Blaser Swisslube’s first product in 1936 was a shoe polish sold door-to-door at local farmhouses, but today, the independent Swiss company is well-known for developing high-quality metalworking and grinding fluids. Customers all over the world use Blaser’s coolants to produce a range of parts — from tiny parts for watch-making and demanding parts for the medical industry, to huge structural elements for the aircraft industry and mass-produced critical automotive parts.
Since its founding by Willy Blaser in Switzerland, Blaser Swisslube has been a family-owned business, and second-generation Peter Blaser made the decision in 1973 to start producing metalworking fluids for industrial machining. This set the path for Blaser’s future success in the industry as a leader in coolant technology.
Blaser is one of the first companies that brought a bio-concept product to the market. The products of Blaser’s Blasocut line are 100-percent bactericide-free, therefore the products are skin- and environmentally friendly. In 1990, Blaser added ester oil-based products to its product line of water-miscible coolants. The line was named Vasco after the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama. Blaser extended its neat-oil product line at that same time, and solutions, especially for the gear manufacturing industry, were developed, tested, and refined.
Over the years, the company has adapted to the ever-changing processing conditions, such as machine, tool, and processing parameters, and the once-small business has grown into a global player serving over 60 countries all over the world. Third-generation Marc Blaser took the helm in 2011 as CEO of now approximately 600 employees worldwide.
Blaser has been active in the U.S. for more than 30 years. The sales office opened in 1981 followed by a production plant in Goshen, New York — the first plant outside of Switzerland and the location of Blaser Swisslube’s headquarters for North and South America.
To its customers, Blaser is proud to deliver tangible benefits with its “Liquid Tool.” In close cooperation with customers and with a holistic view of the manufacturing process, the company strives to fully exploit the potential of machines and tools by using the right cutting and grinding fluid, which then becomes a Liquid Tool.
“Liquid Tool means that we deliver more than just a coolant,” said Daniel Schär, head of Blaser’s product line management. “Blaser Swisslube’s goal is to optimize its customers’ manufacturing processes with the Liquid Tool and to improve their economic efficiency and productivity as well as the machining quality. Excellent products, customized services, competent experts, and our longtime experience in the metalworking industry back this promise.”
In terms of new gear hobbing technology, Blaser offers solutions to its customers and addresses their challenges for improved efficiency, increased tool life, and reduced cycle times. These can be accomplished with higher parameters, which cause higher machining temperatures.
“Blaser aims to improve these points in cooperation with our customers,” Schär said. “As higher parameters produce more heat in the machine, we have to find the optimal cutting fluid. With our product range of cutting fluids, we want to deliver an added value where higher cutting parameters in combination with lowest risk of smoke formation are achievable.”
While gear hobbing operations can also be done dry, especially for mass production, achieving convincing results requires the latest state-of-the-art machines and tools in addition to high cutting speeds for higher productivity. According to Schär, the German automotive industry is the leading segment in dry machining.
However, Schär said that dry machining reduces the flexibility for small- and medium-sized companies, and it is an investment decision that may not be a viable option for all gear manufacturers.
“If you try to get the best out of your machines and tools by adapting the machining parameters and looking for the optimal cutting oil, you have a great chance to increase your output in a sustainable manner,” Schär said.
Blaser also addressed considerations with regard to technological advancements with gear grinding, which is important for the quality of the gears where there is a risk of overheating.
“We have experienced where not every gear grinding machine is working on its maximal possible parameters yet,” Schär said. “This looks like hidden potential to me. If it were possible to increase the parameters, this would lead to reduced cycle times.”
Schär added that for optimal gear grinding conditions, the optimal grinding oil adapted to the current grinding condition is indispensable. Blaser has created optimal conditions to run generic machining tests in its Technology Center at its headquarters in Hasle-Rüegsau, Switzerland. The Technology Center is unique in the industry and allows Blaser to test recently developed cutting and grinding fluids of an incredibly diverse range of materials, as well as conduct close-to-reality simulations of production situations.
“All Blaser Swisslube customers and partners profit from the conducted studies,” Schär said. “And we work on very specific processes closely with our customers to provide our coolant solutions in target segments. In cooperation with our lead users, we are able to identify key values at a very early stage.”