Tikomet Oy was founded in 1994 and the initial focus of the company was the market for tire studs which are used in Nordic winter tires to provide grip on ice and snow.
Since 1995 Tikomet has been employing the zinc process to produce tungsten carbide powders for the production of hardmetal pins for tire studs and until 2007 most of the sales went to this market.
The tungsten prices tripled in 2005 and have almost doubled since then. This dramatic price increase has created a renaissance for the zinc process and it has now become a very attractive recycling option also outside the tire stud market.
Tikomet responded to this market opportunity by building at Jyväskylä, Finland a new plant employing latest state-of-the-art technology for the recycling of hardmetal scrap by the zinc process. The inauguration of the 3 400 m2 plant took place in June 2008.
At the same time Tikomet targeted new applications for powders produced by the zinc process and successfully developed several new products so that today only a small part of the sales goes to the traditional tire stud market.
Today Tikomet operates the largest European production unit recycling hardmetal scrap by the zinc process and is the only European company offering in the open market tungsten carbide powders produced by zinc reclamation.
A key to the success of Tikomet has been the further development of an old process originally invented already in the 1970’s by professor Kiefer. Thanks to this work by Tikomet we are today able to produce by the zinc process tungsten carbide-cobalt alloy powders which are the best in the market in terms of chemical purity and powder characteristics so that our products can now be used in applications where it was earlier considered impossible to use powders produced by zinc reclamation.
Key pieces of equipment used in the production have been developed and built in-house by Tikomet technicians and further improvements in the technology are being pursued by our R&D. Thanks to a well equipped laboratory Tikomet is also able to carry out extensive application research where the addition of zinc reclaim tungsten carbide powders to virgin raw materials and the effect of such additions on the processing and properties of hardmetal is being investigated.
In the future recycling will play a more and more important role in our efforts to conserve natural resources, save energy and reduce the environmental impact of industry.
The strength of the zinc process is in the recycling high quality scrap generated in the production of new hardmetal products or in the recycling of clean and well sorted end-of-life tools collected from end users, but due to the low level of technology in the past the full potential of the process has not been realized. The process development work carried out at Tikomet has changed this.
Tikomet is committed to promoting the zinc process as a cost efficient and environmentally friendly recycling option to hardmetal producers and looks forward to working with customers to allow them to benefit from the advantages provided by our technology.
Effect of zinc reclaim powder additions on hardmetal properties:
Coarse grain virgin WC +
- Density 14,46 g/cm³
- Hardness 1296 HV10
- Coercivity 91 Oe
60 % coarse grain virgin WC +
40 % coarse grain virgin zinc reclaim +10% Co
- Density 14,43 g/cm³
- Hardness 1310 HV10
- Coercivity 93 Oe