At 70 years of age, and after 50 professional years in the world of diamonds – Horst Lach, born on April 3rd, 1940, is known as one of the pioneers of the diamond tool industry. His outstanding and brilliant ideas were simply remarkable, and he initiated a complete new way of thinking in the tool industry. Tool life should no longer be measured in hours, but in weeks and months.
In 1960, Horst Lach joined his father’s diamond cutting facility, founded in 1922. Until the end of the 50’s, the facility handled mostly diamond jewelry – with more than 600 diamond cutters before World War II – but the company was forced to set new priorities when the grinding of jewelry diamonds was increasingly relocated to low-wage countries.
It was at this time that Jakob Lach, at the time already 66 years of age, and his 20-year old son, Horst, started to develop a diamond tool factory and started trading industrial diamonds for the automobile and metal working industry.
Horst Lach set new standards in the tool industry and over the years he proved to have a special sense for possible improvements and new industrial implementations of synthetic diamonds.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that a chronological list of highlights of Lach Diamant entails all significant innovations within the diamond tool industry of the last 45 years.
In 1969, Horst Lach started experimenting with the new cutting material BORAZON and developed the very first CBN grinding wheel. When the first polycrystalline diamonds were introduced in the market in 1973, Horst Lach immediately developed new tool ideas and, as a result, Lach Diamant’s customer base grew continuously and steadily.
When Horst introduced a complete diamond tool and saw program for the wood industry at LIGNA in 1979, it was perceived as a “crazy idea”. From today’s perspective, we know that this courageous concept played a key role in the development of modern mass production of furniture, floors and kitchens.
His pioneering discovery that polycrystalline diamond could be processed with spark erosion was the basis for this success. The prevailing opinion at the time was that diamonds could only be worked with diamonds.
This initial discovery led Horst Lach to another unusual step. He founded a new department for machine building in addition to his tool business. Today, several hundred LACH DIAMANT sharpening machines (based on Electrical Discharge Grinding) are in use all over the world.
n 1999, Horst Lach received the DeBeers Diamond Award for his revolutionary idea to use diamonds as cutting materials in the wood industry.
Today, 150 employees are employed at LACH DIAMANT Jakob Lach GmbH & Co. KG (manufacturing plants in Hanau and Lichtenau near Chemnitz) and LACH DIAMOND INC., Grand Rapids, Michigan. Even at 70, Horst’s spirit of innovation is strong as ever and, as a result, Lach Diamant is an essential part of new tool concepts for the wind energy, the aerospace and automotive industries.
A team of long-term employees and his family, in particular his daughter Iris Lach and his son Robert Lach, a graduate in engineering, are helping to support his efforts. Robert and Iris represent the third generation in this long-standing, medium-sized company.