Enhance corrugator operations using high performance lubricants

Optimising the performance of corrugating machines has never been more important in the drive to maximise margins. Find out how choosing the right lubricants can help achieve that goal.

Global demand for corrugated packaging continues to demonstrate strong growth, thanks in part to the expansion of e-commerce and home delivery, and in part due to the advantages that corrugated packaging offers both suppliers and retailers over plastic alternatives, such as being easily recyclable.

Gains, however, are limited by the mature state of the corrugated industry in developed markets where boxes are essentially commodity items, such as Japan, the US, and Western Europe.

Thus for corrugators, being able to defend margins and manage manufacturing costs has never been more important. In order to support sales and protect bottom line performance, it is vital that corrugating machines are free from unscheduled downtime and avoidable wear.

Another essential element, which is often overlooked, is lubricant selection. Applying the most appropriate oils and greases can help to:

  • Protect and increase the life of equipment
  • Reduce a plant’s energy bills
  • Extend oil drain intervals
  • Minimise unexpected downtime and extend service periods

These benefits can help improve equipment reliability and reduce maintenance-related costs. To achieve these goals, it is important that corrugators use high performance lubricants, especially for bearings on heated rollers as the high temperatures can adversely affect the performance of oils and greases.

Picking the right lubricants

A typical corrugating machine offers a number of lubricant challenges including high temperatures (up to 200°C) and exposure to steam used during the forming process. There is also the possibility of glue spillage and fibre build-up, along with the presence of metal particles if guide plates, slitter blades or rollers are not properly aligned. Choosing lubricants that can handle these conditions is therefore essential in order to maintain the optimum performance of corrugating machines.

In addition, a corrugating machine will require a range of lubricants such as hydraulic oils and grease for roller bearings. Different parts of the machine pose different lubrication challenges.

Corrugators should therefore discuss each specific application with their lubricants supplier or maintenance partner, in order to ensure that all the parts of their production line are receiving the benefits available from appropriate high performance oils and greases.

Reduce power consumption – and environmental impact

Effectively lubricating a corrugating machine can help reduce its overall power consumption. This not only reduces energy bills, but also positively impacts an operator’s carbon footprint.

In addition, high performance oils can offer extended drain intervals, which cuts the impact of waste oil disposal and reduces disposal costs. Improving environmental impacts also helps corrugators save money – giving even more reason to select high performance lubricants.

Improve operational efficiencies

A properly lubricated corrugator can be more efficient than one using less effective oils or greases, as reflected in its energy usage. For example, with their outstanding traction properties, Mobil SHC Cibus Series lubricants have demonstrated the potential to provide significant energy savings — 3.6% in gear applications* and 3.5% in hydraulic applications**. 

There are health and safety considerations, too. A well-lubricated corrugating machine can be less prone to mechanical outages, which reduces the instances of unplanned maintenance and human-machine interactions. The fewer the interactions, the less chance there is of an unexpected incident.

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*Energy efficiency relates solely to the fluid performance when compared to conventional (mineral) reference oils of the same viscosity grade in circulating and gear applications. The technology used allows up to 3.6% efficiency compared to the reference when tested in a worm gearbox under controlled conditions. Efficiency improvements will vary based on operating conditions and applications.

**Energy efficiency relates solely to the fluid performance when compared to Mobil DTETm 25. The technology used provides up to 3.5% efficiency compared to the reference when tested in an Eaton 25VMQ vane pump under controlled conditions. Efficiency improvements will vary based on operating conditions and applications.