Lubricants are persistently at work around us. They safeguard our machinery, vehicles, and much more. They have been doing so for a long time- far longer than you can imagine. Lubricants Industry are mainly used to reduce friction and cool surfaces that are in touch with one another. They also help in protecting such surfaces from wear and damages. This article provides comprehensive details about how lubricants evolved into high-performance products, key developments, and the future of this industry.
A Journey Through Time: Ancient, Medieval & Industrial Age of Lubricants
Ever since the bearings were invented, human beings tried to make them operate smoothly by using lubricants. The first bearings were used in Mesopotamia during the Copper Age (4,500-3,300 BCE). However, they were in the form of wheeled carts and potters’ wheels. While there is no archaeological evidence of the usage of lubricating oils, there are high chances that the operators belonging to this era utilized animal fat, water, or even blood to prevent the charring of wood from friction.
The next true evolution in lubrication came from Leonardo da Vinci, also known as the ‘father of invention.’ He came up with the idea that the coefficient of friction is the ratio of its force to the weight or load applied. He then developed self-oiling systems for roller bearing attachments and axle ends. He may have lubricated his inventions with poppy seed or rapeseed oil, suet, and tallow- all in use during his time in Italy. Black slugs were used for wooden axles as a grease in pre-industrial Sweden.
Much later, in the mid-19th century, the first industrial development of oil fields took place. Natural oils were taken over by petroleum-based mineral oils, and the new age of lubrication technology began. In today’s world, lubricants are highly advanced as they are developed by using complex chemical methods that are designed to increase their potential to the absolute limit. They are equipped with synthetic formulations that are created over extensive laboratory testing to eliminate those issues that the users have faced in the past.
Scientists of Samara Polytech Develop High-temperature Lubricants
In December 2019, a group of scientists belonging to the Organic Chemistry Department of Samara Polytech announced that they have developed a few methods for producing high-temperature lubricants that are suitable for gas turbine engines. The project was conducted under the leadership of Professor Yuriy Klimochkin, and the results of the studies were published in the ‘Petroleum Chemistry’ journal. According to scientists, the aviation industry is developing at a fast pace. Therefore, the requirements for efficient lubricants are increasing day by day. Amongst all the requirements, the most crucial one is high thermo-oxidative stability. The team has achieved this by synthesizing oil composition with esters that were received from adamantane derivatives.
FUCHS Group Acquires Nye Lubricants to Widen Product Portfolio
The FUCHS Group, a developer, producer, and distributor of lubricants and related specialties, headquartered in Mannheim, declared that it is set to acquire Nye Lubricants Inc., a manufacturer of industrial lubricants, based in the U.S. FUCHS has already signed an agreement in October 2019. This acquisition would help the company in broadening its specialty lubricants product portfolio. It would also be able to provide novel engineered solutions to several industries and create opportunities to serve critical and high-end applications. As per the officials of Nye, the company’s mission is to collaborate with prominent organizations and provide highly-advanced lubricants by using its engineering expertise and leading-edge technology. It is expected to create a blend of its deep technical knowledge, proven experience, and integrity to resolve the toughest challenges of its consumer base. It would mainly focus on the aerospace and in-vacuum, medical, and automotive industries.
What Does the Future of Lubricants Industry Look Like?
For decades, lubricant providers have been upsurging the mileage between oil changes and inserting more fuel efficiency from combustion engines. From Nissan Motor Co. to Volkswagen AG, car companies are inclining towards battery-powered models that utilize few greases than the combustion vehicles. The demand for the latter is anticipated to decline, beginning from the year 2025. Hence, electric vehicles present a new set of problems to the position of the lubricant makers. Under the circumstances, they need such a grease that can lubricate and cool down the motor, while being compatible with non-metal materials, such as plastic and safeguard the electronics on-board.
Moreover, research analysts from Fortune Business Insights™, a renowned market research company, states that the governments of several countries around the world are supporting the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to use lubricants. The main aim of such initiatives is to develop energy-saving engines and create more environmentally friendly products. Overall, the industry is set to showcase a steady growth in the future.