The Crucial Role of Proper Lubrication in Special Industries

Biju Nair, Avana Lubricants

The Crucial Role of Proper Lubrication in Special Industries

The lubrication process is commonly understood to enhance performance, but its core purpose lies in safeguarding machines from extreme conditions. Lubricants are pivotal in curbing friction, wear, and overheating while shielding against corrosion and contamination. This vital role spans across various industries like aerospace, marine, food and beverage, pharma, textile, and power generation.

Exploring lubrication's significance in specialized industrial sectors, today’s market demands that all companies, including many lubricant manufacturers in the UAE, are pivotal in crafting high-quality products tailored to diverse industry needs.

Common Lubricants Used in Special Industries

Liquid, semi-solid (grease), and solid (powder) lubricants each serve distinct machine requirements, tackling issues such as wear, corrosion, and temperature management, across a multitude of special industries. Liquid-form lubricants are formulated using high-quality base oil with advanced additives to offer exceptional performance along with complete protection from damage and breakdowns. Most times, these oils are applied to industrial machines through different methods such as drip, splash, force, spray, or mist, etc.

Oil-based lubricants are commonly used in industrial machines and equipment operating under high-speed and high-temperature conditions to prevent these machines from overheating, wear and tear, and corrosion. However, these oil lubricants have some major issues including leakage, degradation, oxidation and foam formation.

Some frequently used solid lubricants include graphite, molybdenum disulfide, boron nitride, fluoro polymers, calcium fluoride, and tungsten disulfide. These lubricants are normally used in machines and equipment that are not compatible with liquid and semi-solid lubricants. In such conditions, solid lubricants are used to reduce friction and minimize wear and tear on industrial machines. They are highly capable of preventing heavy contact and tension between machine components when they slide and roll over.

A solid lubrication program is highly crucial in most, if not all, industrial sectors, especially in machines and equipment operating under extreme temperatures and heavy workload conditions.

Let’s explore some of the major special industries in which efficient lubrication is highly important:

1. Aerospace

Lubrication is one of the most important aspects of the aerospace industry due to the complex nature of operation through various atmospheric and temperature conditions. Lubricants used in the aerospace industry are formulated with advanced technologies to better withstand high and low-pressure conditions, oxidation stability, resistance against corrosion and rust, and protection from particle contaminants.

Maintaining proper lubrication within an aircraft, most notably the engine, is essential due to the high friction it produces compared to automobile engines. Due to high friction, there is always the chance for overheating and the resulting heavy damage and engine failures or potential explosion.

2. Marine

The marine sector also requires high-level lubrication in order to withstand extremely low temperatures and resistance to corrosion and rust. Lubrication in the marine industry is not just focused on freight or passenger ships; it also covers the equipment and machines used in container harbor ports (such as overhead cranes and gantry cranes) mobile harbor cranes, fixed port solutions, straddle carriers, to name a few.

All these heavy-duty machines and equipment are heavily exposed to saltwater, rain, and high- and low-temperature conditions, so proper application of high-quality lubricants ensures smooth and easy functioning under all kinds of weather conditions.

Apart from port machines and equipment, lubrication is also important for ship engines. Ships normally have heavy-duty engines that operate with heavy friction and require more lubrication when compared with automobile or aircraft engines.

Lubrication on marine engine systems is implemented through four lubrication processes: (1) Hydrodynamic Lubrication, (2) Hydrostatic Lubrication, (3) Boundary Lubrication, and (4) Elasto-hydrodynamic Lubrication. The most popular marine engine oil grades include 1500 Marine Cylinder, Marine Cylinder Oil 1300, Marine Cylinder Oil 1000 and Marine Cylinder Oil 460..

These lubricants are formulated using advanced chemical technology to provide high resistance against corrosion and rust due to frequent exposure to saltwater. and ensure consistent performance and protection when operating under challenging conditions at sea.

3. Motorsports

Lubricants and lubrication play a significant connection with motorsports racing, but most of the time, the importance of lubrication doesn’t come to the limelight. Automobile racing is all about speed and performance, where every millisecond counts. The sport is not just about launching a powerful machine to the race track; instead, it depends on precision technology, engineering, and aerodynamics in a fast and dangerous environment.

On a race track, every corner, every acceleration, every gear shift, lockup, overtake, wheel to wheel-to-wheel battle can cause immense stress, heat, and pressure on the engine and moving parts of a racing machine. Lubrication is not just about reducing friction or protecting parts — it's about enhancing reliability, consistency, and durability in any kind of challenging conditions. Special oils and greases aren’t as important and consistent and timely maintenance on these high-powered machines.

4. Mining

Today’s mining industry is well equipped with highly sophisticated machines and equipment that help to increase production, but only if these machines are maintained with the proper lubrication system. Lubrication with high-quality lubricants is essential for mining machines in order to reduce friction and wear & tear, and providing steady performance and reliability under the most extreme temperature conditions.

