50 Years at the Top

This year, Daetwyler’s lamella doctor blade turns 50, and while we’re certainly proud of that achievement, many people don’t know just how one of the world’s most popular blade designs came to be.

It all started in the early 1970s at Ringier, a printer in Zofingen, Switzerland that printed a well-known entertainment magazine of the time. The magazine’s distinctive brown ink was very abrasive, and was known for almost always exhibiting hazing. Due to the constant wear of the doctor blades used at that time, the doctor blade contact area increased, which resulted in a permanent tonal value change. This prompted Ringier’s then-Technical Management team – under the direction of Max Widmer and his assistant Ruedi Fankhauser – to find a solution for uniform doctor blade wiping. Finally, one of the Ringier’s technicians, Hans Burgener came up with the idea of developing a lamella: a unique stepped-edge design that clean, consistent metering thanks to a thinner contact edge. Ringier’s original lamella doctor blade was produced very elaborately with etching solution. However, the company had neither time nor employees to pursue this ingenious idea further.

Seeing a true opportunity in the lamella design, Max Daetwyler & Co. took over the invention for further development, perfecting the design until it could be easily reproduced and patented. The doctor blades were no longer etched, but ground with high precision on self-developed grinding machines. Through the years, various steel materials were tested and placed into production, and development and improvement of the MDC lamella blade has continued through the decades, eventually leading to the idea to coat the doctor blade for even better, longer-life performance.

MDC Lamella started out as a revolution in gravure printing, but later found its way into flexo operations as well. Both gravure and flexo versions of the MDC Lamella design have become industry standards for quality and reliability worldwide. During all that time the Daetwyler lamella line remains the #1 lamella-tip blade on the market. The gold standard celebrates a golden anniversary.