Machinery Lubrication

Machinery Lubrication March-April 2022

Machinery Lubrication magazine published by Noria Corporation

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34 | March - April 2022 | www . Paul Farless | Noria Corporation ENERGY CONSERVATION, HEALTH & ENVIRONMENT Factor: E4M Learn More: Factor: E4M — Energy Conservation, Health & Environmental Training Level: Platform (M) Stage: Energy Conservation, Health & Environment About: To implement lubri- cation excellence, all staff should receive training on the impact of lubricants on the environ- ment, ecological disposal options and strategies to reduce consumption and environmental impact. More about this ASCEND ™ Factor More and more these days, you will hear people (in a lmost any industry) talking about their concerns with locating a nd ac qu iri ng biodeg rad able lubricants. In most places, even non-machinery lubrication related, everyone seems to be very concerned with going green and utilizing biode- gradable containers and packaging. I personally think it's a great shift in our culture to not waste and litter as much. Going back to machinery lubrication, though, I often get asked a few questions about biode- gradability: What is it? How is it determined or measured? Why does it even matter? What is it? Biodegradability refers to the ability of an object or substance to decompose by way of bacteria or other living organisms. Examples of biodegradable objects include paper and food. However, "biode- gradable lubricant" is, to me, kind of a weird term. You see, petroleum or "crude oil" is a fossil fuel but not in the sense that it is old, degraded dinosaurs: a common misconception that even I believed for a long time. Petroleum is actually formed from 300-400 million-year-old aquatic phytoplankton and zooplankton: essentially really old algae. My point is that petroleum is inherently biode- gradable in nature. It is a product of millions of years of biodegradation. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that all lubricants are inher- ently biodegradable. As we all know in the lubrication industry, lubri- cants are made up of a lot more than just crude oil. Industrial oils and greases are complex and calculated combinations of specific base oils, thickeners and additives. Regarding lubricant biodegradability, we are mainly talking about lubricants that are READILY biodegradable, more along the lines of vegetable oils and some synthetic ester base stocks. Polyalkylene glycols (PAG) are generally a good biodegradable lubricant to use in place of vegetable oil and are manufactured in such a way as to increase the performance of the lubricant to meet a wider variety of requirements and conditions. What Industry Requires Biodegradable Lubricants? Genera lly, food processing requires biodegradable lubricants. How Does Oil Biodegradability Work?

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