Le 15/05/2024

Swabbing greases – The right product for the right job

Swabbing greases are essential lubricants in the container glass manufacturing process to ensure a high and constant productivity. They provide a combination of several functionalities during the stage of glass forming like helping the molten glass to perfectly cover the mold surfaces and so avoid defects due to a bad distribution. Their releasing properties enable to easily remove the glass items from each mold which is essential to act against glassware checks. Finally, their lubrication performances will enhance molds life and make them last longer.

Graphite has been, since decades, a central element in swabbing greases formulations. It is a well-known raw material used for its lubrication properties in several industrial fields. Forging operations and tubes manufacturing are examples of other areas using it. Its origins can be natural (mining ore) or synthetic (full chemical process) and some of its characteristics like the carbon content, the particles size and its crystallography help CONDAT to select them for optimal performances.

However, graphite is also at the origin of some well-known defects in glass making. First common issue is graphite transfer which leads to glass items dirtiness. This phenomenon is explained by the migration of graphite from the swabbing grease, applied to the mold, to the glass container. The second problem is graphite build-up. It mainly occurs in finish molds where engravings are used. Graphite will concentrate in some areas and will last. The consequence is that the molten glass can’t reach them and block the mold covering. Marks are not fully printed, and production must be stopped.

You can limit or overcome these defects by choosing the right swabbing grease for the right job or try a new technology, such as a white swabbing grease.


Select the right swabbing grease for the right job

Each segment of the container glass industry requires specific lubricants adapted to its production specifications: production rate, items cleanliness, types of glass, gob weights, items shape, etc. That’s why CONDAT decided to develop dedicated swabbing solutions depending on their customers application fields:

  • Wine & beer bottles
  • Spirit bottles
  • Cosmetics & perfumes
  • Pharmaceuticals

Indeed, depending on the glassware you are producing, a dedicated swabbing grease must be chosen. The use of a non-suitable swabbing grease will lead to more rejects due to graphite transfer and graphite build-up.

Each lubricant are also specified to a mold type. The needs of lubrication between the blank, the neck ring and the finish molds are all different. Where high releasing properties are wanted in the first stage of the glass forming, swabbing the neck ring and the blank mold must be soft and light. Over-swabbing these areas will conduct to more glass checks.


Swabbing greases per industry segment

Wine & Beer                      Spirit                Cosmetic & Perfume        Pharmaceutical







Swabbing greases per mold type

CONDAGLASS 397 CONDAGLASS 367 CONDAGLASS 398 (for engravings)

Using a lower graphited grease

CONDAGLASS 397 Success story

An Asian glass bottle manufacturer specialized in the production of light amber bottles used for energy drinks had been using for many years a highly graphited swabbing grease for every mold in their 10 sections triple gobs IS Machines. Production yield was correct, but they were looking for more.

After analyzing the glass items manufactured and the material used for the mold, CONDAT glass experts suggested to test CONDAGLASS 397, a lower graphited swabbing grease dedicated to the release of small glass containers.

The product shows indeed excellent wetting properties, while keeping good gob loading. Thanks to its high quality and minimum amount of graphite, CONDAGLASS 397 helped the company to reduce the number of automatic rejects by 50% after swabbing.

Less graphite also means less build-up! An essential feature which helped the company decrease its swabbing frequency by 33%  and shorten the maintenance downtime of the molds !

Over a year, this company could save more than 8 million bottles, together with a significant decrease of the swabbing grease consumption.

But that not all! Besides productivity, safety was improved too! Less swabbing operations led to decrease the risk of operators’ injuries.


Turn on white!

Made without graphite, CONDAT white swabbing greases avoid any graphite transfer! Automatic rejects after swabbing can be decreased and so millions of bottles are saved every year. As a result, glass manufacturers generate less waste and observe immediate productivity gains.

Without graphite also means a cleaner working environment for the operators in the gob forming area. They do not handle graphited and blackened products when swabbing the blank, blow and neck ring molds. And the same improvement occurs at the mold workshop!

CONDAT’s objective is not only to replace graphite from swabbing greases but also to bring technical benefits in application. The lubricating raw materials used in their new technology have a higher thermal resistance which leads to increase the swabbing frequency. Companies that chose this solution were able to extend by 2 to 4 times their swabbing frequency! Thanks to this high performance, operators are also less in contact with the glass forming area and can be more focused on optimization of the IS machine working parameters. Thus, white swabbing greases help to consume less, better and create a safer working environment.


And that’s not all! Because reducing environmental impact is one main topics at CONDAT, white swabbing solutions are made of a mix of renewable vegetable-based oils and recycled refined oils. Particular attention was also paid on end-users when developing the product, that’s why their Safety Data Sheet does not display any hazardous pictogram. Finally, thanks to their high flash point, CONDAT swabbing greases limit fire risk and ensure equipment and co-workers protection.


Thanks to its responsible formulation, this technology obtained a 1-star score at the CONDAT LUBRISCORE® and perfectly illustrates the concept of Responsible Performance that the company targets.


CONDAT in glass making

For more than 30 years, CONDAT supplies and supports the container glass industry by providing lubricating solutions. And today, around 200 customers across the world rely on CONDAT for their plant productivity and safety. All the glass production process is addressed with high valued solutions for the shears, scoops, deliveries, molds and IS machine mechanisms.

With capacities to produce in different areas in the world, CONDAT can also apply its mantra: Think Global, Act local. Shorten transportation delay, reduce carbon footprint and invest in local companies are also CONDAT’s commitment to the glass industry.

To know more about this glass lubricants offer, contact CONDAT experts at Glassman Mexico stand D20 or at www.condat-lubricants.com