Partner of choice for the world
FUCHS PETROLUB SE and DMG MORI have already working closely together already since 2014 – initially within the scope of a specific customer project in Asia – and officially in the form of a comprehensive technology partnership since 2017. The stated goal was and is the future-orientated further development of lubricants and services in the area of machine tools. The companies have continued to intensify their cooperation through the DMG MORI Qualified Products Program (DMQP). Since 2019, FUCHS has been a certified DMQP partner for cooling lubricants and lubricants designed exclusively for machines and processes. Christian Thönes, Chairman of the Executive Board at DMG MORI AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT, and Stefan Fuchs, Chairman of the Executive Board at FUCHS PETROLUB SE discuss their intensive cooperation.
Which aspects led you to continuing to further develop the partnership between DMG MORI and FUCHS – right through to DMQP certification?
Christian Thönes: During our first joint customer projects in China and Asia, we were able to successfully find solutions to individual objectives together with FUCHS. Already at the time, these solutions also showed a high relevance for other companies – with the corresponding scalability potential. An ever-closer partnership with FUCHS developed out of this successful scenario, from which both have continued to profit from a dozen development projects to date, for example in spindle development.
Stefan Fuchs: Another reason the partnership works so well is that both DMG MORI and FUCHS have many thousands of employees and operate with a decentralized structure at a global level. FUCHS alone is represented by 58 operative companies worldwide. DMG MORI is well known for its worldwide Technology Excellence Centers. This means we both have a very similar approach to day-to-day business, which naturally makes it easier to work together.
Based on the long-standing partnership and DMQP certification, DMG MORI and FUCHS today cooperate closely at several different levels of product and service development. What has this changed for both partners and above all – how does the customer profit from this partnership offer?
Stefan Fuchs: A solid and trustful collaboration has developed in our “inner workings” since then. In principle, little has changed. The joint development of scalable solutions for specific job specifications has nevertheless led to an even stronger focus on customer benefits. And that’s where it becomes very clear what a good fit the companies are. We are committed to providing customers with all-around support.
Christian Thönes: I can only confirm this. We now have an extremely intensive exchange of experiences and transfer of ideas at all levels of our companies, which is making both partners even stronger. Above all, this makes our mutual customers even stronger, as we continue to develop innovative business models along the entire value creation chain. For example, the integrative technology cycle, from material supply to disposal, and our supplementary DMQP program enable customers direct access. This applies to the excellent lubricants, greases, and spindle and hydraulic oils from FUCHS as well as the jointly developed products. This integrative approach supports our customers in being even more successful.
Cooling lubricant is a kind of black box as far as many customers are concerned. How do you bring light to the darkness when it comes to this topic?
Christian Thönes: We already support the customers during the selection and design of a manufacturing solution through our sales and decentralized expertise, for example in our worldwide Technology Excellence Centers. Here it is all about selecting the right type of cooling lubricant so that these can be perfectly matched to the application, component and machine.
Stefan Fuchs: We support DMG MORI in this respect with experts on site and laboratory capacity, which enables a precise analysis of the applications. We specifically examine the respective problems together with DMG MORI service technicians. And we offer training through FUCHS application engineers – in the form of a workshop or video conference.
What are some examples of cooling lubricants that were developed on the basis of this type of cooperation?
Christian Thönes: The DMQP cooling lubricants ECOCOOL TNA-IDM and ECOCOOL AFC-IDM are good examples. They represent decisive technology components and ensure our customers higher performance, longer service lives and better repeat accuracy. Their properties support increased energy efficiency, thus ensuring the sustainability of the machining process.
What does that mean in practice?
Christian Thönes: In practice that means: The higher the stress during the metal cutting process, the greater the influence of the cooling lubricant on the machining result. Against this backdrop, machining of titanium-base or nickel-base alloys, for example in the aerospace sector, is considered one of the most important disciplines. Cobalt chrome alloys, such as those used in medical technology, also place high demands on machining.
Stefan Fuchs: To this effect, we recently initiated a benchmark test for cooling lubricants together with the DMG MORI Aerospace Excellence Center in an innovative close alliance. Under operating conditions, users profit from a much more homogeneous amount of wear. This, in turn, also improves the machine performance and the processes stability. Moreover, wear on the main cutting edge and the corner radius is reduced by up to 85 percent!
You stressed the sustainability of the FUCHS solutions in general. What role does this subject play in the partnership?
Christian Thönes: For DMG MORI – and I’m sure the same applies to FUCHS – sustainability has been an important future field in company strategy for many years now. The high standards thus also apply without reservation to our technology partnership. Moreover, the following applies: All the lubricants we use need to be effective, efficient, economical, robust and free of substances that are harmful to the environment and health.
