Release time : 2015-06-16 07:34:55
Biodegradable lubricants are not only better for the environment, but perform better, according to Gareth Rees, Market Development Manager with Vickers Oils in Leeds, UK.
Biodegradable lubricants, when properly formulated perform better than conventional mineral-based lubricants, Rees says. What makes them better is their ability to breakdown quickly if, through accidental or operational discharges, they enter the environment.
A biodegradable lubricant should biodegradethat is break downat least 60% within 28 days in the internationally recognized OECD 301 A-F tests (for comparison, a conventional mineral based lube oil will biodegrade only about 20% in that period). Further, a good biodegradable lubricant should also be non-toxic (not harmful) to aquatic life and should ideally be based on renewable resources, as opposed to petroleum.
Rees says they are made differently. The difference lies in the selection of the base fluids and also in the additives, all of which should be carefully screened for their ecological properties as well as for their normal performance properties. Thereafter, the actual method of manufacture is similar but of course it is important to avoid any contamination with non-biodegradable fluids.
He says properly formulated biodegradable lubricants have the same qualities and offer the same benefits as other lubricants. This can be proven by evidence of testing against industry standard requirements. In fact, in some cases, select bio-lubes have outperformed conventional lubes so their use has been justified by the cost and performance benefits as much as the environmental benefits.
While these lubricants can usually be substituted directly for conventional lubricants, in some cases it may be necessary to use specific seals, paints and other components which have improved compatibility with bio-lubes. Rees says its it is important for users to follow the instructions given out by both the equipment manufacturers and by the bio-lubes suppliers.
Per unit biodegradable lubricants cost more, but Rees says this higher purchase cost can be more than offset by the extended fluid life and reduced equipment downtime. One customer is still running a bio-hydraulic fluid in a crane after 1760 hours usage, whereas previously he had to change the conventional mineral hydraulic fluid every 400 hours or so.He says. He saves more money with every hour.
Rees described the Vickers product line, and how the lubricants differ for the specific applications. Vickers Oils has four ranges of biodegradable marine lubricants C HYDROX BIO for stern tube bearings, ECOSURE HSE high performance hydraulic fluids, BIOGEAR XP high performance gear oil and BIOGREASE EP2 grease. Each range has been tailored specifically for its application, drawing on more than 100 yearsknowledge of the marine industry and also on close relations with leading equipment manufacturers
Biodegradable lubricants are not entirely new. Vickers Oils began sea trials with biodegradable lubricants in 1997 and commercialized them in 2002, said Rees We have now supplied to more than 1,000 vessels around the world.
We believe that there will be a growing demand for bio-lubes as the marine industry recognizes that they provide a practical alternative to more environmentally damaging, conventional, mineral oils, he said.