Plastics are an ever-growing and significant industrial sector, meaning that plastics production, moulding and conversion operations need the support of high-quality lubricants to ensure long-lasting performance.
While there are some general application lubricants that can work well in different parts of the plastics production process, in some cases, specialist functions such as hydraulic injection moulding and extrusion require carefully chosen lubricants to support their performance, says Callum Ford, National Marketing Manager at Lubrication Engineers (LE) South Africa. The prevalence of high-temperature and high-pressure processes in plastics manufacturing necessitates the use of robust lubricants.
“At LE South Africa, we work closely with our clients in the plastics industry to find the right lubrication solutions for different plastics materials and moulding processes,” he says. “LE has lubricants for both thermoplastic and thermosetting applications, as well as for compression, transfer, injection and blow moulding.”
The high temperatures involved in plastics production mean that lubricants need to be able to perform well in these environments.
In applications such as injection moulding, for moulding clamping units and injection units LE South Africa supplies Monolec Hydraulic Oils or Multilec Industrial Oils for high performance under tough conditions.
Ford says, “Units using rotating screws or spreaders to help plasticize the feed stock have gear trains and motors. LE’s 608 Almasol Vari-Purpose Gear Lubricant or LE’s 9920 Synolec Gear Lubricant will give the best lubrication protection under these severe conditions because of their extreme pressure characteristics, wear-reducing capabilities and excellent oxidation resistance.”
In compression moulding, which produces large articles using simple designs and thermosetting plastics, the hydraulic press needs to be large enough to exert sufficient pressure on the plastic.
Ford says that LE’s Monolec Industrial Oils, with their exceptional oxidation resistance and ability to keep a system clean, will reduce downtime. Special additives and excellent foam resistance prevent pump wear and reduce “fade” in the system.
In other plastics applications like extrusion, which require very high pressures to push the plastic through the die, manufacturing equipment must be well lubricated to minimize wear. “LE’s 608 Almasol Vari-Purpose Gear Lubricant and LE’s 9920 Synolec Gear Lubricants are outstanding for this application. Their stability, along with the extra protection of LE’s exclusive wear-reducing additives, will result in longer gear and bearing life, and consequently increased production,” says Ford.
“Whatever the plastic type or the moulding method used, it’s best to consult with a lubrication expert to ensure that lubrication will help and not hinder the performance of machinery at your plant,” he adds.