tungsten for all cemented carbide tools sold in Japanese market.