Biodegradable Lubrication Oils for Modern Machinery
Since the dawn of civilization, lubrication has been used in industrial applications. Ancient Egyptians used olive oil and animal fats to grease chariot axles and place between large stones.
The industrial age coincided with the discovery of petroleum and crude oil quickly became the most popular lubricant for any metal on metal contact. But lubrication is not only used when metals continually rub against each other.
In machine cutting, drilling, bending and shaping, lubricants are indispensable. Not only does lubrication reduce friction it reduces heat build up due to friction. Cutting dies, saw blades and drill heads need heat dissipation to operate properly. If too much heat is created, the metal may crack or warp, rendering the tool useless.
The problems with petroleum lubricants are two fold. First, petroleum is an environmentally hazardous substance. Care must be taken in the use and disposal of used petroleum. Secondly, a large quantity of petroleum lubricants must be used in cutting applications. Oil is used to drench moving parts to dissipate heat. For companies whose business is cutting and drilling metals, disposal can become costly.
In an effort to reduce hazardous waste and provide a better lubrication product, some lube oil system manufacturers have returned to fatty oils as the base for machining lubricants. Such oils are non toxic and biodegradable. They also have many times more lubricity than most petroleum based machine oils. When chemical stabilizing additives are used in the fatty oils, friction reducing properties and heat dissipation is much improved. In some cases, the difference can be 300 times more efficient.
Because lubrication is superior, the quantity of lubricant used drops significantly. Rather than saturating both metals with lubricant, a small amount can be applied to the cutting or drilling surface. High tech applicators can be used to synchronize with the cutting or drilling machine to apply a small amount of biodegradable lubricant before each cut or drill. Lubricants are generally supplied through a nozzle and connected to a lubricant reservoir via hoses.
With substantially less lubricant used, waste material drops significantly. Because less lubricant is used, the standard method of parts washing with caustic chemicals is greatly reduced or eliminated. The small amounts of lubricant applied can also mean a safer and less slippery work area, as the risk of spillage is reduced. Finally, with synchronized application of a superior lubricant, the life expectancy of cutting parts and drill heads increases.