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Bel-Ray Specialty Lubricants: Tech Notes, Vol 2, Issue 5

May, 2011


The Lafarge-Maroc annual maintenance meeting was held at the Barcelo Marina Smir Thalasso Spa in Tétouan, Morocco on February 3-4, 2011. The hotel, a beautiful resort on the Mediterranean Sea, was the perfect spot for the meeting. Mr. Miloud CHOUITI, Director of the Department of Technology and Maintenance-Lafarge Maroc invited Don HOWARD, R&D Manager-Bel-Ray, Bernard ESNAULT, Technical Director-LubPro and Mohamed Az-Eddine ZEJLI, Director of Sales-LubPro, to present the Bel-Ray line of lubricants for the cement processing industry. Another member of the LubPro team of suppliers, Rémy BONNAMOUR, Manager of Heavy Industry-Bijur Delimon, presented that company’s centralized lubrication systems and single point lubricators for the cement processing industry. Dr. Rashid MAARIF, General Director-Chems Lub joined the team to present lubricant technology to the Lafarge Group, including discussions on base oils and additives.

We would like to thank Mr. CHOUITI and his staff for inviting and welcoming us into their meeting as well as for the general welcome that we received at each of the Lafarge-Maroc cement plants and their Casablanca headquarters during the past year.

During the meeting, Lafarge-Maroc maintenance engineers and other technical staff gather to discuss problems, concerns and solutions to the Lafarge-Maroc cement operations and our group was the first Supplier group to be invited to attend one of the meetings. Mr. CHOUITI and his staff were eager to learn all they could about lubricants. Dr. MAARIF presented a detailed paper on synthetic and mineral base oils, additives, polymers and thickeners. From the range of questions and interaction with the audience it was clear that this presentation was interesting and beneficial.

The language of the meeting was French so Bernard ESNAULT presented both for Bel-Ray the lubricant provider and LubPro, our local distributor. Bel-Ray technology and lubricants for cement plants as well as LubPro’s excellent on-site technical support were detailed to the Lafarge Group for the third time in less than twelve months.

We were able to provide the performance details and performance benefits of Bel-Ray ClearGear Lubricant, a very high viscosity synthetic lubricant for mill and kiln girth gears and pinions. Bel-Ray ClearGear Lubricant is a hydrodynamic or full fluid film open gear lubricant, that is, its viscosity grades have been calculated to provide full gear tooth separation. Bel-Ray ClearGear Lubricant virtually eliminates micropitting which is generally accepted to be the top root cause failure mode in the majority of gear failures.

We also discussed the fact that Lafarge North America in Buffalo, Iowa has tested and begun using Bel-Ray Molylube N to lubricate all of the sliding contacts related to riding ring retainer blocks, support pads and kiln skin. Bel-Ray Molylube N is a water-based dry film lubricant utilizing a water soluble resin with a high level of lubricating solids to protect these sliding surfaces. Bel-Ray Molylube N is fireproof. When applied to hot kiln surfaces it will not ignite and it will not smolder. Bel-Ray Molylube N can be spray lance applied from a distance for improved worker safety. Depending on kiln size, approximately 3 kilograms of Bel-Ray Molylube N is applied to each riding ring assembly per week.

Again, I would like to thank Mr. CHOUITI and his staff for welcoming me, a non-French and non-Arabic speaker from an American lubricant company, into their facilities and allowing us the opportunity to present our product line and service capabilities. Lafarge-Maroc’s maintenance engineers and purchasing departments, countrywide, are now well versed in the Bel-Ray product line for the cement industry and LubPro’s unsurpassed ability and dedication to provide services, as well as our desire to be a long term, stable provider of lubrication products and services to Lafarge. Bel-Ray and LubPro look forward to a long and mutually rewarding relationship with Lafarge-Maroc and the international Lafarge Group.


Motor Oil Breakdown and Degradation

Oil breakdown occurs when the major properties of oil change due to oxidation, deposits, thermal degradation, corrosion and contamination. This breakdown reduces the oil’s ability to perform its primary functions of reducing friction, dissipating heat, preventing corrosion and keeping the engine clean.

Oxidation and Deposits

Oxidation is a form of chemical breakdown of motor oil and its additives. The chemicals in motor oil are continuously reacting with oxygen inside an engine. The effects of oxidation due to this reaction, as well as the by-products of combustion, produce very acidic compounds inside an engine. The acidic compounds are neutralized by the TBN base additives of the engine oil. The higher the TBN value, the more acid can be neutralized and the longer the engine oil can be used.

As an engine goes through multiple heating and cooling cycles, deposits in the form of sludge can form. These sludge deposits can harden, actually restricting oil passages, plugging piston ring grooves and creating valve sticking. The deposits can also affect heat transfer from pistons to cylinder and, in extreme cases can cause seizure of the piston in the cylinder. Sludge deposits are controlled by detergents and dispersants in the oil package.

