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Is it possible to save money and at the same time increase productivity while minimizing negative effects on the environment? Long-life oils reduce oil consumption, waste, and CO2 emissions. High-performance characteristics offer greater productivity due to reduced downtime and lead to enhanced machine reliability and availability. If oils also are biodegradable and have low toxicity, any spill will have a reduced impact on the environment. The following key factors are critical for a high-tech lubricant: technology, ecology, and economy. If criteria in these areas are addressed and well balanced, lubricant concepts will provide sustainable solutions. Because of the longer operating life of such oils, appropriate monitoring and upkeep are recommended as preventive maintenance. Through regular oil analyses, necessary measures can be taken in good time if required. Top-tier environmentally considerate lubricant (ECL) profiles (biodegradable and with low toxicity) ensure a minimal negative effect on the environment in the event of an accidental spill. Longevity leads to fewer oil changes and thus reduces CO2 emissions. Better lubricity leads to less friction, causing less energy loss or increased output in mechanical systems such as hydraulics, gear boxes, engines, and bearings in general. In this paper, several issues are discussed. A life cycle assessment is performed comparing a mineral oil and a synthetic ester-based hydraulic fluid. The benefits of top-tier ECLs with regard to their effects on air, soil, and water are differentiated. Finally, field experience with a large railway tamping machine fully equipped with responsible lubricants is reported. In addition to the technical experience acquired over several years, a reduction in CO2 emissions is illustrated, which leads to a smaller carbon footprint.
Co-owner and Board Member, PANOLIN International Inc., PANOLIN Group, Madetswil/Zurich,
Technical Customer Support, PANOLIN, Madetswil/Zurich,
Trainee, PANOLIN, Madetswil/Zurich,