The water industry needs a lubrication partner it can trust

There’s something extraordinary about Lubrication in the Water Industry, where we’re not just focused on reducing its operational costs and its carbon footprint. Less common, in the face of ever-increasing demand, is the requirement to lower the cost to the customer. And almost unique is the need to keep 64 million consumers supplied, day in, day out, with a 100% safe product. That’s why the water industry needs a partner able to meet all its lubrication flow: ensuring the taps keep running, the toilets keep flushing, and the industry keeps its head above water.

As a trusted supplier of lubricants to the water industry, ROCOL® also provides in depth support. That’s not only expertise to improve product performance in the sector’s demanding operating environments. It’s also the sharing of knowledge and experience, through a training scheme which promises to teach participants ‘everything [they] need to know about using lubricants in the water industry’

One of the key things they need to know is how to choose lubricants which meet all the requirements for safe use when in contact with wastewater, clean water and – most importantly – drinking water.

“A partner able to meet all lubrication needs”

As a UK-based manufacturer of WRAS approved lubricants, ROCOL offers a range of products approved to the highest levels for drinking water facilities. Developed in-house by a team of highly-skilled engineers and chemists, the products are formulated to extend component life and increase lubrication intervals. These features in turn help to deliver reduced downtime, reduced power draw across a facility, protection against corrosion, lower labour costs and a lower Total Cost of Ownership.

Water works

A particular challenge for lubricants in the water industry’s operating environment is, of course, the way water works on greases and other lubricants.

Water is highly effective at washing out many types of lubricants, including greases, leaving bearings at risk of increased wear and corrosion. Washed-out lubricant can also find its way into the environment, and in the worst case has the potential even to reach the consumer. 

A ROCOL PFPE grease such as SAPPHIRE® Endure [see Know+How Issue 40overcomes all these problems. Approved for drinking water facilities, firstly it’s resistant to water (which also makes it highly effective against aggressive washdowns). Secondly, it’s inert. And lastly, whilst a conventional grease needs to fill around a third of a bearing for effective lubrication, SAPPHIRE Endure only needs to fill around a fifth.

Less lubricant. Less lubricant loss. Less relubrication. All reduces maintenance time and cost whilst also resulting in less bearing wear from using a higher performance bearing grease, therefore less chance of bearing failure – and a longer bearing service life.

Again, less maintenance time and cost. Increased reliability of components that operate in isolation across various water treatment facilities with long periods of time between being checked.

SAPPHIRE® Aqua-Sil and SAPPHIRE® Aqua-Sil Hi Load are two more ROCOL® WRAS-approved silicone greases ideal for the water industry. Aqua-Sil is designed for lubrication of seals, ‘O’ rings, slides, slow-speed bearings and other light-to-medium duty applications. 

“Annual savings of over £19.000 on one application”

With its excellent water resistance, it even keeps completely submerged components protected. Aqua-Sil Hi Load has the same high-performance properties and – thanks to the addition of molybdenum disulphide – is suitable for long-term bearing lubrication and protecting bearings under heavier loads.

Real-world results

The drive gearboxes for aeration tanks face challenging operating conditions and are a significant source of energy consumption at waste water facilities. To try to reduce energy use, a major UK water company trialled SAPPHIRE® Hi Torque 320 semi-synthetic gearbox oil on six of these gearboxes for six months.

The result, as reported by the company’s Energy Innovation Technologist, was ‘a saving of 4% on energy consumption. This amounted to an annual saving of over £19,000.’

Another water company swapped to ROCOL® TUFLUBE® Allweather on penstock screws at a sewage works. The screws had been rusting and seizing, leading to downtime and shortened lubrication intervals. Now the use of this tacky, water-resistant grease – which can even be applied underwater – has reduced pitting, corrosion, and extended the lubrication interval to twelve months.

Best Practice Lubrication training

The ROCOL Water Industry Applications training course has been specifically designed to support users and suppliers of lubricants for the water industry.

As an online course, it’s available to be started at any time, and finished whenever you feel you’ve learnt enough. Once enrolled, access is unlimited for life. So the course can be followed at a pace to suit you. It’s also available on all devices you own, so you can learn whenever and wherever you choose.

Click Here to enrol today!

By James Goodgame
Lubrication Product Manager, ERIKS UK & Ireland