Dirk Jongert* and Francois Breye** discuss how a specifically designed lubricant has helped replace the manual operation of the swabbing of blank moulds during the glassmaking process.

The hollow glass market has to catch up on new technologies to achieve a higher efficiency and reach customers’ expectations. A lot of innovation has already taken place, but there is still a lot to do.

In this context, a huge contrast exists: highly automated IS machines are, usually, still operated with manual swabbing to lubricate the moulds.

Belgian company Socabelec, known in the glass industry for turnkey automated production lines, developed an automatic spray system for Heye International. The spray system is able to efficiently replace the manual operation of swabbing the blank moulds.

However, it only succeeded in its intent to meet the required results with the development of a specially designed lubricant by the Belgian company VDV Lubricants: the Glassline SwabMatic 180.

Based on their respective know-how in the glass industry, the two companies have demonstrated that the machine and appropriate lubricant can generate substantial results: zero rejects from swabbing, no need for section stops, a 75% saving on lubrication consumption and improved operator safety.

Recent on-site testing on a Heye IS machine – NNPB process/light bottles, has proven these results and the glass plant was happy to see a higher production output within the specifications (pack rate).


Beside the automation approach, it was challenging for VDV Lubricants – Glassline to develop the appropriate lubricant. The combination of the know-how present in the Glassline product range for manual swabbing and the technical team of the company, have contributed to a successful conclusion to the project.

Lubricating the blank mould is a specific process and requires the following criteria: a good friction coefficient between glass and mould, stable in time, and something non-polluting and safe for the operator. An additional requirement for automatic swabbing was to have a formulation able to be efficiently sprayed on the blank mould surface. Glassline SwabMatic is formulated with a combination of oils, solids and additives.

VDV Lubricants and Glassline will now, in partnership with Socabelec, further update the Glassline SwabMatic accordingly to other types of process such as blow/blow, press/blow and others.


*Director, VDV Lubricants/Glassline

**Sales & Technical Manager, VDV Lubricants/Glassline, Baasrode, Belgium




Caption: The Socabelec spray system combined with the Glassline SwabMatic 180 lubricant delivered outstanding results.