80 Years of Blaser Swisslube

“Serving comes before earning” – This is the customer-focused corporate value under which the Swiss lubricant manufacturer Blaser Swisslube is celebrating its 80th company anniversary.

Schweiz / Hasle-Ruegsau Neue Laborräumlichkeiten. © Meinrad Schade / Blaser Swisslube AG

It all started back in 1936 with “Blaha-Glanz” – a shoe polish. Since then, the company has grown from a small regional business into a global player. In the company’s own Technology Centre, the focus is squarely on research and development. This focus has resulted in a breakthrough being achieved in a current civil aviation project.

The first successful product produced by the former Blaser+Co. AG was Blaha-Glanz, a water-repellent shoe polish that was sold on the surrounding farms. Willy Blaser laid the foundation for today’s company group in the crisis year 1936. As a 20-year-old who had been unable to find work in the painting trade he had trained in, he founded a one-man company in his parent’s house in Hasle-Rüegsau where he produced lubricants and chemical-technical products especially for agriculture. Perseverance was the order of the day due to the shortage of raw materials during the war years.

The real upturn in the company’s fortunes began after the war when the customer base expanded to include besides farmers, mechanical workshops, the construction industry, the wood and metal processing industries and the first industrial factories. “With the same pioneering spirit that was present when the company was founded, tireless work was done to continue to expand the company, to increase and modernise the manufacturing facilities, as well as to increase the level of research and development,” explains the grandson and current Managing Director, Marc Blaser.

Step-by-step to becoming a global player
Fast forward to 1974 when Peter Blaser, (Chairman of the Board of Directors since 2010), picked up the baton to become the second generation of the Blaser family to manage the company. As a trained mechanical engineer, he introduced and added metal processing in the company’s repertoire as well as establishing and expanding the sales network in Europe and further afield. Owing to the international orientation and ambitions of the company, the corporate name was also changed to Blaser Swisslube during this time. In 1981, Blaser Swisslube Inc. was founded in Goshen, New York. In 1995 and 1996, subsidiaries in Germany, the Czech Republic and Japan followed. Today, Blaser has its own subsidiaries and agents close to its customers in around 60 countries across the globe and employs a total of 600 employees – 300 of whom are employed in Switzerland.

From metalworking fluid to Liquid Tool
The company continued unabated to develop its expertise in all things to do with metalworking fluids. This involved expanding and refining its research and development facilities to what, today, are the largest of its kind in the industry. With a surface area of around 3,500 m2, 70 chemists, microbiologists and laboratory technicians work on designing and developing coolants of the highest quality and, adopting true continuous improvement principles, analyse metalworking fluid samples from customers around the world.
In order to be able to offer customers an effective added value when it comes to machining, the company inaugurated its very own Technology Centre in 2009. Marc Blaser: “Our Technology Centre is truly state-of-the-art and enables us to carry out stringent tests on new metalworking products and system solutions. It also ensures that we are able to work in partnership with customers helping them improve their productivity, economic efficiencies and machining quality by identifying and developing metalworking fluid solutions that are tailored exactly to their needs, which we call a Liquid Tool”.

“The ability to work collaboratively and consultatively with customers is a key strength of ours, and the continued investment in our research and development facilities provides us with distinct technical (and competitive) advantages.”

Doubling of the tool life
In a recent project, Blaser experts in the Technology Centre impressively optimised the tool life. A renowned partner filled the role of international supplier and manufactured aircraft parts from a high-strength titanium alloy. In the ultra-modern Technology Centre in Hasle-Rüegsau, a range of tests were started with the goal of optimising the tool life during pocket machining.

The specialists at Blaser reconstructed the partner’s machining environment and employed the same machining parameters and data using a DMG Mori DMU 65 mono block machining centre, and began comprehensive tests employing trochoidal milling strategies.
The tests compared machining performance (specifically tool wear) when using a conventional metalworking fluid against an optimal metalworking fluid specifically adapted to the partner’s needs.
The series of width of wear tests were conducted up to 0.30 mm.

The results were excellent. Using the optimally adapted coolant from Blaser Swisslube, 11 instead of just five pockets could be milled until the wear on the tool forced the processing to be stopped. The result achieved was confirmed in various series of tests, and corresponds to a doubling of the tool life.


SCHUNK beteiligt sich an Greifsystemspezialist AGS

Mit einer 49-prozentigen Beteiligung an der AGS Automation Greifsysteme Schwope GmbH aus Bergisch Gladbach erweitert der Kompetenzführer für Spanntechnik und Greifsysteme Schunk sein Greifsystemportfolio für die kunststoffverarbeitende Industrie sowie für anwendungsspezifische Greiferlösungen.


