Lubricant manufacturers to great extent are trying to exceed expectations from lubricants that can meet stricter emission norms, improve energy efficiency, and enhance reliability and longer equipment life.
For every company in the global industrial sector, energy efficiency is a top priority business imperative in today´s competitive environment. From an operations and cost efficiency standpoint, reducing energy consumption directly impacts a company´s bottom line. According to ExxonMobil´s Energy Outlook Report 2040, energy demand in 2040 is expected to double from 2010 levels and the rate of increase is anticipated to be even higher in countries like India that have a rapidly expanding industrial business landscape. The industrial sector is a major consumer of energy, accounting for about half of all the electricity consumed around the world ù and corresponds to about 30 per cent of primary energy use. One opportunity for energy conservation that is often overlooked in industrial facilities is the technology behind the lubricant used. Using energy-efficient lubricants will enable manufacturing facilities to operate at maximum efficiency at optimal cost. Typically, companies that upgrade their lubricants and reliability practices have been able to document a significant reduction in power requirements along with achieving productivity improvement and reduction in carbon emissions across various applications in the industrial sector.
Says Shankar Karnik, Mobil SHC Brand Manager & Energy Advisor, ExxonMobil Lubricants, ¨Mobil Industrial Lubricants, consider enhancing energy efficiency a core component of its comprehensive sustainability strategy, which is referred to as ´Advancing Productivity´. In the industrial sector, many plants are securing energy efficiency gains through advanced equipment engineering and by improving operational performance of equipment.¨
Deployment of energy-efficient technologies reduces the negative impact of energy consumption on the environment and society, while at the same time reducing energy costs, thus contributing towards sustainable development. Also, minimising energy consumption can help companies demonstrate to their partners and customers that they are committed to sustainable practices.
According to Akhil Jha, Vice President - Technical, Lubricants, Shell India Markets continuously changing standards, laws and customer expectations are the key drivers that influence OEMs to improve their technologies and equipment designs. Jha says, ¨These changing needs put lot of stress on lubricants and many conventional technology lubricants fail to meet these demands. As industry faces the challenges of lowering cost of production, stringent emission and environmental norms we expect a more rapid adoption of leading edge lubricants that provide energy efficiency benefits and lower the total cost of ownership.¨ Jha adds, ¨For fleet applications, India with Bharat Stage III/IV norms (equivalent to Euro III/IV) is behind the developed nations where Euro V emission norms are in place. This requires the use of specially formulated low sulphated ash, phosphorous and sulphur (SAPS) technology lubricants - to ensure there are no poisoning of catalysts and plugging of particle traps used as exhaust gas after treatment devices in these vehicles.
The latest trends for lubricant in construction and mining segment are emission norms, energy efficiency, reliability and longer equipment life. With advancements in technology over the years, equipment designs are getting smaller and more compact whereas energy output is increasing. At the same time, due to competitive pressures increasing number of customers are demanding longer oil drain interval, better equipment life and improved equipment efficiency. These contrasting requirements have put tremendous stress on the lubricants used in the industry including construction and mining. This has necessitated greater requirement to work closely with original equipment manufacturers to ensure that lubricants are capable of meeting or exceeding the increasingly stringent demands that these types of equipment will put on them. The engine oil needs to perform in severe environment which increases soot load with increasing oil drain interval. Hence oil should be able to handle soot and offer higher drain interval. The expectation from engine oil to increase engine overhaul is increasing, according to Jha According to Karnik, there is a need for companies across industries to perceive energy efficiency through a strategic lens and align it to their core business objectives. Karnik says, ¨In almost every sector, we´re now seeing companies achieve success by creating or deploying new technologies that use energy more efficiently and using synthetic and energy-efficient lubricants can help achieve those results.¨
Selecting the right lubricant
To select the right lubricant for the right application it is important to understand the application, ambient conditions and expected output that the equipment needs to achieve to ensure production goals are met consistently. Says Jha, ¨One of the main factor is the use of synthetic base oil. Type of base oil used in finished lubricant greatly influences the energy efficiency properties of the lubricants. Synthetic base oils have lower traction coefficient than mineral oil, hence offer better energy efficiency benefits over conventional lubricants. Selecting right viscosity is also very important in achieving energy efficiency benefits.
