Project duration: 22 March 2016 – 22 March 2019


Given concerns about the possible reclassification of cobalt as a carcinogen, this project aims to find a substitute to cobalt that is feasible to use in cemented carbide tools. Cemented carbide tools are widely used in mining and manufacturing industries. Accordingly, the objectives of this project are to:

  • Develop production and quality control processes to manufacture cobalt-free cemented carbide tools
  • Test the performance of these tools in customers’ mining operations and manufacturing processes

Our intent is that customer firms can straightforwardly substitute their existing tools – without the need for investments in new equipment or changes to their ongoing production and maintenance programmes.

The solution (technology)

Our solution comprises of:

  • An iron-nickel alloy design
  • Know-how about the electro-mechanical properties of this iron-nickel alloy, also when it is formed into complex tool shapes
  • Know-how about sintering, specifically with respect to cemented carbide tool manufacturing and quality control processes
  • Transformation of these areas of know-how into manufacturing and quality control procedures for the industrial production of cemented carbide tools
  • Know-how about tool performance requirements with respect to specific customers’ given production and maintenance operations in mining and manufacturing


  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden (Lead Partner)
  • Epiroc Drilling Tools AB, Sweden
  • Epiroc Rock Drills AB, Sweden (Atlas Copco)
  • Freeport Cobalt Oy, Finland
  • Sandvik AB, Sweden
  • Sandvik Coromant AB, Sweden
  • Sandvik Machining Solutions AB, Sweden
  • Uppsala University, Sweden