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February 10th , 2021

A SMOOTHER PATH TO PRECISION MACHINING

How advanced lubrication solutions can help machine shops slide their way into the lead

Machine shop owners are under pressure across-the-board. Lead times continue to reduce, the demand for machining accuracy has never been higher and regulatory requirements are adding complexity to to-day-day operations. Firms are feeling besieged from all directions, but maintaining an effective operation in the face of all these challenges is essential if business objectives are to be achieved. Part of the answer to safeguarding cutting accuracy and shop floor productivity is to ensure machinery is properly maintained and operating at peak efficiency, which requires the deployment of high performance lubricants. However, for machine shop operators, it’s not that simple.

Lubrication plays an integral role in reducing friction between rotating and moving components in a manufacturing plant. Indeed, in most applications, this is an oil’s main purpose, helping increase equipment availability, component quality and production uptime. Machine tools, however, demand a very different approach. To lubricate horizontal and vertical slideways, for example, simply reducing friction isn’t enough. Specifically-engineered lubricants are required to ensure smooth and controlled movement. Critically, the compatibility of this slideway oil with other lubricants in the machine tool can also have a significant effect on overall productivity.

This article explores the merits of premium-quality slideway oils, and how selecting the right formulation can help operators achieve their business goals.

Frictional Control

Slideway lubricants are intended to reduce friction, prevent wear and provide long-term protection against corrosion and rust. Without optimum frictional control, a condition known as ‘stick-slip’ can occur. This abnormal movement between slider and slideway can quickly depreciate the surface finish and quality of components, impacting tool life, causing excessive wear and long-lasting critical equipment damage. Smooth and precise movement on the slideway requires special attention to a lubricant’s frictional properties.

Fortunately, premium-quality slideway lubricants such as Mobil Vactra™ are an effective remedy for the stick-slip phenomenon. Engineered specifically for sensitive machine tool slideways, Mobil Vactra has been meticulously researched, tested and updated. It features a unique blend of additives, which work in synergy to adhere to the surface and ensure smooth transitions from static to dynamic frictional control. These properties offer maintenance professionals enhanced precision machining and tool life.

Compatibility with Aqueous Coolants

Many slideway oils have not been formulated to separate readily from aqueous coolants. This often creates ‘tramp oil’ on the surface of the coolant sump in the machine tool, compromising its effectiveness by shortening its service life. Excess surface tramp oil promotes bacterial growth, resulting in foul odour, sticky deposits and potential health and safety concerns for operators. To ensure that machine tools run smoothly, therefore, it is important to choose the right combination of premium quality slideway oil and aqueous cutting fluid. Mobil Vactra has been engineered to offer excellent separability between itself and a wide range of coolant types, including milky, micro-emulsion and fully-synthetic products. This enhanced compatibility supports long coolant life, avoids foul smells and enables optimal machining precision. By reducing the problems associated with cross-contamination, Mobil Vactra offers extended fluid life, easier waste management, reduced maintenance costs and an improved working environment.

Proven performance in the field

One of our longest-standing Mobil Vactra customers is from the Pays de La Loire region in France where they are running 160 machine tools using the product. “We have been using Mobil Vactra 2 for more than 30 years,” said the operator. “A few years ago, in an attempt to reduce costs, a cheaper slideway oil from another brand was deployed. Following the switch, we were quickly confronted with many problems including soapy deposit formations, which clogged cooling circuits. A return to the widespread use of Mobil Vactra 2 quickly eliminated these issues and saw a return to better performance levels. Given the time spent managing problems related to the use of the inferior quality product, this expense will no longer be called into question.” *

Backed by Builder Endorsements

But don’t just take Mobil’s word for it. Ask the machine tool builders. The technology behind Mobil Vactra is endorsed or approved by leading builders all over the world. Some even preferentially or exclusively endorse its use in their equipment. The products in the Series meet the DIN 51502 CGLP specification and, depending on the viscosity, the Fives Cincinnati approval. Always check your machine tool manual before final selection.

Insights are everything

Collaboration can be the key to finding new sources of competitive edge in a challenging business climate. Mobil’s Field Engineering team is highly skilled in working with machine shop operators to develop tailored Mobil™ lubrication solutions that offer peace-of-mind at every stage of production. This includes access to insights from a comprehensive range of specialist services, including Mobil ServSM Lubricant Analysis.

To find out more about our full range of solutions for machine shops and assembly plants visit oil.ie or contact thd@exxonmobil.com.

