Producing greases faster and more economically

OWI develops new measuring method

14 February 2020 –

The Oel-Waerme-Institut wants to develop a new measuring method to accelerate the process of manufacturing lubricating greases and thus make it more cost-effective. Photo: OWI

In a current research project, the OWI Oel-Waerme-Institut wants to develop a new measuring method with which the process of manufacturing lubricating greases can be accelerated and thus become more cost-effective. The quality of lubricating greases depends to a large extent on the manufacturing process in which the grease constituents base oil and thickener should be homogeneously mixed. Determining the homogeneous distribution of the thickener during the development process is complex and expensive. With the new measuring method to be developed, the “time-to-market” and “cost-to-market” in the manufacturing process of the grease formulation should be reduced and the operational reliability of the grease in the later application should be ensured.

The integration of a measuring method into the real-time monitoring of the grease production process is intended to enable continuous quality control instead of the random checks of the stirring process that have been common up to now. Furthermore, the method could be integrated into the regulation and control process of the production. Such a test procedure could be useful above all for lubricant and additive developers, equipment manufacturers and users, but could also be used by testing institutes or analytical laboratories.

Lubricants are an important component in almost every mechanical process. Tribological systems, such as windscreen wipers of vehicles, are often lubricated for life, so that damage and failure of the lubricant in such systems can cause a total loss. By ensuring homogeneous grease formulations, this damage can be reduced and the value of the system increased.

Depending on the measuring method and the size of the tribological system, it is also possible to integrate the measuring method into the tribological system, thus enabling in-situ monitoring of the lubrication process. This can cover both the general condition of the lubricity as well as the detection of mixing effects of old and new goods in relubrication operated systems and thus the loss or restriction of lubricity can be detected at an early stage. As a result, downtimes of machines and vehicles or even recourse claims against supplier industries can be prevented or reduced, which in turn reduces downtimes of companies.

The IGF project 20867 N of the research association German Society for Petroleum and Coal Science and Technology e.V. – DGMK, Überseering 40, 22297 Hamburg is funded through the AiF as part of the program for promoting joint industrial research (IGF) by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy based on a German Federal Parliament resolution.


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