Blaser Swisslube, a Switzerland-based company, is a global manufacturer and provider of an extensive range of high-performance cutting fluids and cutting oils suitable for almost all machining operations and materials. At the ‘Blaser Swisslube Productivity Trophy 2022 India edition held in Chennai, on December 2, 2022, the company aimed to celebrate the significant collaboration with Blaser Swisslube’s end-users and their mutual success.
The chief guest of the event was Ganesh Mani, President & Chief of Operations, Ashok Leyland India, while Soarabh Pathak, General Manager, Outsource Services, Maruti Suzuki India was the speaker at the event. They were accompanied by Mark Blaser, CEO, Blaser Swisslube; Patricio Villard, Chief Sales Officer, Blaser Swisslube; Punit Gupta, Managing Director, Blaser Swisslube West Asia (India & South East Asia); and other experts from the company.
The award winners at the Blaser Productivity Trophy were – Rakesh SB, Vice President, Sansera Engineering who won Tool optimisation trophy; Jitendra Lakotia, Chief Executive Officer, AAKAR Foundry winning Productivity increase trophy; Jaydeep Kumar, Plant Head, JTEKT India received Total costs of ownership trophy; Amey Divekar, VP – Operations 2W BU & Pavankumar Patodi VP-Operations 4W BU, ADVIK Hi – Tech earned Process optimisation trophy; S. Jayakumar – Managing Director, JKS Precision Engineering won Metalworking fluid optimisation trophy and lastly Satish Patil – Deputy General Manager – Manufacturing, FIAT India Automobiles won Sustainability trophy.
Team EM interviewed the award winners, and the following are the excerpts...
Award – Metalworking fluid optimisation - S Jayakumar, Managing Director, JKS Precision Engineering
We are into an innovative mechanical design focused on manufacturing compressor valves and aerospace parts along with some other product portfolios. We primarily use CNC machines, where we require coolants. We have been using Blaser products for the past five to six years, and we are happy with the coolant's performance as it has no smell and is user-friendly. Tool life is the major part of machining, and by using Blaser products, we are able to achieve increased tool life.
Award – Productivity increase - Jitendra Lakhotia, CEO, AAKAR Foundry
Our journey with Blaser started in April 2017, and I must agree that it is a fabulous product because productivity is the heart of any manufacturing company. After using Blaser's products, our productivity has increased by 7% to 8 % and the cutting parameters have been enhanced by 11 to 12% and Blaser products have also helped boost the tool life by 15%. Besides, the machine downtime has also been reduced, which increases the operational efficiency of the overall productivity and has helped to increase the profitability.
Award – Sustainability - Satish Patil, Deputy General Manager, Fiat India Automobiles
We are glad to receive the Sustainability award. Our journey with Blaser started almost 15 years ago. For any automotive manufacturer, the engine is the heart, and while making the engine components, coolant contributes as the unique and swift element needed to manufacture any engine parts. To maintain top-notch manufacturing quality, coolant is essential, and Blaser has proven that their product not only provides a smooth flow but also helps us adhere to our sustainability policies.
Award – Process optimisation - Pavankumar Patodi, VP- Operations 4W BU, ADVIK Hi-Tec
We manufacture several machine components with aluminium using different cutting tools. These are high-precision products that are manufactured with expensive, high-quality cutting tools while maintaining product quality.We used to have failures like rusting in the early stages, and the rejections caused multiple losses. But after using Blaser coolant, we achieved the aim of achieving zero failure of the tooling life and received the quality, persistence, and surface finish that are needed for the machines. The most important point is that the coolants are user and environment-friendly.
Today, environmental sustainability is critical to green manufacturing. How is Blaser working towards improving the production environment?
Marc – We look at sustainability in a very holistic manner, which means we want to see how much impact we have on sustainability at what cost when we use our products and solutions. Therefore, if we look at productivity itself, with higher output with the same machines, people, and footprint, that is the substantial benefit of sustainability. Even though we have only one category called sustainability, we can take all of these projects and look at them from a sustainability point of view. So everything is related to them.
Looking back at your vast expertise, can you brief us on the major factors driving manufacturing excellence globally? How do you see the Indian manufacturing industry contributing to this?