April 4th , 2017

HOW TO USE GREASE GUNS BY PETER SMITH, EXXONMOBIL LUBRICATION FIELD ENGINEER

One of the most familiar tools for on site lubricators is the simple grease gun. This is used to apply grease to internal bearings and machinery and ensure the proper lubrication required to prevent equipment failure. Using the traditional, manual grease gun however, can prove somewhat laborious, especially if you have to pump grease to lots of different locations on site.

For safer and more accurate grease lubrication, automatic grease guns are extremely useful. These allow for much easier grease application.  And, when equipped with a grease flow meter,  they ensure exact grease quantities can be applied. This prevents issues with over- or under-greasing of equipment bearings.

Peter Smith, ExxonMobil Lubrication Field Engineer, UK & Ireland

March 28th , 2017

THE GREASE EXPERTS: DOES THE COLOUR OF THE GREASE MATTER?

When we talk about grease with industrial operators, we often get asked about the significance of grease colour. For example, does it give any indication of product performance? Does it tell us anything about product formulation? Can it help us determine product compatibility? Should it be taken into consideration when selecting a grease? We posed these questions to grease formulator, Chris Decker, to learn the truth…

March 28th , 2017

SEEING BLACK SMOKE: IS YOUR DIESEL ENGINE COSTING YOU MONEY?

When you see black smoke coming from your diesel engine, that simply means that engine is operating at maximum power, right?

Wrong.

This is a common misconception. Black smoke billowing out of your engine does not indicate a machine is running at optimal power. Rather, it actually signifies that fuel is being wasted and that it might be affecting your bottom line.

In fact, wasted fuel can account for as much as 15% of total fuel costs for an engine, according to engine manufacturer Cummins.[1]

Consider an engine with a service life of 10,000 hours that burns 5.5 gallons of fuel per hour. Assuming fuel costs of $2.50 per gallon, this engine would amass $137,500 in total fuel costs during its life cycle.

10,000 Hr Eng Life x 5.5 Gal/Hr x $2.50/Gal Fuel = $137,500 Total Fuel Cost During Engine Life Cycle

If 15% of that cost is lost from wasted fuel, you’re losing $20,625 for each engine.

In addition to wasted fuel, the presence of black smoke can also lead to other issues. For example, not all the unburned fuel escapes from the exhaust, but rather washes down into the liners and into the crankcase oil — presenting yet another problem that can result in expensive repairs and lost revenue.

For these reasons, you should look to your oil analysis program to identify a possible soot alert to signify the presence of unburned fuel even before it turns into visible black smoke. The presence of soot could indicate any number of performance issues, including:

  • Over-extended Drain Intervals
  • Low Engine Temperatures
  • Improperly Sized Turbo
  • Worn or Broken Rings
  • Excessive Idling
  • Hung Valves
  • Wrong Fuel Rack Setting
  • Overfueling (Lugging)
  • Air Intake Restrictions
  • Crack or Leak in Muffler or Piping
  • Faulty Injectors

Improper Spray Pattern Causing Engine to Breathe Own Exhaust The next time you see black smoke or receive soot alert, you should take immediate steps to resolve the issue in order to save money on fuel, increase engine life, reduce operating cost and improve productivity

To find out more information contact a member of Burke Lubricants Technical Team 

March 3rd , 2017

STEEL MILL ENHANCES SAFETY AND GENERATES ANNUAL SAVINGS OF MORE THAN €17,000

What was the Trouble at the Mill?

In a bid to improve employee safety and lower operating costs, the steel mill operator contacted its local ExxonMobil representative, for help. They went to the mill to investigate and discovered that the facility was lubricating its rolling mill bearings with a competitor’s lithium-based mineral grease. By itself, this would not have been a problem, but the steel mill operates in extremely high temperatures that, when combined with high loads, softened the grease. This resulted in poor lubrication of the bearings, requiring operators to increase initial grease input and re-lubrication intervals. This led to excess grease leaking from the bearings onto the plant floor, which posed a slipping safety risk to employees.  

February 27th , 2017

WHAT ARE THE IMPACTS OF NATURAL REFRIGERANTS ON LUBRICANTS?

Alessandro Di Maio – Industrial Product Technical Advisor EAME ExxonMobil explains the impacts of natural refrigerants on lubricantsThe refrigeration industry is undergoing a transformation. Global environmental legislation, primarily intended to help protect the ozone layer, means businesses are increasingly adopting natural refrigerants – such as ammonia, carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrocarbons.

