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Understanding Lubricant Additives

The best way to protect your equipment is to apply the right lubricant at the right time and in the right quantities. This is the philosophy at Lubrication Engineers (LE) South Africa. But, says Callum Ford, National Marketing Manager, there’s one more principal worth bearing in mind: a good lubricant can become a great lubricant with the right additive.

“Lubricant additives are chemical components that get added to the lubricant to offer one or more specific functions in the fluid, when used in a range of specific applications,” he says. “LE has developed our own four proprietary additives that we use in our lubricants and we believe this allows us to provide the best possible product performance.”

LE’s additives are designed to help extend service intervals (resulting in reduced lubricant consumption), to increase equipment life, to reduce energy consumption, to improve reliability (which means less expensive downtime) and to minimize inventory through multi-purpose products.

The additives are:
Almasol®: a solid wear-reducing additive, which is able to withstand extremely heavy loads, chemical attack and extremely high temperatures. It minimises metal-to-metal contact and the resulting friction, heat and wear. This soft, tan powder has been incorporated into many of LE’s industrial lubricating oils and greases.

Monolec®: a wear-reducing additive, which vastly increases oil film strength and allows opposing surfaces to slide by one another, greatly reducing friction, heat and wear. It’s an invaluable component in many of LE’s engine oils, industrial oils and other lubricants, Monolec allows opposing metal surfaces to slide by one another, greatly reducing friction, heat and wear.

Duolec®: a dual-acting additive imparts synergistic properties to lubricants, providing both anti-wear (AW) and extreme pressure (EP) protection. Duolec increases oil film strength and is temperature-activated to provide a protective layer that smooths metal surfaces and minimises the effects of any contact, thereby reducing friction and preventing surface wear.

Quinplex®: an impact-resistant additive, which helps to form a barrier against corrosion and enables outstanding water resistance, tackiness and enhanced mechanical stability. The name Quinplex comes from the five principal characteristics this additive imparts to lubricants: tackiness, water resistance, cohesion, mechanical stability and corrosion resistance.

“In addition to our proprietary additives, we use various other additives to improve the quality and performance of our lubricants,” says Ford. These include anti-oxidants to resist the formation of acids, sludge, varnish and high oil viscosity, which increases oil viscosity, as well as corrosion inhibitors to protect against rust and corrosion. There are also extreme pressure (EP) and anti-wear agents to protect against shock loading, scuffing, galling, adhesive wear and abrasive wear, and foam inhibitors and air release agents.

“We also use demulsifying agents to enable the lubricant to separate from water faster, viscosity index improvers to increase the operational temperature range of the lubricant, and detergents, which keep equipment parts ‘clean’ in high temperature operations,” says Ford. “Finally, there are dispersants, which suspend foreign bodies within the lubricant by preventing them from collecting on engine parts to form sludge and varnish, and pour point depressants to lower the solidification temperature of the lubricant. One of the biggest myths we come up against is that a lubricant is a lubricant, but there is actually a huge amount of thought, science and data behind choosing the best lubrication for your specific application. This is why we suggest speaking to a lubricant specialist to ensure you’re getting the best product, and getting the most out of it.”