Environmental Lubricants Manufacturing (ELM) recently announced the expansion of its grease production with the addition of a second enhanced microwave reactor. ELM employs microwave technology for process heating in order to manufacture bio-based lithium-hydroxide-thickened greases. The technology is intended to improve product quality, increase production capacity and be energy efficient.
The new reaction system will grow ELM's product line to include greases based on aluminum or calcium-complex thickeners. The original lithium reactor relies on circulation for mixing during reaction, a method suited for greases that tend to be near liquid at high temperatures. The new microwave reactor is the first-of-its kind to include mixing arms, allowing for manufacturing greases that thicken during reaction, such as aluminum or calcium-based greases.
"Microwave heating reduces damage to the vegetable base oils during the reaction and allows a three-fold increase in production output for the same time as conventional batch heating methods," said Saeed Soleimani, ELM production manager.
With the new system, ELM expects to realize cost reductions of its finished products, in turn helping bio-lubes approach price parity with conventional products.
Established in 2000 to commercialize biotechnology developed at the University of Northern Iowa's National Agriculture-Based Lubricants Center, ELM's product portfolio includes railroad greases, drill rod greases, food machinery greases and wire rope lubricants.
For more information, visit www.elmusa.com.