Stefan Fuchs: In addition, we are working intensively on numerous joint product- and process-related development projects to further reduce the ecological footprint in the area of lubricants for and at our joint customers on a sustainable basis. Alongside the resource-efficient and environmentally friendly product, the circumstances also play a decisive role.
Can you name specific examples of sustainable developments?
Stefan Fuchs: First we have to note that FUCHS – as well as DMG MORI – has had CO2-neutral production since 2020. The development of more sustainable products is also very close to our hearts. A clear example is our joint collaboration on the “BIOMANU III: machine interface in interaction with KSS” project. The focus there is on the development of a qualified microbial and bio-based cooling lubricant, integrated fluid management for coolant circulation systems and the lotus effect on surfaces. This can minimize contaminations. FUCHS supports the project when it comes to the chemicals and with cooling lubricant expertise.
Christian Thönes: Lubricants also contribute to reducing the CO2 footprint – on the one hand, through the selection of the raw material and supply chains and, on the other, with the most up-to-date formulas. This reduces thermal absorption and frictional force, optimizing the energy balance of the whole machine. Not least we have sustainably optimized the logistics chain of DMG MORI Spare Parts.
What does that mean?
Christian Thönes: Let’s take our global orientation: We used to have even small amounts of lubricant sent from the central DMG MORI Spare Parts Center all around the world. Procurement now takes place on the shortest routes directly via the worldwide linked production and sales network of FUCHS (via DMG MORI). The majority of the lubricants are even produced regionally.
Stefan Fuchs: One thing I am particularly pleased about is our treatment and disposal options. As an essential component of the technology expertise and a special feature of the DMQP material cycle, they guarantee customers of DMG MORI true integrated sustainability.
Does DMG MORI now exclusively recommend FUCHS lubricants?
Christian Thönes: We actually do recommend using FUCHS lubricants. FUCHS is in a position to support us and our customers with a very comprehensive product range of perfectly matched and integrated lubricants and cooling lubricants. This really makes the overall customer benefits from our technology partnership something very special.
Stefan Fuchs: I don’t have anything to add to that statement apart from my thanks.
What can customers expect from the technology or the DMQP partnership in the future?
Christian Thönes: Two important aspects of the partnership are the continuous improvement of products and services and the increase in the market presence and market share – this particularly applies to Japan, China, India, but also America. The third pillar here is the acceleration of joint development projects – including in the environment of industrial digitalization…
That needs explaining…
Stefan Fuchs: Cooling lubricants have a big influence on the machining result. Even using the best cooling lubricant, wear is inevitable, which under some conditions could impair the process. And it is exactly here that digitalization comes into play. That’s why we are currently working on an innovation project, the FLUID ANALYZER IDM. The aim of this sensor system is to generate added value for the customer when it comes to the product and process stability.
How does the FLUID ANALYZER IDM actually work?
Stefan Fuchs: Special sensors analyze the condition of the cooling lubricant during processing and correspondingly visualize it to the machine control system. This allows the customer to respond proactively and make improvements to the KSS parameters if changes need to be made. This all takes place as a single- or multi-machine use case. It is also possible to upgrade existing machines with the FLUID ANALYZER IDM.
Christian Thönes: This joint project clearly shows how seriously and comprehensively we approach the subject of digitalization. We put out feelers regarding the subject to a selected circle of potential customers at the beginning of 2020 at the Open House in Pfronten. The response was overwhelming. We will go one step further in the future by jointly developing an as-a-service subscription concept for the lifecycle of cooling lubricants and lubricants.
What does that mean for customers?
Christian Thönes: As-a-service solutions benefit customers as they can get everything from a single source. They enjoy absolute planning security and can rely one-hundred percent on the production of their components.
Stefan Fuchs: A cooling lubricant sensor system 2.0 will also be developed from the overall revision of the concept while designing the subscription approach. This improved sensor system will focus on the important benefits to the customer and enable a setup that is ready for the mass market in terms of the price structure and the sales model.
What can users expect from the cooperation between DMG MORI and FUCHS?
Christian Thönes: The branch-specific collaboration in the areas of aerospace and medical will take on a major role. Our experts will work on approaches to solutions in joint workshops, which will focus entirely on customer requirements.
The Medical Excellence Centers in Seebach, Chicago and Shanghai will also move even closer together in this collaboration. The first pilot projects have already been created from the conceptual idea, with extremely promising results including in the aerospace industry. Our customers have a lot to look forward to. And, of course, you too Mr. Fuchs. There’s still a lot to do!
Stefan Fuchs: That's right, especially when it comes to regions where we continue to intensify our technology partnership. We’re on board and naturally look forward to further cooperation with you and your team!