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The Pressing Need for Food Grade Lubricants

The sensitivity of the food processing industry calls for special attention to be focused on high quality, high performance lubricants that stand up to harsh environmental conditions found in this type of manufacturing plants.

Manufacturers are constantly plagued with problems of the operating environment, as well as problems inherent in complex equipment. Difficult conditions require specialized tools and instruments. A few of these conditions are listed below.

Moisture - This is an ever-present destroyer of lubrication and is detrimental to good maintenance. Food, drink and drug plants require water or steam for constant cleanliness of the machinery and surrounding areas. It may also be a part of the process itself. This moisture can wash out lubricants, cause emulsions of greases and oil, cause rust and corrosion as well as increasing the deterioration of lubricants.

Heat – This is often one of the more serious problems. Drying and sterilizing processes entails high temperatures, which can cause greases to melt and run out of bearings and will speed up oxidation of both greases and oils, thereby shortening their life.

Low Temperatures – Oppositely, some plants require refrigerated areas, coolers, etc., which require low temperature mobility in greases and low pour points in oils.

These areas may also create moisture problems because of excessive condensation.

Shock loading or impact – These may be factors in many areas. The lubricant may be pounded out of an area leaving metal-to-metal contact with consequent damage to surfaces; an increase in friction leads to heat and wear. Grease may lack cohesion or adhesion; oil may be light or won’t penetrate to critical areas.

Extended use - Long life of both the equipment and the lubricant is another challenge. Some operations run around the clock twenty-four hours a day. Again, these operations may be hot, wet, cold, subject to contamination etc., and therefore creating doubly severe conditions. Grease may “shear down” or become very soft or liquid, oils oxidize rapidly and both may become contaminated. Both greases and oils may harden or thicken in service, creating increased power demands.

The demand for purity and the necessity for non-toxicity is one of the many challenges in this industry. This is why several agencies, such as the NSF and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), have been tasked with controlling the possible effects of lubricants on beverage and food processing and packaging. There are stringent and very restrictive regulations in effect, which often limit a lubricant’s ability to perform well.

Challenges such as these can be more easily overcome through the use of high quality materials. The Industrial Lubricant Store’s food-grade lubricants are 100% OEM compatible and formulated specifically for each type of industrial equipment being used in the food services industry.  Composed of the highest quality synthesized hydrocarbon fluids available, these special blends offer extended life and protect against wear, rust, and corrosion.  Check out our product offerings at

About the Author
Randy Renick
Randy Renick has a Bachelor's degree from LSU. He is an STLE Certified Lubrication Specialist and has a 29 year work history in Industrial Lubrication. He is currently a Lubricant Consultant at The Industrial Lubricant Store.

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