Blaser Swisslube AG
Predix HMI / SCADA
Headquartered in Hasle-Rüegsau, the Swiss family-owned business Blaser Swisslube AG has been producing and selling cooling lubricant worldwide for 70 years. Cooling lubricant, which is used in the metalworking industry, has played a significant role in the business’s history. It’s lubricant plant located in Emmental, Switzerland produces approximately 100,000 liters of (cooling) lubricant, cutting oil, and grease each day.
Visualization to facilitate daily operations
Blaser Swisslube AG was looking for a solution that provided the ability to easily create visualizations that facilitates operational activities, as well as makes them more productive. This is exemplified in the filling system in the lubricant plant located in Emmental, Switzerland. The barrels to be filled are delivered by truck, transferred onto pallets, and automatically transported to the filling station using various transfer points equipped with conveyor belts.
If faults occurred, the system manager needed to connect his notebook to the system control (PLC) and analyze the corresponding inputs/outputs until he located the problem. Sometimes this was considerably time-consuming and resulted in significant downtimes. The company was also trying to save energy and costs by utilizing an intuitive energy management system and operating an active energy return system.
Expertise meets industrial technology
Blaser Swisslube AG leveraged GE Digital's solutions to support individual production steps and the networking needed to accomplish the tasks. The CIMPLICITY, part of Predix HMI/SCADA, visualization system is utilized in the individual production areas, such as the mixing, filling, transport system or the power station. Its Historian server—a database that has been optimally tailored to industrial demands—saves all process data, such as temperatures, filling levels, added ingredients, along with all raw material codes, etc. And ultimately, due to its web-based design, the software enables access to all historical and online data globally
The commendable onsite support provided by the Balsthal-based B+I Automation AG, which is the official Swiss sales partner of GE, is one reason why the lubricant experts chose the automation expert company as their solution provider.
Reducing costs, error, and environmental footprint
Various ingredients with the most diverse viscosities are combined together to produce the lubricant. In order to also mix these together, the process temperature must be correct. To achieve this, the mixing container heats the different production systems. Up until now, the thermal energy has been supplied at a constant defined temperature using thermal oil or hot process water.
However, a closer look at the production process showed that the tanks must only be maintained at the correct temperature during relatively short time spans. At this juncture, the lubricant experts saw a starting point for improvements and in conjunction with the construction of a new power station, they are trying to save energy and costs by utilizing an intuitive energy management system and operating an active energy return system. Solution helps save money while protecting the environment.
The formulas for each manufactured product not only contain the ingredients, but also the required temperatures. Using GE Digital's applications, it was quickly determined that the 750kW thermal oil boiler was not always required, but that, in many cases, the smaller 250kW boiler was sufficient. Depending on the requirements, one or two thermal oil boilers are utilized and the system switches to the second boiler only after the boiler currently in operation has reached its highest burning level at full capacity and additional energy is required.
The hot process water is generated in similar fashion. Before this solution was implemented for generating heat, production consumed approximately 150,000 liters of heating oil annually. By utilizing the new power station and the energy management system, current annual heating oil consumption has dropped to 85,000 liters resulting in a substantial savings of nearly 45%. At the same time, the system actively contributes to protecting the environment by saving fossil resources along with significantly reducing CO2 emissions.