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German automaker BMW AG said last week its press shop in Dingolfing is the company’s first-ever site to separate out and recycle aluminium sheet waste generated by the plant.
The plant, which is BMW’s largest, required a €6.5 million retrofit to accomplish the goal of fully recycling the entirety of its scrap aluminium waste, but the retrofit translates to a drop in CO2 emissions of 120 thousand tons per annum.
The plant’s new recycling equipment automatically separates out the aluminium portions of the metal waste generated by the dozen production presses on site by means of scrap chutes. The chutes then deposit the scrap aluminium on a trio of conveyor belts and are fed into a machine that presses the scraps into cubes.
In order to develop and implement the system, BMW teamed up with Atlanta aluminium recycler Novelis. Upon making the plant’s scrap aluminium into cubes, BMW ships the cubes to Novelis. In turn, Novelis melts the scrap aluminium cubes, combines the molten aluminium with various other metals, which produces aluminium alloy. The alloy made from BMW’s scrap aluminium is then sold to Novelis’s customers, many of whom operate in the automotive production sector.
Dingolfing manager Christoph Schröder says the system at his plant reflects BMW’s commitment to responsible sourcing and usage of the materials used in its vehicles.
“With the introduction of this system, we are strengthening our position as a global aluminum competence center in the company. At the same time, we take responsibility for the environment and the efficient use of raw materials in the supply chain.”
BMW noted that developing the process at Dingolfing served as a pilot program, allowing it to develop the process for use in other plants. The firm says the next plant to see such a system will be its light metal foundry in Landshut.
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