„Als Member of Schunk ist AGS künftig ein wichtiger Baustein innerhalb der Schunk Unternehmensgruppe. Mit seiner Agilität und seiner fundierten Erfahrung wird AGS wichtige Impulse liefern und neue Möglichkeiten am Markt eröffnen“, betont Henrik A. Schunk, geschäftsführender Gesellschafter der Schunk GmbH & Co. KG anlässlich der Vertragsunterzeichnung. Auch Marc Schwope, geschäftsführender Gesellschafter von AGS, sieht in der Partnerschaft große Chancen: „Sowohl Schunk als auch AGS zählen zu den Pionieren für Greifsysteme und arbeiten seit vielen Jahren erfolgreich zusammen. Aus der wirtschaftlichen Beteiligung von Schunk ergeben sich für beide Unternehmen, vor allem aber auch für die Kunden unserer Häuser erhebliche Synergien.“

Mit einem Erfahrungsschatz aus über 25 Jahren zählt AGS zu den Pionieren in der Automation. Seit kurzem ist das familiengeführte Unternehmen nun Teil der SchunkUnternehmensgruppe.

Die AGS Automation Greifsysteme Schwope GmbH beschäftigt 35 Mitarbeiter. Auf einer Gesamtfläche von 1.200 qm fertigt das familiengeführte Unternehmen unter anderem kundenspezifische Komplett-Greifsysteme für die kunststoffverarbeitende Industrie. Die flexibel einsetzbaren AGS- und PreciGrip-Greiferbaukästen zählen zu den bekannten Modulprogrammen für Greifsysteme am Markt. Nach Aussage der beiden Gesellschafter ergänzen diese das mit 11.000 Standardkomponenten weltweit größte Spanntechnik- und Greifsysteme-Sortiment von Schunk ideal. 1945 von Friedrich Schunk als mechanische Werkstatt gegründet entwickelte sich Schunk unter dessen Sohn Heinz-Dieter Schunk zum Kompetenz- und Weltmarktführer für Spanntechnik und Greifsysteme. Heute wird das Unternehmen von den Enkeln des Unternehmensgründers, den Geschwistern Henrik A. Schunk und Kristina I. Schunk, in der dritten Generation geführt. Über 2.700 Mitarbeiter in acht Werken und 30 eigenen Ländergesellschaften sowie Vertriebspartner in über 50 Ländern gewährleisten eine intensive Marktpräsenz.


CuFlon Processing with the ProtoLaser R: Ultrashort-pulse prototyping laser for challenging high-frequency applications

For RF applications, the shorter the wavelength, the greater the effect of geometric deviations on the board. The LPKF ProtoLaser R uses an ultrashort-pulse laser for particularly precise and gentle processing.

“CuFlon” is the name of the high-performance base material offered by US company Polyflon for use in challenging RF applications. The dielectric material is a pure PTFE; the coating is produced in a separate process with precise coating thickness control. This combination yields high homogeneity, breakdown strength, and resistance to environmental factors.
Up until now, these substrates have been structured exclusively using etching processes. The high precision achievable by laser structuring without chemical etching processes has been demonstrated in an extensive series of tests performed by application engineers at LPKF Laser & Electronics AG.
The LPKF ProtoLaser R laboratory laser system was used in the tests. This laser system has an ultrashort-pulse laser, an output power of 4 W, and a pulse width of one picosecond for processing via cold ablation. The extremely short laser pulse evaporates a small amount of material so quickly that no heat is transferred to the surrounding material. Thus, thin or temperature-sensitive layers can be processed with high precision without any damage to the surrounding material. The laser spot size is a mere 15 µm and powerful system software is included.

A tricky layout on an area of 15.2 x 6.2 mm: narrow traces at a 45° angle, curves, and extremely small gaps. The sample produced by LPKF has dimensions of just 15.2 x 6.2 mm, but it contains a number of critical passages. It is 0.6 mm thick and coated with 18 µm of copper. The LPKF tech paper entitled “Structuring CuFlon on LPKF ProtoLaser R” considers the structuring results for selected elements. The tech paper can be downloaded for free at lpkf.de/knowledge-center

Trade fair for professional 3D printing in Switzerland: All expectations exceeded

The first trade fair for additive manufacturing in Switzerland demonstrated very clearly what can be achieved through additive manufacturing today and enabled a unique transfer of knowledge.
Both exhibitors and visitors confirmed a convincing performance.


“We were able to pick up on a trend with the AM Expo”, explains René Ziswiler, Trade Fair Director at the AM Expo. The pleasingly large number of visitors and the exclusively positive feedback from exhibitors demonstrate that the AM Expo has recognised a need of the industry.