Lubrication also helps these machines with easy energy transfer without overheating issues. Mining machines and equipment frequently operate in a dusty atmosphere so there is always a chance for contamination. Proper lubrication with top-quality lubricants that have detergent, anti-oxidation, and anti-foam formation properties help remove many of these contaminants and keep the lubrication system clean and functioning properly.

5. Food and Beverage

Lubrication is one of the most critical parts of the food and beverage manufacturing industry due to the application of integrated automation and IoT technology solutions. Food production using automation involves several steps like raw material quality detection, raw material washing and purifying, Ingredient mixing, production processing, packing, etc. Most these processes are now heavily automated.

Such machines on these production lines require efficient lubrication in order to operate fluently without interruptions or failure. This is mainly facilitated via the integration of robotics and IT.

Lubrication is also important in food and beverage to secure the integrity and safety of food products we consume. The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) has issued a list of lubricants with standards and regulations, especially for the food and beverage manufacturing industry. These NSF-rated lubricants are safe-to-use and nontoxic in machines and equipment for food manufacturing.

6. Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Similar to the food and beverage industry, lubrication plays a crucial role in the pharmaceutical industry. Manufacturing of medicines has changed a lot due to the application of robotics and automation with IoT technology. Most of the lubrication processes in pharmaceutical manufacturing units are implemented using automated systems.

The pharmaceutical manufacturing process involves a series of machines and equipment in that product line that is operating continuously at high speed for longer durations. So, it’s essential to give an optimum level of lubrication for these machines in order to run the entire production process smoothly and seamlessly without any breakdowns or downtimes.

Another important role of lubrication in a pharma manufacturing facility is resistance against corrosion. Since most of these machines operate with the support of components such as rollers, spines, and ball bearings, efficient lubrication is crucial to prevent corrosion and rust.

7. Textile

Textile Industry is another sector where automation and machine technologies are widely used. Textile manufacturing with automation systems requires efficient lubrication and depends more on robotic control mechanisms because of the high number of small and large moving components. Therefore, it is highly essential to provide frequent and constant lubrication to prevent sudden breakdowns and damages.

Some of the major automated machines that come under the serial production lines include spinning machines, knitting machines, weaving machines, finishing machines, and stenter frames. All these machines require a proper level of lubrication to get maximum productivity with fewer downtime periods.

8. Energy & Power Generation

Most of the power generation units are equipped with heavy-duty machines such as turbines, generators, transformers and condensers, which operate under challenging conditions. Lubrication is essential for these heavy-duty machines for smooth and seamless functioning minimizing downtime under extremely heavy workloads with high-pressure and extreme temperature conditions.

These heavy-duty machines are frequently subjected to sudden breakdowns and damage, and they also have high chances of explosion due to overheating. Therefore, efficient lubrication with high-quality engine oil will help these machines to withstand or overcome such challenges.

9. Agriculture

Today’s technologies have made farming easier and safer when compared to practices followed in the past. Some of the major farming machine technologies currently used are combine harvesters, cultivators, tractors, mower, harvester, planter, air seeders, sprayers, saw mill, pavers, balers, fertilizer spreaders, corn pickers, just to name a few.

Most of these heavy-duty machines operate under high-workload conditions and require consistent lubrication. Proper lubrication in these heavy-duty machines will help maximize performance and increase productivity and reduce downtime by minimizing friction, wear & tear, and helping to prevent overheating issues, breakdowns, and failure.

10. Construction

The construction industry also operates under extreme pressure and heavy-duty conditions. Almost all the machines and equipment operating in the construction and engineering industry are subjected to extreme wear & tear and overheating due to the heavy workload and temperature situations.

Some of the major heavy-duty machines frequently used in the construction sector include excavators, loader trenchers, bulldozers, backhoes, backhoe loaders, forklifts, dragline excavators, skid-steer loaders, compactors, feller bunchers, articulated haulers, and motor graders. Proper lubrication on these machines helps to reduce friction and wear & tear and helps improve their performance and operate efficiently harsh conditions over a long period of time.

11. Railways

Railways are another industrial sector where lubrication is widely applied, and grease lubricants are commonly used for these purposes. In the railway sector, lubrication is minimizes the friction between train wheels and rail tracks. Improper or inadequate lubrication can negatively impact the lifespan of rails, leading to frequent replacements and possible derailment.

Lubrication is also vital in the curves of railway tracks where side-cutting of rails often occurs, and regular rail lubrication is essential to increase the longevity of railway tracks.


The lubrication process is vital across all industrial sectors in order to meet the different challenges and requirements unique to each industry. From high-pressure environments to heavy workload conditions, lubrication with high-quality lubricants plays a highly important role in ensuring the reliability and efficiency of machines and providing longer lifespans.

Deploying steady and consistent lubrication practices in accordance with industry-specific requirements leads to enhancing performance, decreased downtime, and maintaining operational excellence with increased productivity.

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