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Home :: Lubricants :: Synthetic Lubricants - Why Use Them?

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An appropriate question to ask is,
"What are synthetic lubricants and why should I use them?"

The development and commercialization of synthetic lubricants have provided industry with a powerful tool to extend design and operating parameters, improve preventive maintenance and reduce operating cost. The use of synthetic lubricants did not suddenly occur but has been gradually developing since World War II. Their utilization has now been so integrated into the industrial market that it would be impossible to operate many modern industrial complexes without them.

Synthetics are manmade products and derive their name from the word "synthesis." Synthesis means a process of making or "building up" a compound by the union of simpler compounds or elements.

Synthetic lubricants are made by chemically reacting low molecular weight materials into higher molecular weight compounds to obtain a predetermined molecular configuration with predictable properties. Synthetic lubricant base stocks are essentially pure compounds.

By contrast, mineral oils are derived from crude petroleum by a refining process that yields a random mixture of complex hydrocarbon molecules possessing a variety of physical properties. The physical properties will vary depending on the crude oil from which they are derived.

The reason for choosing a synthetic will vary from application to application; however, the following five reasons should be carefully considered.

1. Reduced Maintenance Costs

In order to function as they were designed rotating equipment must be kept free of varnish and sludge. Unfortunately with mineral oils, varnish can plate out the rotors, gears, bearings, shafts and housings - leading to costly downtime and expensive repairs. Our synthetic lubricants' excellent solvency keeps your entire system clear of varnish and sludge while providing proper lubrication for extended bearing life.

The superior lubrication properties and low pour points of our synthetic lubricants protects your equipment in all kinds of weather. Seasonal lubricant changes are eliminated.

Our synthetic lubricants combine superior lubricating properties with special additives to provide your equipment with extended drain intervals, clean operation and reduced parts replacement, all of which significantly reduce total maintenance costs.

2. Reduced Lubricant Consumption

Our synthetic lubricants' excellent thermal stability, low volatility, excellent shear properties and superior oxidation resistance result in significant decreases in lubricant consumption when compared to conventional petroleum lubricants.

For example, when our synthetic lubricants are used in rotary compressors, the recommended drain interval can be extended from 1,000 hours to 8,000 hours or one year. Because of the lower vapor volatility, less lubricant leaves the compressor in vapor form.

When our synthetic gear oils are used in loaded gear sets, it is not uncommon to extend the drain interval by five to eight times that of petroleum lubricants.

When used as crank case lubricants in reciprocating compressors, not only can the drain interval be extended to one year, but make-up consumption can usually be reduced 20 to 30 percent. In larger machines, the lubricant that is fed to the cylinders can usually be reduced by up to 40 percent when compared to petroleum products.

The synthetic lubricants have excellent heat transfer properties and can provide significant temperature reduction in hot gear boxes and hydraulic systems. The reduced temperature extends the operating life of the lubricant.

3. Energy Savings.

A significant economic advantage achieved by the use of our synthetic lubricants is the improvement in thermal and mechanical efficiency which contributes to lower energy costs. Our synthetic lubricants exhibit lower coefficients of friction, high thermal stability, and superior hear-transfer capability. These inherent properties reduce the various forms of friction encountered and result in reduced power consumption and lower operating temperatures for your equipment.

Our synthetic lubricants, for example, have approximately a 20 percent lower coefficient of friction when compared to conventional petroleum lubricants. Furthermore, field studies have documented that overall efficiency improvements of three to seven percent can be expected from synthetic lubricants.

When multiplied over the life of your equipment, this can mean energy savings that add up to thousands of dollars.

4. Operating Safety.

The flash point of synthetic lubricants is approximately 100°F higher than that of comparable petroleum products, making them safer products for compressor use. More importantly, the autoignition temperature of synthetic lubricants is approximately 150°F above comparable petroleum products at all pressures.

Most fires and explosions in compressors and other lubricated equipment can be traced to deposits of carbon and excess lubricant which usually result from over-lubrication with an improper lubricant. Our synthetic lubricants' excellent cleaning action and superior oxidation resistance keep your system virtually carbon-free, providing you with an extra margin of safety.

5. Environmentally Friendly.

Governmental agencies are insisting that steps be taken to improve the quality of our environment. It is no longer acceptable to improperly dispose of spent lubricants. In most situations, it is now necessary to pay to have spent lubricants disposed of in an environmentally safe manner. Our synthetic lubricants last many times longer than petroleum lubricants resulting in significantly less volume and cost associated with their disposal.

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