Hygienic ball valves of stainless steel: Eisele presents the best of two worlds in one solution

Connectors and shut-off valves for compressed air, gases and liquids in the food processing industry have to be easy to flush and clean. Eisele presents an optimal solution for these requirements with a robust and simple design.


Eisele now offers hygienic ball valves of stainless steel. The time-proven ball valves were originally developed for use in painting stations and are therefore completely free of dead zones, easy to clean and therefore also ideal for hygiene applications in the food processing industry. The ball itself is permanently enclosed and sealed by two PTFE half-liners; the inside of the ball valve and the ball seats are completely free of dead zones and micro-machined to minimal roughness. The stainless steel ball valves have 1/4-inch threads on both ends. This provides a dead zone-free interface to Eisele FREELINE connectors or enables direct mounting in installations and lines. The use of a ball valve with the FREELINE combines the best of two worlds in one completely dead zone-free modular kit system.

All FREELINE parts with media contact are produced in stainless steel 1.4404. The FREELINE comprises the dead zone-free tube connectors of the Eisele series 1600 and the convenient joint-free connectors of the 3800 series. They are ideal for connecting tubes of PTFE, PA and FEP as well as for dead zone-free connection of stainless steel pipes. The combination of ball valve and FREELINE connectors can be used for compressed air, vacuum, gases and liquid media in hygiene-sensitive applications or sterile environments. The design makes it impossible for product residue to accumulate. FREELINE connectors feature advanced holding technology that ensures a reliable seal up to 25 bar and 80 °C.

Eisele offers its hygienic design stainless steel ball valves for its American sales partner Hosco Fittings LLC exclusively in Europe. In return Hosco markets the dead zone-free FREELINE connectors of the Waiblingen-based company in the USA.


Alprobotic delivers first resist-mask-free sanding and microbead polishing unit for dental implant surface finishing

Alprobotic, the global expert in surface finishing processes for high-added-value parts, announced today that it delivered a completely robotic resist-mask-free microbead polishing unit to Spanish dental-implant market leader Klockner Implant System.


Each day, the Alprobotic unit will process 50 different products for total throughput of 1,000 implants per day. The unit was designed to meet the medical industry’s particularly stringent biocompatibility, repeatability, and quality requirements.

Klockner Implant System chose the Alprobotic microbead unit for its unique capacity to support a resist-mask-free process. Previously, Klockner Implant System manufacturing processes included making resist masks to protect the implant flange; human operators had to position and remove the masks. The Alprobotic unit eliminates these steps, substantially reducing sand consumption. ROI is expected within two-and-a-half years.

A repeatable, programmable process
Alprobotic’s precision unit ensures optimal surface-roughness (Ra) consistency and a level of quality that far exceeds what can be achieved using manual processes. The unit is also easy to program, for total control of sanding distance from nozzle, pressure, impact speed, and particle trajectory. The robotic unit automatically changes tools when switching from one type of implant to another.

Comprehensive production-order management
The resist-mask-free sanding unit is compatible with 24/7 plant operations, offering total throughput of 1,600 implants per day. It can also be integrated with quality control, laser marking, and anodizing processes and can handle the various stages of the qualification process (IQ, OQ, and PQ). Additionally, the unit can export end-of-production-order data, for seamless integration into fully-computerized plants.

Medical industry accounts for 80% of Alprobotic’s business
The medical industry—mainly orthopedic, spinal, and dental implant manufacturers—accounts for 80% of Alprobotic’s revenue, with customers around the globe. Alprobotic is currently in advanced-stage negotiations with manufacturers in Switzerland and Germany for turnkey spinal implant finishing shop projects.


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