Green Carbide – making innovation sustainable

Green Carbide

Some companies consider ‘sustainability’ to be just a popular buzzword. In CERATIZIT’s corporate approach, however, sustainability is an established pillar, so this is a field where we make every effort to point the way through innovation. An outstandingly high recycling rate and conscientious energy management are just two examples of this. Now we are going one step further in launching CT-GS20Y, the first cemented carbide on the market with a product carbon footprint that can be calculated – our cemented carbide that is green at heart.

  • Responsible use of cobalt and tungsten resources:

    Resource efficiency and low consumption of raw materials, recovering secondary raw materials from recycled carbide cutting tools and the development of innovative solutions with a minimal ecological footprint – all these are for us a top priority.

    Green carbide

Cemented carbide and the components and tools produced from it are precious as they contain a high proportion of cobalt (Co) and tungsten (W), metals that are in great demand. Extracting cobalt and tungsten from ore is very costly and energy-intensive. To obtain one ton of tungsten, 250 tons of ore have to be mined and processed. So resource efficiency and low consumption of raw materials are our first concern. In parallel to this, secondary raw materials must be recovered from recycled carbide cutting tools over the product lifecycle so they can be used again.


At CERATIZIT we constantly work on the development of innovative products which will allow our customers progressively to increase the efficiency of their machining processes. At the same time we are always looking for solutions with a low ecological footprint, something we have now accomplished with CT-GS20Y, our first ‘green carbide’. This combines the performance of a premium carbide grade with a deliberately sustainable production process.  


Carbide recycling conserves resources

Over 99% of the new carbide grade CT-GS20Y consists of high-quality secondary raw materials – that is to say recycled carbide recovered from decomissioned milling cutters, drills and solid carbide tools. But even that was not enough for CERATIZIT. In addition, we ensure low-CO2 production through low-emission production processes and energy sources, as well as by consistently short transport routes throughout the entire process chain. The result is an unprecedented low CO2 footprint of 2.6 kg of CO2 per kg of carbide for a premium carbide grade with maximum performance. By using this carbide for their cutting tools, CERATIZIT customers as well can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of their products. And there are further positive effects for our customers as well: as we use recycled cemented carbide, they benefit from stable prices and reliability of supply – without losing even a micron (µ ) in terms of performance or repeatability.


A sustainable carbide with convincing performance

10% submicron grades, with a tungsten grain size ranging from 0.5 to 0.8 µm, account for 70 per cent of drilling and milling tools in solid carbide and represent the most important grade group. So it made sense first of all to launch on the market a sustainable grade for this wide field of applications. The decision gains support from the outcome of in-depth milling tests where CT-GS20Y was compared with well-established premium carbide grades and a downcycled grade produced by our own company – which yielded excellent results. The new CT-GS20Y Green Carbide grade at once scored results which were in some cases better than the premium grade, and always clearly superior to the downcycled product.

Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) as a sustainability index

Can sustainability actually be proved in the cutting tool industry? What key indicator is meaningful for the sustainability of cemented carbide? The initial analysis and verification of product-related CO2 footprints is a rather elaborate process. The Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) quantifies the greenhouse gases generated during production and transport of products and product groups. This factor enables objective comparisons to be made, while highlighting potential for improvement throughout the production chain. Analysis and calculation of the PCF for CT-GS20Y is based on the computation of the Corporate Carbon Footprint (CCF) for CERATIZIT's Reutte production site, which has been verified by Quality Austria to ISO 14064-1:2019 standards.


How can a company develop and produce sustainable cemented carbide? There are various answers to this question. Options include an intensive focus on the preparation and processing of secondary raw materials, using sustainably generated energy, always keeping the plant technology up to date and continuously working on the efficiency of the individual processes in the value chain. This is not something that can happen overnight. In this case it yields dividends that for decades the CERATIZIT Group has repeatedly put its production processes, from the powder to the finished product to the test. This is why we make a point of relying on the use of secondary raw materials, in this case recycled cemented carbide.

Responsible CO2-neutral packaging

In partnership with a local cardboard producer we have developed an innovative packaging system, which is ideal for heavy carbide rods in terms of product safety and handling. With the help of internal and external bandaging, the carbide rods are excellently protected against slippage. Special tear strips allow the packaging to be opened conveniently and make it tamper-proof. In addition, when an open package is stored at the customer’s, it can immediately be seen whether it is is a full package or a partial unit. Using ecological cardboard is not just the ideal solution for product safety. CERATIZIT’s customers also stand to benefit – cardboard can be recycled without any problem, and in many countries you even get money back when paper and cardboard waste is returned to recycling centres.

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