However there are several additional elements to consider when selecting an appropriate lubricant. These include operating speed (variable or fixed), type of friction (such as sliding or rolling), load and environmental conditions, and industry standards. Depending on the machine, component or application user should look at different fluid properties. Factors to consider include the load, speed, ambient etc. It is very important to design the oil on the basis of OEM recommendations, looking at the equipment challenges, operability, external ambient conditions, and factors such as load, temperature, pressure, speed, etc and then choose the right lubricant, which will give the optimum performance, protect the equipment and give the efficiency.¨
According to Sushant Bansal, Director, Paras Lubricants right selection is utmost important to provide adequate lubrication and thus extending the service life of the oil; and some of the important factors are thermal/oxidation stability, oil viscosity and coefficient of friction. Speaking about the technology gap Bansal adds, ¨The major gap of this industry is that the lubricants available in the market are made to meet general requirements, but all industries have identical requirements based on their working atmosphere, load properties, working hours, etc. So there is always a requirement of tailor made products in major cases which are not easily available with every company.¨ He further adds, We are fully geared up to meet the modern day to day challenges. Today we use the best quality of base oils with advanced additive chemistry. We have a team of qualified professionals who make the quality checks right from the input of raw material until the delivery of finished product to the end users. We develop high performance energy efficient lubricants from time to time. This calls for adequate viscometrics of oils coupled with frictional properties.
ExxonMobil offers a broad line of advanced lubricating oils and greases that can help increase equipment operating efficiency and engine fuel economy, and help contribute to reduced energy and resource use, lower emissions and cost savings for industrial equipment, machinery, passenger and commercial vehicle engines. Mobil industrial lubricants are geared to meet and exceed industry requirements through a suite of step-up technology lubricants designed to potentially deliver energy efficiency benefits. Says Karnik, Mobil Industrial Lubricants´ range of energy efficient lubricants currently includes the next-generation Mobil SHC 600 series, Mobil SHC Gear series, Mobil SHC Pegasus, Mobil SHC Cibus series, Mobil SHC 500 series and Mobil DTE 10 Excel series. In extensive testing, these technology-leading lubricants delivered significant energy savings compared to conventional oils. Since even small energy savings can translate into significant monetary and resource savings, the energy efficiency benefits offered by Mobil-branded industrial lubricants lead to achieving important gains in industrial energy efficiency. The ExxonMobil proprietary energy efficiency logo is a visible statement that users can easily recognise and be confident that they are purchasing and using Mobil Industrial Lubricants´ potentially energy-saving technology. According to Jha Shell was a pioneer in Low SAPS technology and has a fully developed portfolio of lubricants to meet these norms. Some of its range includes Shell Tellus S4 ME, which offers very long life, protection of equipment in severe (like high pressure) condition and energy efficiency. Shell has done collaborative work with pumps manufactures like Saur Danfoss to perform in energy efficient dry case hydraulic motors. Some other products are Rimula R6LME which offers very long drain interval, long engine life in all modern engines meeting EURO VI norms and offers energy efficiency; Shell Diala S4 ZX-I -The new range of Shell Diala transformer oils are based upon Gas to Liquid (GTL) technology; Shell Omala S5 Wind, designed with an innovative additive technology blended in a new generation very high performance Poly-Alpha-Olefin (PAO) base fluid that delivers an outstanding resistance to degradation throughout the maintenance interval, and Shell Turbo S4GX , turbine oil to meet severe requirement of latest high efficiency turbine systems. Shell Turbo S4GX made from GTL and offer outstanding long term performance under the most severe operating condition to minimise wear, deposit and sludge formation even cyclic peak load condition.
Advantage synthetic oils
Synthetic lubricants in all applications (both in industrial and automotive) are becoming more popular and widely used worldwide. Synthetic lubricants are chosen over mineral oils for variety of benefits including better protection of components at varied temperatures, better lubricity, better oxidation and thermal stability, extended oil drain intervals and more importantly reduced energy consumption. According to Jha the current consumption of synthetic lubricants is pegged at round 6 per cent of the global lubricants consumption, which is expected to be around 10 per cent by 2020. Jha says, ¨On industrial side, the scope for synthetic oils will be more prevailing in future and we are going to witness more customers in India choosing energy efficient lubricants in wider application arena like compressors, bearing lubrication etc.¨
Karnik sums up. ¨There is a lot of scope for synthetic oil-based lubricants since the industry is taking note of new technologies and is keen to achieve energy efficiency targets to ensure that their equipment run more efficiently and productivity gains are achieved. The response has been good till now and we expect that as awareness increases around the world, there will be more positive response from the industry in terms of adopting these newer technologies to ensure that their operations run much safer than now, with little impact on the environment and higher productivity gains.¨