Maintenance of quality machining is instrumental in optimising productivity and operational efficiency of any business entity. Switzerland-based Blaser Swisslube has been playing a key role in helping industry segments to select coolants suitable for their manufacturing processes and drive savings using their technical prowess. Auto Tech Review met up with Patrick Mathys, Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, Blaser Swisslube (L), and Punit Gupta, Managing Director, Blaser Swisslube India (R), to know more about its cooling solutions, and growth potential in the Indian market, among others.
CUSTOMISED LIQUID TOOL
Metal working fluid accounts for only 0.5 % of machining costs; however, it affects 99.5 % of the overall production costs. Liquid Tool is a DNA analysis method for conducting faster feedback on metal working fluid condition in use to save time and money. The company claims that a coolant can become a Liquid Tool if all aspects are taken into consideration with regards to machine properties and performance to offer right solutions.
Mathys said Liquid Tool starts with the situation analysis at the customer‘s end to understand its processes and requirements to offer a suitable solution that offers measurable added value for each customer. The solution developed is subsequently tested on the customer‘s machines and monitored with on-site support by Blaser‘s specialists to make the customer‘s production process more sustainable and also prove the savings claims under real life conditions, he noted. The company believes in creating a sustainable customer journey and forge partnerships with customers and channel partners, Gupta said.
Blaser executed around 270 projects in 2016 and around 200 projects in 2017, while working on different dimensions of productivity. At Mahindra’s Chakan facility, Blaser deployed the Liquid Tool with Blascocut BC25 coolant for high-cutting performance and stability at the OEM’s cylinder block unit. Gupta said the intense testing across milling, drilling and reaming applications reduced cycle time by 15 % and led to a 33 % improvement in machining cylinder blocks.
The Blaser India top official said the company normally witnesses a safe range of 8-15 % in productivity increase and 20-40 % increase in tool life with the implementation of Liquid Tool. Blaser also deployed its Blasogrind H5 coolant at OSG India Ltd under the Liquid Tool analysis over the last one year to improve the long-term process capabilities in the carbide grinding processes. The hydrocracked formulation has been able to reduce cycle time and achieve a 12 % productivity increase in fluid grinding operation at OSG’s Falta plant in West Bengal.
Blaser also developed Blasocut bio-concept that facilitates fostering of bacteria primarily found in drinking water and eliminates all other bacteria to keep water-miscible Blasocut emulsions stable in nature. Gupta said the Blasocut emulsions principle based on primary bacteria enables process reliability and suppress reproduction of harmful bacteria that can infiltrate the metalworking fluids. The deployment of Blasocut BC 4000 coolant under Liquid Tool analysis for improving the surface quality of tools at Bajaj Motors Ltd resulted in savings of ` 5.6 mn for the company, noted Gupta.
Blaser spends around 30 % of its revenues on R&D annually, aiming to deliver products to address all market demands. Around 20 % of the company’s total workforce of 600 is involved in R&D activities to maintain high quality. Gupta said the company’s R&D also partly includes product management, thus, insisting on considering the coolants as an investment element rather than unnecessary evil costs. Different economies are in different technological stages globally including water, microbiology, temperature or usage. Thus, the company has limited its production facilities to just two in the world.
Blaser imports its product portfolio in India directly from its Swiss facilities to maintain consistent quality, ensuring same solutions everywhere despite a different metallurgy, Mathys said. Blaser has teamed up with machine tool builders, key customers, tool manufacturers to understand about the future prospects of the Indian market. It is not actually a one-way thing as there is a need for adopting a multi-level approach in order to be fit for future, Mathys observed.
For Blaser India’s 17-year journey, its biggest challenge lies in facilitating customer education about different dimensions and how to make them aware about different possibilities. India is no longer considered as a low-cost manufacturing hub and Indian automotive manufacturers are also focussing on exporting at a global scale, thus, necessitating the need to maintain consistent quality, Mathys said.
Both BS VI emission norms and CAFE norms are all set to be implemented over the next five years. Blaser’s top management opine that such challenges will keep manufacturers busy with their respective process upgrades. Gupta said the need to get into the customer’s shop and conduct a holistic analysis for enhancing productivity is only going to go up in the future. On the productivity front, Blaser also recently organised Blaser Productivity Trophy Ceremony in Gurgaon to felicitate productivity projects depicting collaboration and mutual success across five categories – tool optimisation, total cost of ownership, metalworking fluid optimisation, productivity increase and process optimisation.
TEXT: Anirudh Raheja