“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.
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.