Europe is projected to be the fastest growing region in the market and has taken a clear direction towards phasing down hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) as a refrigerant, in particular, due to its widely known ozone depletion properties.

However, switching to natural alternatives presents a number of new challenges to operators and OEMs – not least when it comes to lubrication.

As refrigeration is among the most complex applications from a lubrication standpoint, I thought I’d share a summary of the challenges and benefits presented by natural refrigerants.

The fundamentals There are three main natural refrigerants:

• CO2 – projected to see the highest growth in the natural refrigerants market through to 2020; typically used in superstores and food retail chains for refrigeration and air conditioning applications.

• Ammonia – widely used in industrial refrigeration.

• Hydrocarbon – used in domestic appliances.

Let’s consider the pros and cons of the two industrial options.

Carbon dioxide – the best refrigeration option?

The principal advantage of CO2 is evident in its properties as a refrigerant. For example:

• CO2 has excellent heat transfer properties

• Low viscosity

• Insensitive to pressure losses

In addition, carbon dioxide has an ozone depletion potential (ODP) of 0 (zero) compared to up to 1.0 for HFCs, and it also has a global warming potential of 1 compared to up to 4,800 for HFCs.[i]

And there’s more good news with CO2:

• Size: CO2 systems are smaller than HFC-based ones and can be designed in various configurations, including ‘direct expansion’ and ‘secondary brine’.

• Cost: On average a system can pay for itself in three years.

• Safety: CO2 systems have low toxicity and are non-flammable.

However, CO2 is not suitable for retrofitting into HFC systems due to its higher operating and standstill pressures.

The lubrication of CO2 systems

The main lubrication challenges with CO2 are the high operating pressures and solubility. Both occur in subcritical cascade systems and trans-critical high-pressure applications.

High operating pressures (a standstill pressure of 50 to 130 bar) and temperatures place higher loads and stresses on bearings and other contacting parts in motion compared with HFCs. Also, because CO2 is more solvent than HFCs, lubricants for traditional applications cannot be used.

Fortunately, there are synthetic lubricants specifically designed for refrigeration applications that withstand the high solvency of the CO2. They also help protect against insufficient lubrication, which can result in increased bearing wear, reduced component life and increased maintenance costs. Inadequate lubrication can also result in improper sealing of clearances and loss of compression. This results in reduced compression efficiency, which can increase operating costs and energy consumption.

Looking at ammonia as a refrigerant

Ammonia refrigerants have a long history. They were actually less popular after the introduction of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the 1920s but are now making a return. Like CO2, ammonia refrigerants have their own distinct set of benefits and challenges.

Benefits of ammonia

Ammonia has thermodynamic heat transfer properties that allow for the use of equipment with smaller heat transfer areas, cutting manufacturing costs. Ammonia also tends to be cheaper than HFCs, while also being 3-10% more efficient, which helps reduce energy bills.

In terms of lubrication, ammonia’s low vapour pressure reduces oil consumption and the need for top-ups, while its low solvency helps prevent changes in viscosity, which helps ensure a wide temperature operating range. With a GWP and ODP of 0, ammonia is also one of the most environmentally attractive refrigerant options.

Challenges of ammonia

Although ammonia systems work at lower pressures than ones that employ CO2, they still require pressure-related preventative maintenance. This is especially important given the toxic nature of ammonia. It is also flammable, which means engineers need appropriate safety training to ensure careful handling.

Notably, ammonia is immiscible with most oils, which can reduce lubricant efficiency. Its high operating temperature can also diminish the efficiency of mineral oils, a problem that can be overcome by the use of synthetic oils.

However, despite these challenges and the rapidly growing popularity of CO2 refrigerants, there are still certain applications where ammonia refrigerants are popular.

Next generation lubricants

Advanced lubricants can help overcome the challenges presented by natural refrigerants. To that end, we have recently introduced two new products: Mobil SHC™ Gargoyle 80 POE, a synthetic oil for CO2 applications, and Mobil Gargoyle™ Arctic 68 NH, our most advanced mineral-based lubricant for ammonia applications.

We hope that has given you some useful insights into the complex – and changing – world of refrigeration lubricants.

