Advice on switching to biolubricants in existing installations
Below, you will find advice on the application of biolubricants in existing installations, based on past experience.
- Contact the manufacturer of your installation. Consult your contractor or the supplier of your installation on the pros and cons of biolubricant application. The supplier should always be consulted about specific compatibility data regarding the materials used in the application.
- Pure plant oils are usually suited to open, low-tech applications. More advanced high-tech applications tend to require synthetic esters.
- Enquire after the operational temperature range and the hydrolytic stability of the biolubricant.
- When using automatic greasing systems, it is important to determine whether the existing grease can be mixed with the ecological variant and whether the relubrication intervals and quantities should be adjusted.
- Standard paint, such as coatings on storage tanks and pumps, is not suited to most biolubricants because a chemical reaction may occur, causing the lubricant to swell. When using biolubricants, it is recommended to use paint and coatings based on epoxy resin.
- Polyurethane products, such as paint, foam and glue, should not be used in combination with biolubricants. Please ask about alternatives.
- Instructions regarding filter clogging provided by filter manufacturers should be strictly observed and carried out regularly. Some suppliers offer periodic sampling.
- When selecting materials for seals, bear in mind that seals and filter material made of copper, tin and zinc are often unsuitable. Biolubricants grouped under category 1a and 1b according to ASTM D130 (American Society for Testing and Materials) can be used on copper alloys.
- Clean the equipment when replacing mineral products. Recurrent oil sampling may prevent (filter) failures, especially in equipment exposed to the environment and large temperature changes, condensation and polluting circumstances.
- Avoid mixing mineral oils and biolubricants in disconnectable equipment.
There have been a number of market developments since the first recommendation was written in 2003. For instance, the European Ecolabel for Lubricants was established in 2005 and revised in 2010. Additionally, the market has seen many new biolubricants that meet higher technical and environmental requirements owing to progressive insights and product innovation. Furthermore, innovations in equipment material are still taking place.
On this website 7 points of interest for the application of biolubricant are listed. Further information may be gained from contractors and lubricants suppliers. The selection of a biolubricant depends on the usage intensity and circumstances. Therefore, it is recommended to contact your supplier regarding the selection and combination of suitable lubricants and materials. For more tips on using biolubricants, visit the website of the German Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe.