Improve your food processing equipment performance with synthetic lubricants

Lubricants used in the food processing sector are often subjected to extreme temperatures for prolonged periods. There is also the possibility of exposure to water or steam, depending on the type of operation, as well as contamination from food waste.

We look at how high performance synthetic lubricants combined with a fully featured maintenance programme can help operators extend oil drain intervals and optimise the performance of their processing equipment.


Lubricants used in the food processing sector are often subjected to extreme temperatures for prolonged periods. There is also the possibility of exposure to water or steam – depending on the type of operation – as well as contamination from food waste.

These issues can adversely affect lubricant performance, which risks triggering unscheduled maintenance and avoidable downtime. Fortunately, the use of high performance synthetic oils and greases can help mitigate this, while also safeguarding productivity.

Squeeze out water contamination

For instance, a food processing company based in North America used to lubricate the gearboxes of its meat grinders with a standard 80W-90 oil, which was vulnerable to water contamination. Maintenance personnel detected high levels of emulsification in the gearbox lubricant, which thus required the frequent changing out of contaminated oils – this led to significant additional labour costs.

After consulting with their distributor to determine a better lube solution, the company switched to a high performance, NSF-H1-registered synthetic lubricant – specially formulated for use in applications where oil can accidentally be exposed to food products. Moreover, the lubricant was formulated with a naturally high viscosity index and additive system to provide excellent water separation and corrosion protection in a wide variety of food machinery applications.

The switch resulted in extended oil drain intervals and lower overall lubricant usage/disposal. It also reduced the number of gearbox failures, due to less water contamination, and allowed for less machine interaction by maintenance personnel and more reliable production. In total, the company estimated annual savings of $325,0001!

Do a ‘blood test’ for your machinery with used oil analysis

However, it is not all about lubricant selection – a fully featured maintenance programme should also include a used oil analysis service. It enables users to proactively identify potential equipment maintenance issues before they occur, thereby helping food machinery operators enhance equipment reliability and performance. This, in turn, can help to reduce unscheduled downtime, improve equipment life, and extend oil drain intervals.

Small changes, big difference

Overall, lubricant expenditure represents a fraction of the overall costs of running food processing machinery. If done correctly, however, the investment offers a valuable return very quickly. Not only can it improve energy efficiency by maintaining the desired viscosity, but it can also help to protect equipment, reduce maintenance costs, and extend oil drain intervals. It enables food processing facilities to ensure safe, efficient, and profitable productivity.

Do you already use high performance lubricants at your food processing plant? Share with us your experience or hit “Like” on the toolbar to the right if you found this article useful!



[1] Based on the experience of a single customer. Actual results can vary depending upon the type of equipment used and its maintenance, operating conditions and environment, and any prior lubricant used.

  • Cabe remarcar el uso de aceites grado alimenticio, para evitar lo que paso con la empresa de Norte América que se cita  en el articulo, yo creo que esa parte es clave que se conozca tanto para abaratar costos en el funcionamiento de mas maquinas, como para garantizar la sanidad de los alimentos procesados.

    Dejo unos datos adicionales sobre las clases de lubricantes grado alimenticio:

    *Lubricantes clasificados H1 son lubricantes de grado alimenticio usados en los entornos de procesos de alimentos donde existe alguna posibilidad de contacto accidental con alimentos. Las formulaciones de lubricantes deben estar compuestos por uno o más aceites base, aditivos y espesantes (si es grasa) que sean aprobados y figuren en la norma 21 CFR 178.3750.

    *Los lubricantes H2 son los lubricantes utilizados en los equipos y piezas de la máquina en lugares donde no hay posibilidad de que el alimento entre en contacto con la superficie de las mismas. Debido a que no hay riesgo de contacto con los alimentos, lubricantes H2  no pueden contener metales intencionalmente pesados tales como antimonio, arsénico, cadmio, plomo, mercurio o selenio. Y no deben incluir sustancias que sean carcinógenos, mutágenos, teratógenos o ácidos minerales.

    *Los lubricantes H3, también conocidos como solubles en aceite o comestibles, se utilizan para limpiar y prevenir la oxidación en los ganchos, carretillas o equipos similares. Estos pueden tener contacto directo con los alimentos sin ningún inconveniente.

  • Excelente tema con el mejore el rendimiento de su equipo de maquinaria para alimentos con lubricantes sintéticos,no solo con la selección del lubricante adecuado,si no un buen mantenimiento a la maquina,saludos.