Lubes Management Deserves Much Greater Attention
Lubricants provide a barrier between rubbing surfaces and prevent metallic wear. They consume 5% to 15% of the energy transmitted in order to provide this lubrication. This energy loss is used for overcoming churning losses and friction losses which are the load, viscosity and chemistry dependent.
In the past, when selecting the right lubricant for the right function, the energy aspect has not received due weightage. Energy efficiency can be improved by selecting the right viscosity lubricant and can also be improved by right selection and quantity of the additives. The savings in energy far outweighs the cost of the lubricant itself.
A selection of the correct lube oil involves the following steps.
- The correct base oil – The correct base oil is the one which will maintain its lubrication properties over a longer time. Synthetic oils are best. Double distillate, triple distillate also gives much better results than conventional base oil. Since synthetic oils cost 3 times, double/triple distillate lube oil can be mixed with synthetic oil
- The viscosity index of the lubricating oil should be very high in order to provide reliable lubrication at elevated temperatures.
- The basic viscosity of the oil should be as low as possible, without reaching boundary lubrication conditions.
- The choice of additives (11 additives in the LO), the quantity of the additives should be such as to provide the correct amount of protection. This package of additives will change with the functional requirements of the lubricating oil.
So much talk and action are focused on energy efficiency, related to fuel, hull condition, hull shape etc. The huge loss due to poor management of the choice of lubes and maintaining the lube condition has been missed out by the marine industry.