Basel-based Medartis AG develops and sells titanium screws and plates, surgical instruments and system solutions for osteosynthesis in the field of cranio-maxillofacial surgery as well as upper and lower extremities. This enables the company, which has been operating since 1997, to offer its own complete medical programme. The implant plates are drilled and milled from titanium. With its subsidiary companies and an extensive network of distributors, Medartis AG is represented worldwide. The company’s goal is to make lasting improvements to the field of early functional rehabilitation through its own high-quality products and exclusively developed technologies.
However, the plate manufacturing department at Medartis AG was not entirely satisfied with their former coolant supplier. The metalworking fluid emulsion caused heavy foaming and led to the formation of crystalline residues. Consequently, the emulsion had to be changed far too often. The tool life also left much to be desired. “These problems had an impact on employee satisfaction. Furthermore, the short tool life led to high costs,” Markus Ackermann, the production engineer for Medartis AG in the plate manufacturing department, reports.
Because of these problems, Medartis AG’s management approached Blaser Swisslube. The initial situation was quite complex: “Companies working in the field of medical technology can’t simply just change their production processes, as these have been validated with utmost precision,” Niklaus Allemann, Blaser Swisslube’s sales manager, explains.
Optimised production, low costs
In close collaboration with the experts at Medartis, Blaser Swisslube’s application engineer Hugo Gysin reviewed the production processes. The goal was to pinpoint the cause of the foaming and the short life of the metalworking fluids and tools. “We set out with the goal of optimising production and lowering costs for the customer by selecting the right metalworking fluid,” Hugo Gysin says.
High performance and low foam
After analysing the tools, materials and processes, Hugo Gysin started to consider the B-Cool 755 metalworking fluid. “B-Cool 755 is a water-miscible, chlorine-free metalworking fluid with a mineral oil base. This is a high-performance product that leads to optimal surface finishing,” he explains. Furthermore, the product is low foaming in both hard and soft water, offers good stability, solid protection against ferrous corrosion and low consumption rates. According to Hugo Gysin: “All this means that B-Cool 755’s properties are a very good match for the manufacturing processes at Medartis. I was absolutely sure that everything would work out seamlessly and that we would be able to increase the customer’s productivity by using this metalworking fluid.”
The new Blaser metalworking fluid was subjected to 3 months of rigorous testing on two milling machines – with excellent results.
A talent for innovative thinking: Everyone working together!
Peter Scheuble, head of production technology at Medartis: “Based on the test results, we decided to initiate the complex validation process and use the new metalworking fluid for the entire plate manufacturing process. This is only possible if everyone involved recognises the added value.” Niklaus Allemann from Blaser Swisslube concurs: “In this phase, the Medartis Team demonstrated their talent for innovative thinking. Everyone worked together!”
Ultimately, the intensive analysis phase was worth it, Hugo Gysin explains: “We need to know all the parameters before we can select the right fluid and carry out long-term process optimisation. The metalworking fluid then becomes a Liquid Tool that can help us achieve a genuine boost in productivity.”
Tool life increased by a quarter
Meanwhile, the metalworking fluid has now been in use for a whole year and is performing reliably – the emulsion is stable, and the tool life has been significantly increased. “The tool life has improved by 25 percent. All of this means that we have been able to increase our productivity and cost savings”, says Ackermann with satisfaction. “In Blaser, we've found a strong partner when it comes to coolant,” Marc Käser, the head of the plate manufacturing department at Medartis, confirms.