The lowdown on environmentally friendly machinery lubricants

Sirem drums, Sferax linear bearings, Worm couplings, Sumitomo gearboxes and Tschan rollastic couplings, what do they all have in common? They need regular lubricating.

Rust, wear, microcracks and indentations all take its toll on the components that work together inside industrial machinery. As we wrote in a blog published in May this year, the right industrial lubricant is essential for prolonging the life of machinery.

But how do you ensure the lubricant you use to help prolong your machinery’s life is economically-friendly?

Modern, eco buzzwords such as renewable, biodegradable, green and non-toxic have been circulating the world of industrial machinery for quite some time. As with many industries, these ‘green’ words have become powerful assets for lubricant manufacturers to sell their products.

As lubricants to oil the likes of Trasco es zero backlash couplings and Sumitomo concentric are traditionally petroleum-based, they are by nature an environmental concern. This is due to the fact petroleum-derived mineral stocks have limited resources. Not only are resources finite, but in the past the disposal of lubricants has been carried out irresponsibly and spilt into the environment, thus causing grave environmental concern.

Biodegradable lubricants

Put simply, biodegradable refers to the chemical degradation of a lubricant in the present of micro-organisms/bacteria.

During the 1980s Europe brought in numerous regulations and mandates regarding the use of petroleum products which necessitated the use of biodegradable lubricants. During the 90s several American manufacturers began developing biodegradable products and sunflower oil-based lubricants.

In more recent years there has been marked advances in the use of biodegradable greases and lubes.

Green lubricants

For a product or substance to be environmentally friendly it needs to degrade naturally and quickly with decomposed fractions that are non-toxic and which are based on renewable sources. Green lubricants must be void of heavy metals and other toxic ingredients, the majority of the substance must be formulated with vegetable oils/renewable sources and they must be readily biodegradable.

But how do eco-friendly lubricants compare with petroleum-based alternatives when it comes to performance?

Of course it is all very well to be able to cite your shipping industry or printing business as environmentally friendly but what every business in every industry requires is great performance.

Lubricants help Zurrer drivers and Wrapflex couplings work in greater harmony with other components, thus making a piece of equipment run more efficient as well as prolonging its life.

Therefore giving up petroleum-based lubricants in favour of greener alternatives it not so desirable if the latter doesn’t have the same efficiency-enhancing effect as the former.

The good news is that environmentally friendly lubricants can offer many performance advantages. In fact when formulated with vegetable oils, green lubricants can exhibit increased lubricity and can prove invaluable in reducing wear and friction in crucial industrial machinery.

Since 1993 YB Component – formerly Yorkshire Bearings – has been dispatching couplings and clutches, gearboxes and geared motors, belts and chains, bearings and bushes and other essential industrial parts around the UK and further afield.

If you require an industrial component be shipped to your warehouse, get in touch with YB Components.