February 6th , 2017

ENHANCING FOOD SAFETY (FOOD SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY MAGAZINE 2016)

Enhancing food safety with advanced lubricants


Rainer Lange, Mobil SHC Brand Advisor, EAME, ExxonMobil

In the food and beverage sector, with all the new regulations that focus on energy efficiency and the fast growth of the market, it is easy – but not advisable, to forget one of the most important elements of the industry – safety. The European Commission’s food law principles and requirements state that ‘it is necessary to adopt measures aimed at guaranteeing that unsafe food is not placed on the market’*, which is why food-grade lubricants are specifically developed to cause limited or no risk in case any incidental food contact occurs.

On average, in the US and Western Europe, only 25 per cent of total lubricants used in the food industry are food grade lubricants**. This statistic suggests that there is a need for food and beverage manufacturers to better understand the importance of food safety and reduction of contamination risk. Not only can the contamination of food products – which can occur when non-food grade lubricants are used – cause illness but it can also lead to costly product recalls which can affect profit and can also harm a company’s reputation. Accordingly, manufacturers need to manage this risk through proper application of the correct lubricants specifically developed to cause limited or no risk in the case of incidental food contact.


While safety does not depend on any one element, industrial lubricants are one of the factors that can help contribute towards the potential overall safety of a manufacturing plant. For example, ExxonMobil’s series of advanced NSF H1-registered food-grade lubricants, Mobil SHC Cibus and Mobil SHC Polyrex TM  greases, are engineered to deliver reliable equipment protection in a diverse range of operating conditions. Ideal for a wide range of applications, such as food, beverage and pharmaceutical processing, and animal feed manufacturing, Mobil SHC Cibus lubricants are also suitable under Halal and Kosher dietary law and are designed to be gluten-, nut- and wheat-free.

Allergens are a topic that is becoming increasingly important in the food industry. Recently, ExxonMobil reviewed a portfolio of its food grade lubricants, and announced that all Mobil products which are NSF H1 registered do not contain the potential allergens referred to in regulation (EU) 1169/2011/CE. Products such as Mobil Gargoyle Arctic SHC TM series, Mobil Glygoyle  TM series, Mobilgrease TM FM series, Mobil SHC Cibus series, and the Mobil SHC Polyrex series are formulated not to contain allergens like gluten, eggs, milk, nuts, fish, sulphur dioxide and sulphites at concentrations of more than 10 mg/kg or 10 mg/litre expressed as SO2.

A few years ago, ExxonMobil was the first lubricant provider to achieve ISO 22000:2005 certification for facilities that manufacture NSF H1-registered lubricants. This accreditation was for facilities that produced the Mobil SHC Cibus series, and later expanded to include the Mobil SHC Polyrex series of synthetic greases and the Mobilgrease FM series of multi-purpose greases.
The ISO 22000 certification is one of the most stringent and comprehensive food and beverage safety standards. Established by the International Organization of Standardization, ISO 22000 is a food safety management system with a set of specified requirements that ensure a company’s ability to control food safety at every step of the manufacturing process. 

Designed to enhance food safety initiatives, the Mobil SHC Cibus series complies with Title 21 CFR 178.3570 of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for lubricants with the potential for incidental food contact and are manufactured in facilities that meet the hygiene requirements of ISO 21469:2006.


In the context of the many challenges that accompany the strictly regulated food environment, lubricants are required to ensure optimum food safety as well as maximising equipment longevity and productivity.

References:
* Official Journal of European Communities -‘REGULATION (EC) No 178/2002 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL’, 2002, p. 2
**MarketsandMarkets report, p. 36

Link to: Food Science and Technology Magazine article 

For more information contact your local Burke Lubricants representative

October 28th , 2016

HOW TO TOP UP RIGHT AWAY

The clocks are changing, it’s our autumn bank holiday – click here to see how you can prepare for winter by carrying out an engine oil check.

Happy weekend and happy motoring!

September 7th , 2016

£21,600 SAVED ANNUALLY BY ENERGY COMPANY AFTER SWITCHING TO MOBIL PEGASUS™1005

 Situation: A district energy company in the United Kingdom operates several trigeneration sites that produce heat, power and chilled water.While lubricating its gas engines Caterpillar CAT 3516 C with a mineral-based oil, the company was achieving 1,000-hour oilchange intervals based on used-oil analysis results.

 Solution:After upgrading to Mobil Pegasus™ 1005, the company has extended oil drain intervals by 150 percent. After 2,500 hours of use,oil analysis has shown that the Mobil Pegasus 1005 was still suitable for application. The annual savings generated were calculatedat approximately £21,600 annually as a result of increasedequipment availability, reduced annual oil consumption/cost and lowermaintenance and oil disposal costs.

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