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Waste Not
HP Helps Automakers Reduce Hazmats, Increase Recycling

Hewlett Packard has agreed to continue development of a database used by nearly three dozen car manufacturers to eliminate harmful substances from their automotive supply chains.

The IT company will continue to support the International Material Data System (IMDS), a shared service that enables automotive manufacturers and more than 100,000 companies in the vehicle supply chain to meet regulations on hazardous materials.

Including such well-known automotive brands as BMW, Daimler, Ford, Porsche, Volvo and VW, the initiative supplies more than 40 million data sheets listing the details of every substance involved in the car manufacturing process, helping to prevent the use of heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, mercury and hexavalent chromium, while ensuring that reportable substances are declared for recycling.

Although initially developed as a response to the European Union’s End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive aimed at reducing waste, the IMDS has since become the global standard for reporting material content across the automotive industry, providing a medium of information exchange between car manufacturers, their suppliers and their suppliers’ suppliers about the materials used in all parts of a vehicle.

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“Previously, OEMs all had their own lists of prohibited and reportable substances, which made it difficult to identify them in the supply chain,” said Matthew Griffin, representative for Jaguar Land Rover and speaker for the IMDS Steering Committee. “The IMDS provides a standardized format for exchanging material information throughout the manufacturing process, making it easier for the automotive industry to comply with legal requirements in a cost-efficient manner.”

HP has agreed to host the IMDS for at least another five years and says it will help car manufacturers to achieve the ELV Directive’s goal of recycling 95 percent of the mass of each vehicle sold by 2015.

The auto industry is currently determining how to meet new reporting requirements from the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding conflict minerals. In October, Tanya Bolden of the Auto Industry Action Group (AIAG) wrote about a new web-based, data management tool and the need for greater collaboration.

@Bart_King is a freelance writer and communications consultant. @mikehower contributed.


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