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Using specialty lubricants in cement plants – part two

World Cement,

Achieving energy efficiency using advanced speciality lubricants

The energy efficiency of installations is defined largely by the original engineering design. However, after installation, proper maintenance ensures that maximum energy efficiency is realised in practice. Speciality lubricants can play a major role in this context by reducing friction and temperature. This results in greater energy efficiency of the machinery. Speciality lubricants also last for a longer time and support environmental sustainability.

For example, by replacing a mineral oil with a synthetic oil such as Klüber Summit SH-46 in a screw compressor, oil change intervals can be extended from 4000 hours to 10 000 hours, and operating temperatures can be reduced by 10%. This reduction in temperature is a direct indication of the improvement in energy efficiency. Approximately u2000 can be saved per compressor per year. Similarly, gear drive performance can be improved by changing over from mineral to synthetic gear oils. The savings can be significant when the entire gamut of machinery where energy reduction is possible is taken into consideration.

On-site services in technical and performance management

Lubricants have great potential to help operators reach their sustainability goal and at the same time improve operational excellence. However, it is important to partner with the right lubricant supplier who not only supplies the product but also provides the right consultation at the right time.

Having a tribology expert from the lubricant supplier is often beneficial as every cement plant has its own set of opportunities and challenges. Individual consultation is important in order to achieve operational excellence. Open gears is one such area where substantial benefits can be easily realised. Tribology experts will help with periodic inspection, documentation, running-in and repair services. For open gear drives, they help in controlling and modifying tooth flank surface roughness, contact ratio, load distribution, removal of surface pitting and ultimately tooth flank repair wherever possible. This helps improve energy efficiency and increase the service life of girth gears and pinions. Millions are spent every year on corrective and remedial engineering and maintenance actions. These actions can be alleviated at the source with proper consultation.


Modern speciality lubricants, combined with proper consultation, have pushed the limits of operational excellence, cost effectiveness and environmental sustainability. Simple, yet comprehensive strategies such as reducing consumption of open gear lubricants, bio-lubricants, energy efficient lubricants and on-site services have opened new opportunities for improvement. This is possible only with the close cooperation of operators, lubricant suppliers and OEMs.

This is part two of a two-part article written for World Cement’s March issue and abridged for the website. Subscribers can read the full issue by signing in, and can also catch up on-the-go via our new app for Apple and Android. Non-subscribers can access a preview of the December 2015 issue here.

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