A trend becomes palpable
Over a two-day period, around 70 exhibitors presented the projects they have already implemented in the marketplace to clearly show that the ground-breaking technology of additive manufacturing has well and truly arrived in serial production. The close link between the AM Expo and practical applications was a main driver behind the mobilisation of 1,700 visitors. They were able to obtain detailed information on the application examples presented in the Showcase Forum and discuss them with experts in the field.

AM Expo raises awareness
Embracing additive manufacturing in such an illustrative way was also much appreciated by the exhibitors. “I found the highly qualified visitors most convincing. We were able to discuss concrete projects with them that we will now follow up on”, says a satisfied Thomas Teufel of
German company Teufel Prototypen. Shop talk characterised the atmosphere in the trade fair hall. “The visitors displayed great interest right from the start and approached us with concrete questions”, summarises Martin Graf, CEO of admantec.

Thus, the AM Expo was able to raise the all-important awareness that will enable beginners and professionals alike to advance in the
field of additive manufacturing. Accordingly, René Ziswiler is happy with the start of the AM Expo. “My expectations have been more than exceeded and I am convinced that the AM Expo represents a first step towards creating a cross-industry AM community.”


Micronora 2016 : la foire aux innovations microtechniques

Tous les aficionados de micro et nanotechnologies dédiées à l’industrie médicale ne manqueront pas la visite du salon Micronora qui ouvrira ses portes du 27 au 30 septembre 2016 à Besançon (France).


Plus de 850 exposants leur proposeront des solutions adaptées à des besoins de plus en plus pointus. Pour ne pas dire des véritables casse-tête techniques. En effet, l’industrie médicale est toujours à la recherche de solutions pour réaliser des instruments, des prothèses et des implants aux caractéristiques techniques extrêmes. Les moyens de production évoluent constamment ainsi que les nouvelles technologies, comme celles de fabrication additive et, sont plébiscitées par les fabricants d’implants et de prothèses pour leur capacité à affronter des produits dont la complexité est quasi infinie. Micronora 2016 sera une bonne occasion pour tester l’étendue de l’offre dans ce domaine.
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Micronora 2016: the trade fair for microtechnological innovations
Fans of micro and nano technology in the medical sector will not want to miss the Micronora trade fair, which will open its doors from 27 to 30 September 2016 in Besançon, France.

Over 850 exhibitors will be on hand to offer solutions adapted to their increasingly specific requirements and genuine technical conundrums. The medical sector is continually seeking solutions for producing instruments, prostheses and implants with demanding technical characteristics. The means of production are constantly evolving, as are new technologies such as additive manufacturing, and are popular with manufacturers of implants and prostheses for their ability to cope with products of almost infinite complexity. Micronora 2016 will be a good opportunity to test the extent of what’s on offer in this sector.
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Micronora 2016: Die Messe der mikrotechnischen Innovationen
Alle Anhänger von im Dienste der medizintechnischen Industrie stehenden Mikro- und Nanotechnologien werden sich keinesfalls den Besuch der Micronora-Messe entgehen lassen, die ihre Tore vom 27. bis 30. September 2016 in Besançon (Frankreich) öffnen wird.

Über 850 Aussteller bieten Lösungen an, die immer präziseren Bedürfnissen gerecht werden, welche den Entwicklern oft Kopfzerbrechen bereiten. Die medizintechnische Industrie ist nämlich stets auf der Suche nach Lösungen, um Instrumente, Prothesen und Implantate herzustellen, die extreme technische Eigenschaften erfüllen. Die Produktionsmittel werden ständig weiterentwickelt, genau wie die neuen Technologien, wie beispielsweise die additive Fertigung. Diese Technologien erfreuen sich bei den Herstellern von Implantaten und Prothesen größter Beliebtheit, da sich damit Produkte von nahezu unbegrenzter Komplexität in Angriff nehmen lassen. Die Micronora 2016 wird eine willkommene Gelegenheit sein, um sich eine Übersicht über das umfangreiche Angebot in diesem Bereich zu verschaffen.
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Légende : Le cœur artificiel CARMAT qui était exposé sur le zoom de la dernière édition du salon Micronora est un bel exemple de convergences des microtechniques dans le domaine médical. (Source : Micronora / P. Guenat)
Caption: The CARMAT artificial heart, which was exhibited at the Zoom event at the last Micronora trade fair is a prime example of the convergence of microtechnology in the medical sector. (Source: Micronora / P. Guenat)
Legende: Das  beim Zoom der letzten Micronora-Messe ausgestellte Kunstherz von CARMAT ist ein schönes Beispiel für das Zusammenspiel der Mikrotechniken im medizinischen Bereich. (Quelle: Micronora / P. Guenat)

Renishaw unveils the new XM-60 multi-axis calibrator

Renishaw, the world-leading metrology specialist, exhibited its new XM-60 multi-axis calibrator at IMTS 2016, Chicago, USA and AMB 2016, Stuttgart, Germany. The XM-60 is capable of measuring all six degrees of freedom from a single set-up, in any orientation for linear axes. It offers significant improvement in simplicity and time saving over conventional laser measurement techniques.


