Circularity of Grinding Waste with SKF

Swarf recycling
Hydrometallurgy
Grinding swarf
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Industry

Industrials

Revenue

2021

€7.2B

Employees

2021

40,000+

Countries

2021

130+

About

SKF is a world-leader in rolling bearings and related technologies. As a large industrial player, the work towards more sustainable production and processing operations is constant and ambitious, with the goal of limiting the negative impact that we leave on the environment. SKF’s sustainability goals include reusage and recycling of 80% of the swarf generated in production. Now, SKF is looking for solutions that improves and effectivizes the briquetting, cleaning and/or collection of swarf waste from the grinding operations. This would not only make the production process more sustainable, but also help turn traditional cost positions into revenue streams.

Opportunity overview

SKF’s metal grinding operations generate swarf - a type of debris in the form of a fine powdered metal residue. The waste of this kind and the sustainable management of it is a common challenge for industrial companies, which engage in metal grinding processes. Swarf is many times classified as a hazardous waste, which also leads to increased costs in the disposal, adding to the complexity of the waste handling processes. However – the swarf contains around 80% metal content – hence a large opportunity to create value for the recipient of the swarf if separated from contaminations. To align with the stated sustainability goals and to limit the associated costs, we are looking for innovative solutions to improve grinding waste management.

Currently, around 60% of the swarf waste is being reused and recycled in various ways, with the rest being disposed of into landfill or incinerated. The disposal of the swarf is executed through third party waste management companies, which can limit flexibility in deliveries/pick-ups that lead to complications in where to temporarily store the waste. In several cases, the receiving company has stopped the inbound of swarf on short notice. There is a strong interest in novel solutions that can help SKF improve the circularity of their waste management to help meet their ambitious sustainability targets and contribute to making heavy industry more intelligent and clean.

Your opportunity with SKF

SKF is the world's largest bearing manufacturer, with 17,000 distributors in 130 countries. As a leader in our field, we can offer you a large reference for your solution and a chance to make a real impact at a large scale. We are constantly looking for innovative solutions that can help us make our production processes even more effective, both in terms of the environmental footprint and the associated cost structure. The applications could be used either on-site at SKF or through a third party network. We would like to work together and share our industry knowledge to provide you with valuable learnings enabling your company further opportunities within the industry.

Focus Areas

Examples of solutions we’re interested in

Swarf recycling

The disposal costs for the waste can be accounted for in the millions of euros, hence a change in perspective of going from buying a service for disposal to selling the swarf could provide business value while limiting the carbon footprint.

Refined swarf

Filtered swarf includes a significant share of excess oil and other liquids from the grinding process, which brings limitations to the management of the waste. We are looking for novel ways to separate the oil from the swarf, to make the waste non-hazardous and limit the risks and subsequently the cost of disposal.

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