Petron Plus Global Inc.

Lubrication Tips








 POLYALPHAOLEFINS (PAO) .  .    .    .    .    .    .     .     EXCELLENT

POLYOL ESTERS (POE) .     .    .     .    .    .    .    .    .      GOOD/VERY GOOD

DIBASIC ACID ESTERS .     .    .     .     .    .    .    .    .      VERY GOOD

POLYALKYLENE GLYCOLS .    .    .    .     .     .    .    .    POOR

POLYETHYLENE GLYCOLS .     .     .    .    .    .    .    .    POOR


POLYPROPYLENE GLYCOLS .     .     .    .    .    .    .      POOR

DIALKL BENZENE .     .     .     .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .      GOOD/VERY GOOD

PHOSPHATE ESTERS .     .     .     .    .    .    .    .    .    .    POOR/FAIR

DIESTERS .     .     .     .     .     .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    GOOD/VERY GOOD

POLYPHENYL ESTERS .     .     .     .    .    .    .    .    .    .  FAIR/GOOD

SILICONE FLUIDS .     .     .     .     .    .    .    .    .    .    .    . POOR

SILICATE ESTERS .     .     .     .     .    .    .    .    .    .    .     FAIR

CYCLOALIPHATICS .     .     .     .     .    .    .    .    .    .    .   VERY GOOD

POLYBUTENES .     .     .     .     .     .    .    .    .    .    .    .     EXCELLENT

POLYISOBUTYLENE .     .     .     .     .    .    .    .    .    .    .  EXCELLENT




To most plant manager's, maintenance supervisor's, and purchasing agents the purchase price is the deciding factor when buying lubricants.  While the initial cost of synthetic lubricants are often five-times the cost that of petroleum-based lubricants, is certainly a factor, but should not be the only factor.  The type and age of equipment, severity of service, final product, operating temperatures, geographical location of your plant should be used to help determine on whether to use synthetic or petroleum-based lubricants.


    1.  Purchase price shouldn't be the sole deciding factor in choosing a

    2.  Synthetics are often cheaper to use than petroleum-based lubricants,
though they are priced much higher.

    3.  Petroleum-based lubes remain the best choice for certain applications.


 The basic difference between petroleum-based and synthetic lubricants is the base fluid.  Petroleum-base lubricants are extracted from natural crude oil, and must be refined, desalted, dewaxed, and distilled from crude feedstock.  These base fluids are made up of a great variety of naturally occurring hydrocarbons arranged in many molecular configurations.  There are families of hydrocarbons that are segregated throughout the refining of crude oil.

 Synthetic lubricants, which have been in existence for more than half of the roughly 100 years during which time petroleum-based lubricants have been used by major industrial plants, are developed in research laboratories.  When something is synthetic, it has been created through the combination of separate parts into a whole (synthesized).  As a chemical term, synthetic refers to a compound formed through a chemical reaction that did not occur naturally.  The entire molecular structure of a synthetic lubricant is determined by tailored, tightly controlled chemical reactions; hence, the higher cost of synthetic lubricants.

 Different synthetic lubricants are made from different base fluids.  Table 1 below compares the properties of four (4) different base stocks.  Here are some facts about three (3) common synthetic base fluids.

ORGANIC ESTERS are made up of dibasic acid esters or polyol esters.  Both can be used at temperatures exceeding 400°F.  Dibasic acids are particularly effective as base fluids for compressor lubricants, while polyol esters are used in lubricants for industrial chains and gas turbines.

PHOSPHATE ESTERS serve as the base fluid for many lubricants used where there is a risk of fire.

SYNTHETIC HYDROCARBON FLUIDS (SHF) are manufactured by combining hydrocarbons of butylene or ethylene to create a polyalphaolefin (PAO) base fluid.  SHF bases are used in numerous applications because of their superior temperature range and lubricating properties.




                                                           BASE FLUID

Property                                             Petroleum Oil      Organic Esters            Phosphate Esters          PAO

 Lubricity                                             Good                     Excellent                             Fair                             Good

Elastomer Compatibility                  Good                     Fair                                       Poor                           Excellent

Additive Response                           Good                     Excellent                             Good                           Fair

Volatility                                              Fair                        Excellent                             Fair                             Excellent

Oxidation Stability                            Fair                        Excellent                             Fair                             Excellent

Compatibility with Petroleum        Excellent             Excellent                              Good                          Excellent

Temperature Range                         Fair                        Excellent                            Fair                             Excellent

Fire Resistance                                 Poor                      Good                                    Excellent                   Fair



 There is no question that synthetic lubricants have demonstrated advantages over petroleum-based products in several areas.

 ·  Extended Oil Drains.  Due to the thermal and oxidative stability of synthetic lubricants, oil drain intervals can be greatly extended.

·  Energy Savings.  Synthetic lubricants' viscosity index, friction properties, and heat transfer characteristics result in measurably less horsepower required to drive equipment in both hot and cold environments.

·  Fire Resistance.  Because the high flash point of synthetic lubricants reduces the risk of fire, some insurance companies charge lower premiums for plants using synthetic lubricants.

·  Fewer Deposits.  Because of their oxidative stability at high temperatures, synthetics leave very few deposits.  The resulting decrease in equipment wear often results in fewer repairs and down time.

·  Higher Operating Speeds.  The excellent heat transfer characteristics of synthetic lubricants may allow   equipment to run at higher speeds, resulting in more output.



 No matter what size the plant, there are several applications for which synthetic lubricants are highly recommended.

 Air Compressor Duty.  Nearly every air compressor manufacturer recommends draining a synthetic lubricant after 8,000 hours, as opposed to 1,000 hours with a petroleum-based lubricant.  Aside from drain intervals, air compressors require a lubricant which provides excellent oxidation resistance, because they compress air at very high temperatures, often 250°F and higher.

 Extreme Temperature Duty.  Synthetic lubricants have superior viscosity-to-temperature characteristics that make them especially suitable for use in refrigerators, ovens, or plants in hot or cold climates.

 Continuous Duty.  When equipment shutdowns for oil changes absolutely must be minimized, synthetics are the obvious choice because they need to be changed so infrequently.  Plants that run an assembly line-type process -- meaning if one piece of equipment is down, all production stops -- may find the use of synthetic lubricants most economical.



 Here are several applications where petroleum-based lubricants shine.

 High Consumption Applications.  The classic example is equipment that has accumulated very many operating hours and become worn, resulting in increased lubricant consumption.  Because of their low initial cost, petroleum-based lubricants are the much more economical option in high-consumption applications.

 Once-Through Applications.  Petroleum-based lubricants are always the economical option in equipment that has no reservoir -- applications in which oil sprays into the cylinder, lubricates the piston, and then blows down line as in gas compressors.

 Product Contamination Applications.  In a natural gas liquid processing plant, neither synthetic nor petroleum-based lubricants can completely escape contamination by the final product when it enters the crankcase.

 The resulting need for frequent oil changes points to petroleum-based lubricants because of their lesser unit cost.

 Very Dirty or Dusty Environments.  Unlike automotive motor oils that are designed to suspend dirt and deposits, industrial oils are designed to clean, cool, and seal the equipment they are lubricating.  Neither synthetic nor petroleum-based lubricants are designed to suspend dirt and dust blown into the equipment from the exterior.  Therefore, petroleum-based lubricants are the cost-effective choice for equipment operated in extremely dirty or dusty environments.


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