What is NLGI?

Sandy Cowan, NLGI

NLGI is a not-for-profit organization that serves the lubricating grease industry. The first National Lubricating Grease Institute meeting took place on June 29, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois. The meeting was initiated by J.R. Battenfeld of Battenfeld Grease and Oil Corporation, W.H. Saunders of International Lubricant Corporation, and Guy Peters of Peters Oil Craft Incorporated. NLGI's current objectives remain similar to the objectives established more than 70 years ago.

Its mission is to distribute information pertinent to the manufacture and use of lubricating grease. Today, NLGI has more than 200 member companies representing 26 countries worldwide. Members include grease manufacturers, additive suppliers, distributors, OEMs, end users, educators and equipment manufacturers.

Standards and Systems

In 1939, the institute developed a standard classification for grease penetration numbers that remains widely used today. The NLGI number system categorizes greases according to their hardness, from an NLGI No. 000 through No. 6, with an NLGI No. 2 being the most common. In conjunction with several other organizations, NLGI also established a standard for the classification of automotive service greases.

To facilitate easy identification, NLGI created an identifying symbol, the NLGI Certification Mark, which identifies acceptable greases for use as a chassis lubricant (LB) and greases that are acceptable for both chassis and wheel bearing lubrication (GC-LB). These symbols continue to be popular with OEMs, suppliers and consumers.

Educating the Masses

Since its inception in 1933, NLGI has conducted an annual meeting, which has traditionally taken place the last week in October. In 2007, however, the meeting will take place in June. Anyone who would like to learn more about grease and grease-related applications is invited to attend. Registration is open to both members and nonmembers.

Presentations on similar topics are grouped together into sessions that traditionally cover subjects such as grease manufacture, marketing, applications, product testing, environmental issues, extending equipment life and government regulations. Panel discussions are typically offered with experts addressing a specific grease-related topic. NLGI's annual conference presents many opportunities for networking and fellowship in addition to providing information and training opportunities.

The organization offers one of the most extensive and unique grease education programs in the industry. These courses run concurrently with the technical presentations during the annual meeting. They include a basic education course for grease industry beginners and for people from other industries who want to learn more about grease.

They also offer an advanced grease education course that provides more extensive information, and an application and maintenance course designed for end users and marketing personnel with the need for a better understanding of how to select and apply the best grease for the application.

NLGI's education courses cover topics such as the strengths and weaknesses of various grease types, grease manufacturing, testing methods, the significance of test results, additives, toxicological considerations, base oils, applications and new advances in the grease industry. The course instructors are specialists in the various fields covered.

At Your Service

As a further service to the grease industry, NLGI publishes a monthly magazine titled The Spokesman. This magazine includes articles on various grease-related topics, industry updates, and often includes questions from NLGI's popular feature, "Ask the Expert." A Spokesman index identifies articles available for purchase from NLGI on various grease-related topics.

NLGI has developed many materials that are beneficial to those with an interest in obtaining grease-related information. The organization conducts one of the most thorough grease surveys in the world. This survey provides the percentage and volumes of various grease types according to country designations. NLGI recently issued a new revision of its popular "Lubricating Grease Guide," an easy-to-understand source for basic information on lubricating grease.

A video that provides an excellent overview on lubricating grease is also available. A GC-LB reference grease is available for users who need a grease with known values to confirm if their lab or test equipment is generating values consistent with others.

For additional information on NLGI, please visit our Web site at www.nlgi.org or contact NLGI headquarters at 816-931-9480. We welcome you to join us at our next annual meeting at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess on June 10-12, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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