As demands on component tolerances increase, manufacturers are now required to consider all error sources from the machines producing parts; angular errors as well as linear and straightness errors. XM-60 captures all these errors in a single set-up. Designed for the machine tool market, the XM-60 multi-axis calibrator complements Renishaw’s calibration product line which includes the XL-80 laser system, XR20-W rotary axis calibrator and QC20-W wireless ballbar. The XM-60 uses the XC-80 environmental compensator to correct for environmental conditions.

The XM-60 multi-axis calibrator provides a highly accurate laser system that incorporates unique technology with a patented optical roll measurement and fibre optic launch system. The compact launch unit is remote from the laser unit, reducing heat effects at the point of measurement. It can be mounted directly to the machine on its side, upside down and even on its back, which is particularly beneficial in areas with difficult machine access.

Reducing uncertainties of measurement is paramount for any user. The Renishaw XM-60 has been designed to measure machine errors directly, reducing the inaccuracies which can result from complex mathematics used in some alternative measurement techniques. Direct measurement makes comparison before and after machine adjustments a quick and simple task with users’ existing part programs for XL-80 measurement. The receiver is fully wireless and powered by rechargeable batteries, avoiding trailing cables during machine moves which could cause inaccuracies or break the laser beam during measurement.

The performance of each XM-60 multi-axis calibrator is traceable to international standards and every unit is also certified before shipment. This provides users with the confidence that their system will deliver the specified accuracy day-after-day where it counts – in the workplace.

To support the release of the XM-60 multi-axis calibrator, a new version of Renishaw’s CARTO software suite will be released to guide users through the workflow of the measurement process.


World PM2016: Arburg to showcase trends in powder injection moulding

At the “World PM2016 Congress and Exhibition” to be held from 9 to 13 October in Hamburg, Germany, Arburg will demonstrate the cost-efficient production of smartphone housings. The innovative powder injection moulding application implemented jointly with partner BASF, which will be shown on a hydraulic Allrounder 470 S, is a production-efficient and cost-effective alternative to conventional machining processes.

HyperFocal: 0

“The booming international smartphone market offers huge potential for powder injection moulding,” says Arburg PIM expert Hartmut Walcher. “We’re receiving more and more inquiries from this segment at international trade fairs. As a result, we’ve now established a joint venture with BASF for an innovative PIM application that will be seen for the first time at the World PM2016 fair. This enables significant cost savings in comparison with conventional machining processes.”

Exhibition: innovative smartphone application
A hydraulic Allrounder 470 S with a clamping force of 1,100 kN and PIM equipment will produce back housings for smartphones in Hamburg. Catamold 17-4 PH Plus from BASF is used as the feedstock. In addition to the back housing, the changeable hot-runner mould featuring liquid temperature control is also designed to produce a closed or four-part frame for smartphone housings.
At the World PM2016 trade fair, a green compact for a smartphone back housing in an Arburg design will be produced in a cycle time of around one minute. In order to minimise part distortion at a wall thickness of only around one millimetre, the mould temperature is dynamically controlled in the subsequent sintering process to ensure a constant green density throughout the entire part. The reason for dynamic mould temperature control is the significantly higher thermal conductivity of the feedstock compared to thermoplastics. A linear Multilift Select robotic system gently removes the moulded green compacts and sets them down on a slide rail.

Congress: presentation on quality optimisation
Christian Knöpfle, Application Technology Consultant at Arburg, will speak on the results of his scientific investigations into the quality optimisation of MIM parts at the Congress accompanying the trade fair on 10 October 2016 (“Technical Session 5”, 2:00 to 3:40 p.m.). The presentation will cover the effects of the process parameters injection speed, holding pressure, mould temperature, cavity evacuation and gate geometry on the quality of MIM parts.

Arburg: More than 50 years of PIM experience
Injection moulding machine manufacturer Arburg has more than 50 years of experience in powder injection moulding and has produced far in excess of 1,000 PIM machines for a broad range of applications and industries, including the automotive, jewellery and watch industries, as well as the IT and dental sectors. The company’s expertise ranges from feedstock preparation and the complex manufacturing of micro-PIM parts through to cost-effective component assembly integration and the design and implementation of complete turnkey systems. In addition, in addition to injection moulding, all upstream and downstream production steps such as material preparation, debinding, sintering and part analyses can also be tested under practical conditions at its in-house PIM laboratory.


Pierre-Yves Schmid, publisher