Marc – I think the Indian manufacturing industry has the best possible setup to enable the growing importance of the global manufacturing market. We have a lot of human resources, infrastructure, power supply, and efficient policies. Along with it, we have willing investors, but most importantly, we have engineering excellence, from education to operation. It is not just an easy way to provide products and solutions here in India; it has always been challenging, there is always a question, and one needs to have the capability to work differently. This was our route to continuously improve and outperform the market in the long run.
From a customer’s standpoint, selecting the right cutting fluid is crucial. How do you ensure this?
Marc – Customers are our priority. They all come from a background, in either tooling, machine tooling, or manufacturing. So, they speak the language of customers and have this unique mindset and focus. On the customers' side, we look at every situation equally, starting with an in-depth situational analysis, and then we look at where our challenges and opportunities are to improve based on our knowledge. It is then tested to demonstrate that what we have promised is true and substantiated by its true and competitive advantage at a lower cost.
Can you brief us on the latest technological breakthrough, especially around automation practices that have been integrated to modernise your manufacturing facilities?
Punit – I think automation and Industry 4.0 are buzzwords where different companies are working in different ways. At Blaser Swisslube, we strive to serve our customers. We introduced the liquid tool analyser a few years ago to bring transparency to data and help customers simulate project outcomes on their shop floor.
This has been a great success, as it is helping the customers see different impact areas on different dimensions of productivity. So, when we look at different dimensions like – liquid tool, it proves to be a value proposition. This creates an impact by producing a greater number of products, improving tools' performance, improving processes' impact on the material, lowering rejection rates, and having a positive impact on the human environment and sustainability.
We are testing a unique proposition, and the rollout has even started in Europe this year. It is a smart automated fluid management system. It is a modular approach that launches right from sensing the data of coolant, up to filling, topping up, and even the possibility of adding additives automatically. This will enable them to have a secure and stable process, which will help them increase their productivity in the future. These are the various dimensions of the automation Industry 4.0.
There is a growing demand for lightweight components in high-performance applications, and the use of metalworking fluids is helping to expand this scenario. How do you see the global metalworking fluids market expanding metalworking fluid demand?
Punit – It is a very interesting time for us as a metalworking fluids manufacturer. On one side, we see disruptive technologies coming in, whether additive or not, that will replace the machining operations, whether it's MIM technology or a shift from ICE engines to EVs. However, the complexity of manufacturing machining is increasing, so the components are becoming more and more complex. Therefore, there has been an increase in demands like surface finish requirements and machining accuracy. And we are very happy to take up that challenge.
Tell us about the large investments and growth strategies planned for all business lines in the coming years.
Punit – We have been constantly investing in people, R&D, and manufacturing facilities. In India, during COVID-19, we set up competence centres at our Gurgaon headquarters. This centre equips people with chemistry, microbiology, and machining know-how who analyse customer samples and connect on a real-time basis with the Switzerland R&D lab, bringing added value to the customers.
How does product development in the company’s R&D centre innovate to consider the latest technologies to cope with the market demands?
Punit – It is vital to put the customer at the centre, so we always look at customer processes and their requirements. Our objective is to help customers win, and the Productivity Trophy event is to celebrate customers’ success. When we look at it from the customers' point of view, they always need help to become more competitive in their area of expertise. Our R&D and technology centre is always working towards this.
Lastly, how do you look at the Productivity Trophy Award Ceremony 2022 in India this year?
Marc – The Productivity Trophy is an approach to highlighting customer projects. Many of the productivity studies we conduct with customers are done because we need to look at the relevant details of the customer to ensure that we truly deliver and add value, not just produce aesthetically pleasing results. So, the productivity trophy for us is a way to honour certain customer projects where we believe outstanding results have occurred. It is the means by which we can highlight and spotlight some of the noteworthy work that enters the industry each year and at every customer touchpoint.
Punit – This is a very special event, and I am very happy. What makes it special is that we are celebrating the customer’s success. We do projects with customers because that is our mission, and we categorise the projects in those dimensions. Then we look at where the execution has happened so that the customers can say that they have benefited from the coordinated and cooperative project.