Each year at the National Lubricating Grease Institute annual meeting, technical papers are presented on various subjects dealing with the manufacturing of greases, innovations in testing of greases, new performance-enhancing additives for greases and new thickener systems. The 76th annual meeting of NLGI will be held June 13-16 at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Ariz. This year's sessions will present technical papers of interest to general industry. What follows are abstracts of just a few of these papers.

Title: "Food-Grade High-Temperature Grease"
Speaker: Tyler Housel, Inolex Chemical Company, USA
Abstract: High-viscosity synthetic esters have been used in high-temperature industrial lubricants for many years. They are effective up to 288 degrees Celsius (550 Fahrenheit) and show little evaporation or oxidative degradation compared to other common lubricant basestocks. Inolex recently developed a synthetic ester that has been awarded the prestigious NSF HX1 ranking for use in indirect food contact applications. The wide industrial acceptance of synthetic esters suggests that food-processing plants will also benefit from the long-lasting, clean lubrication they provide. This paper describes high-temperature food-grade greases made from this unique basestock.

Title: "The Changes in the Global Base Oil Market and Their Potential Impact on the Grease Industry"
Speaker: Valentina Serra-Holm and Luis Bastardo-Zambrano, Nynas AB, Sweden
Abstract: The global base oil market is going through a period of great changes and challenges. First, the rationalization of Group I production is no longer a possible scenario; it has become reality. Secondly, the global capacity of Group II and Group III base oils has significantly increased during the last years, and new capacity has been announced to come on stream in the coming years. In the unpredictability of global events, one thing appears quite likely - the future base oil market will be very different from the way it looks today. But how is the base oil market changing? And, why?

Title: "Lubricating Grease for Plastic Gear"
Speaker: Daisuke Tsutsui, Kyodo Yushi Company Ltd., Japan
Abstract: In recent years, plastic gearing has become widely used in the automotive industry because of its contribution to reducing production costs and the total weight of a vehicle. Typical applications include a reduction gear used for an electric power steering system, a wiper motor, a door lock actuator and a power window motor. The tooth surfaces of every plastic gear are grease-lubricated. Greases used for these gears are required to exhibit excellent tribological behavior to prevent wear, friction and stick-slip as well as plastic part compatibility. Wear is one of the direct causes of damaged gears and shortened life. Friction and stick-slip severely impede efficient gear operation. In a study, plastic gear greases were evaluated, focusing on the above-mentioned properties based upon results of laboratory experiments simulating operating conditions of actual automotive plastic gears.

Title: "Development of Greases with Extended Grease and Bearing Life Using Pressure Differential Scanning Calorimetry and Wheel Bearing Life Testing"
Speaker: William C. Ward Jr. and Gareth Fish, Ph.D., The Lubrizol Corporation, USA
Abstract: Numerous factors impact the design of greases formulated to provide extended grease and bearing life. Not only is the choice of base oil and thickener important, but also antagonistic relationships between the components in grease may occur when formulating high-performance greases. For long bearing life, greases in particular, balancing oxidation, load-carrying capacity and wear are key requirements. To provide an acceptable package in global markets, environmental considerations also must be given to the grease components. In North America, the ASTM D3527 wheel bearing life test represents a measure of performance for automotive service grease under GB or GC requirements of the ASTM D4950 standard classification. The test is considered a bearing oxidation test for grease. In Europe, the FAG FE-9 test is widely used to define bearing oxidation life. An alternative, non-bearing method of measuring the oxidative stability characteristics of grease is pressure differential scanning calorimetry (PDSC) as measured by the ASTM D5483 test. Some published work has shown a correlation between the two methods among different types of grease. This paper describes the use of D5483 and the D3527 tests as a guide to formulate prototype extended bearing life greases and to understand the contribution of different formulation factors on oxidation, including base grease and additive. The performance of selected greases was then verified by using standard FAG FE-8 (DIN 51819-2) and FE-9 (DIN 51821-2) testing.

Please join us in Tucson as these industry experts present and discuss their papers, followed by question-and-answer periods. For additional information regarding NLGI and the upcoming annual meeting, visit the NLGI Web site at www.nlgi.org.

About the Author
Bill Kersey is the new business development manager for Fuchs Lubricants Company and is the vice president of the National Lubricating Grease Institute. To learn more, visit www.nlgi.org.