Cheap Wear Test Looking Good

Keywords: Wear Test, Grease,

A new test method designed to provide a more economical means to monitor for wear particles in grease is returning favorable results in round-robin testing, an industry panel was told last week.

Another working group of the European Lubricating Grease Institute heard that lubricants may get unfairly blamed for substances that are deemed as potential health hazards getting into foods.

Afton’s Joe Kaperick, head of the Grease Particle Evaluation Working Group on particle evaluation, reported results of a round-robin test program to determine the effective application of the Hegman gauge, which measures the size of particulate content in paint. The group is assessing whether the gauge would be a “quick and easy” alternative to more expensive contamination testing equipment. With 82 percent repeatability of results in a blind test by a group of 19 laboratories, the answer looks positive.

The Food-grade Lubricants Working Group discussed the feasibility of end-user demand for food-grade lubes that don’t contain mineral based lubricants of mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons and mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons, known as MOSH and MOAH – substances that are believed by some organizations to be harmful for human health.

The presence of a hydrocarbons molecule doesn’t tell you where it’s from, said working group Chairman Andre Adam, of Fragol, and so the mineral-based lubricating grease used in food production equipment maybe the wrong place to look. For example, a common food stuff such as coconut oil has MOAH in far higher levels than mineral-based base oil, but is not under scrutiny by food safety policymakers.

George Dodos from Greek lubricants company Eldon's headed up the Bio-based Working Group, which aimed to determine the parameters for a round-robin test for the cold-temperature performance of bio-based greases. Among the issues facing the group was whether or not to gather performance data of grease base oil, deciding on the test methodology and reluctance by some grease manufacturers to disclose proprietary data relating to test samples.

During the Test Methods and Rheology Working Group, Olaf Hoeger directed the focus towards the search for a reference grease. There is already a reference grease devised by ELGI’s U.S. counterpart, NLGI, and the group discussed whether it could be applicable to the European market or a new grease should be developed.

Terry Dicken, the outgoing chair of the Railway Grease Working Group, introduced Alder da Costa D'Ambrios, who proposed the development of top-of-the-rail grease friction and wear test series that mirrors real-life conditions. The aim is to develop a product standard for these types of materials in Europe, where there is currently no rail grease standard.