Corrosion due to water

Condensation of water in oil can be caused by temperature and humidity changes or short stop-and-go driving where an engine never reaches the proper operating temperature. In addition, water present in oil for an extended period of time can emulsify with the oil and form a mixture which is much more corrosive than the two components alone. The emulsion can then form sludge which may block oil filters or small passages.

It is critical to operate an engine at normal operating temperature to prevent and burn off any water that is present by evaporation. Short drives and intermittent operation are the most severe types of driving in which an engine and oil never have time to reach normal operating temperatures for an extended period of time. Quality Bel-Ray motor oils have corrosion inhibitors that protect internal engine components under such extremes.


Motor oil contamination also shortens the life of oil. The most common contaminants are highly abrasive dirt, sand and dust from the air. Additional contaminants include soot, water from condensation and wear metal particulates. Standard oil filters trap contaminants that are larger than 40 microns, the oil filter cannot trap and hold anything smaller. Most wear is caused by 5 micron particles.

Another source of contamination is fuel. A charge of fuel is rarely 100% burned during the combustion process. This unburned fuel can mix with the oil present in the cylinders. Fuel contamination can also be caused by worn sealing components, such as excessive piston ring to cylinder clearances, allowing unburned fuel to blow-by the rings. When motor oil is diluted with fuel, the effect is that the viscosity is lowered. If the viscosity becomes too low, excessive wear and engine damage can take place. Operating an engine that is not sufficiently warmed up can also increase combustion blow-by. It is much better to let your engine sufficiently warm up before driving away, which can have a significant effect on preventing fuel blow-by, as well as producing a much more efficient combustion cycle.

Benefits of Bel-Ray Full Synthetics and Synthetic Blends

Bel-Ray Full Synthetic oils and Bel-Ray Synthetic Blend oils offer advantages over conventional mineral oil products. They are better in extremes of heat and cold.

They provide better oxidation resistance and thermal stability. Their extra cost is offset by the benefits a properly formulated product provides to your motorcycle engine. Compared to mineral-based engine oils, the oxidation resistance is far superior, the friction is less and the synthetic products have much better low temperature properties. The film strength of synthetic products is also better, as is the natural detergency of synthetic base fluids, in particular the esters. In most cases synthetic products can be cost effective if increases in fuel economy, engine longevity, extended drain intervals and decreased operating temperatures are taken into account.

Bel-Ray Performance Powersports products, with state- of- the-art chemistry, provide the best defense against oil degradation. For the ultimate engine protection, Bel-Ray Full Synthetic and Bel-Ray Synthetic Blend oils stand alone as superior products.


Bel-Ray is Saving Customers Money!


Pre Bel-Ray:

A UK based brewery was using a well-known competitor’s food safe grease, which was being applied in 7- day cycles. This was in turn taking up valuable time and effort from the operators and engineering staff alike! The staff noticed that almost every area was encountering problems with frequent bearing failures. These failures were causing major disruption to production runs, and in turn were resulting in major downtime, and lost revenue in this particular area was becoming commonplace. The engineering teams were frequently called out to deal with bearing failures, where the grease had simply washed out of the bearings and subsequently failed. One area which was particularly susceptible to bearing failure was the pasteurizer; this was of major concern to the brewery’s production and engineering staff collectively, as this would result in many hours lost production, disruption to planned production schedules and valuable engineering hours eaten up due to the time involved in changing the internal bearings. Time is money in every sense of the word, and the cost in lost production ran into thousands!!!!

Bel-Ray Solution:

After taking a consultative approach to the issues the brewery was having with the frequency of failures in the pasteurizer, Bel-Ray came up with several solutions for this on-going problem. We first of all suggested that the micro-bore piping used to feed the internal bearing be changed from 3mm ID to 10 mm ID, as this was prone to blockage, and on many occasions the grease had never even reached the bearing housing! This was done to all the pipe fed bearings. Secondly, we recommended that they change the current grease from a competitor’s NLGI 2 grease to Bel-Ray No-Tox HD Grease 1 TC, which would allow slightly more fluidity in the piping, and reduce the risk of blockage.

Because of its very tacky nature, Bel-Ray No-Tox HD Grease 1 TC has been able to stay put in the bearings, allowing the pasteurizer to operate correctly and efficiently for the first time in many years. Another advantage the customer has noticed since changing to Bel-Ray No-Tox HD Grease 1 TC is they have been able to reduce the frequency of their re-lubrication cycles from every 7 days to every 30 days. The savings made on the grease purchase alone equates to $1,626 (£1000) per annum.

Since Bel-Ray’s inception on this application, there have been no reported lubrication related failures to report, thus eliminating the horrendous downtime costs and issues that blighted the production and engineering personnel. It is safe to say these costs were running into many thousands of dollars (pounds) per year!

The Engineering Technologist said:

“ I am more than happy with the service provided by Bel-Ray, they came in with a consultative approach, and offered me real solutions to our problems, the product works, the ideas worked, enough said!”