Lubricant Blending and Quality Assurance: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Lubricant Blending and Quality Assurance

1st Edition

By R. David Whitby

CRC Press

290 pages | 61 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138605930
pub: 2018-10-24
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Many people, including those involved in the manufacturing, marketing and selling of lubricants, believe that blending lubricants is simply a matter of putting one or more base oils and several additives into a tank of some kind and stirring them around to mix them. Blending lubricants that meet customers’ demands requires much more than this. The correct ingredients of the right quality need to be used in precisely controlled quantities. The ingredients need to be tested prior to blending and the finished products need to be tested following blending. The ingredients need to be stored and mixed under carefully controlled conditions. The finished lubricants need to be stored and packaged carefully and then delivered to customers correctly.

This book discusses all of these issues, describes the different types of equipment used to blend lubricants, provides guidance on how best to use this equipment, and offers tips and techniques to help to avoid problems. It focuses on liquid lubricants. Greases are not discussed, as their manufacture involves very different manufacturing procedures compared with those concerned with liquid lubricants.

The book starts with descriptions and discussion of the properties and characteristics of the main types of mineral and synthetic base oils, as well as the properties and characteristics of the main types of additives that are used in lubricant formulations. Criteria and methodologies used to design both new and upgraded blending plants are covered next. The types and operation of the equipment used in lubricant blending plants are described and discussed, together with a chapter on how to avoid problems before, during, and after blending. Testing and analysis of base oils, additives, and blended lubricants are covered in two separate chapters. Procedures for quality control and quality management in lubricant blending plants are also discussed in two separate chapters. Types of packages for lubricants are reviewed, together with methods for filling packages and methods for transporting lubricants in bulk. The storage of lubricants and supply chain management is also covered in depth.


"The book explains in a comprehensive manner that blending lubricants is a complex business and there must be a strong focus on quality. It also highlights the steps that must be taken in terms of controlling the mixing conditions, analytical checks, packaging, and storage to meet the customer needs. The book is an important reference source of information and advice for all lubricant blenders. I am not aware of another book that provides this information in an easy accessible format."

~Dr. Aubrey Burrows, Consultant at Aubrey Burrows & Associates Ltd.

"Any new recruit or job change candidate looking to take a prominent role associated to the lubricants blending function will find this an immensely valuable source of reference material. However, it does go much wider than that insofar that all functionaries within the company will benefit from the occasional consultation."

~Rod Pesch, LUBE Magazine

"This somewhat smallish book is unique in that it addresses practical matters that of­ten aren't addressed in much tribology and lubrication engineering literature. Further, several chapters serve the surprising pur­pose of providing a concise review for those preparing for certification, including some topics from STLE's Certified Lubrication Spe­cialistrn (CLS) exam, which are somewhat hard to find in books or courses, especially reflecting today's best practices. This little book does all this, as well as most ably cov­ering the very practical titled subject of lu­bricant blending."

Dr. Robert M. Gresham, Tribology & Lubrication Technology

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 Mineral Oil Base Oils: API Groups I, II and III: Properties and


2.1 Introduction

2.2 Base Oil Nomenclature

2.3 Methods of Manufacturing Base Oils

2.4 Base Oil Composition

2.5 Mineral Base Oil Properties and Characteristics

2.5.1 Overview

2.5.2 Appearance and Colour

2.5.3 Density and Gravity

2.5.4 Viscosity and Viscosity Index.

2.5.5 Pour Point and Cloud Point

2.5.6 Distillation Range

2.5.7 Flash Point

2.5.8 Volatility

2.5.9 Aniline Point

2.5.10 Viscosity Gravity Constant

2.5.11 Refractive Index and Refractivity Intercept

2.5.12 Elemental Contents

2.6 API Base Oil Classifications

2.7 Comparison of Mineral Oil Base Oils

2.7.1 Group I Base Oils

2.7.2 Group II Base Oils

2.7.3 Group III Base Oils

2.7.4 Group I, II and III Base Oils

2.8 Base Oil Interchangeability

2.9 Summary

3 Synthetic Base Oils: API Groups IV and V: Properties and


3.1 Introduction

3.2 Conventional Definitions of Mineral and Synthetic Base Oils

3.3 Types of Synthetic Oils

3.4 Performance Advantages of Synthetic Oils

3.5 Properties and Characteristics of the Main Synthetic Base Oils

3.5.1 Polyalphaolefins

3.5.2 Diesters and Polyol Esters

3.5.3 Polyisobutenes

3.5.4 Polyalkylene Glycols

3.6 End Use Markets for Synthetic Lubricants

3.7 Conclusions

4 Lubricant Additives: Properties and Characteristics

4.1 Review of the Development of Lubricant Additives

4.2 Functions of Lubricant Additives

4.3 Types of Lubricant Additives

4.3.1 Viscosity Index Improvers

4.3.2 Detergents

4.3.3 Dispersants

4.3.4 Pour Point Depressants

4.3.5 Anti-Oxidants (Oxidation Inhibitors)

4.3.6 Anti-Wear Additives

4.3.7 Lubricity Additives

4.3.8 Extreme-Pressure Additives

4.3.9 Bearing Corrosion Inhibitors

4.3.10 Corrosion Inhibitors or Anti-Rust Additives

4.3.11 Metal Passivators

4.3.12 Demulsifiers (Anti-Emulsion Additives)

4.3.13 Emulsifiers

4.3.14 Friction Modifiers

4.3.15 Anti-Foam Additives (Foam Suppressants)

4.3.16 Biocides

4.4 Additive Packages

4.5 Properties of Lubricant Additives

4.6 Effects of Additive Properties on Lubricant Blending

4.7 Summary

5 Lubricant Formulation and Ease of Blending

5.1 Introduction

5.2 The New Product Development Process

5.2.1 Idea Generation

5.2.2 Idea Screening

5.2.3 Idea Evaluation

5.2.4 Agreement Between Marketing and Product

Development Departments

5.2.5 Preliminary Business Analysis

5.2.6 Product Development and Testing

5.2.7 Test Marketing

5.3 Formulating and Developing a New Automotive Engine Oil

5.3.1 The Specification

5.3.2 Choice of Base Oil(s)

5.3.3 Choice of Viscosity Index Improver

5.3.4 Developing the Dispersant/Inhibitor (DI) Package

5.3.5 Evaluating and Finalising the Formulation

5.4 Formulating and Developing a New Industrial Lubricant

5.5 Illustrative Lubricant Formulations

5.6 Ease of Blending

5.7 Communication and Co-operation Between Formulators and


5.8 Summary

6 Lubricant Blending Plant Design: Grassroots Plants and Upgrading

Existing Plants

6.1 Introduction

6.2 Investment in Blending Lubricants

6.2.1 Business Aims

6.2.2 Blending Plant Conception

6.3 Grassroots Blending Plant

6.4 Upgrading an Existing Blending Plant

6.5 Blending Plant Layout

6.6 Designing a Lubricant Blending Plant

6.7 Benefits of High Quality Blending Plant Design

6.8 Summary

7 Lubricant Blending Plant Equipment and Facilities and Their


7.1 Introduction

7.2 Lubricant Blending as Part of the Supply Chain

7.3 Key Components of a Modern Lubricant Blending Plant

7.3.1 Automatic Batch Blender (ABB)

7.3.2 In-Line Blender (ILB)

7.3.3 Simultaneous Metering Blender (SMB)

7.3.4 Drum Decanting Unit (DDU)

7.3.5 Pre-Mix Blending Vessel

7.3.6 Drum Heating Unit (DHU)

7.3.7 Pigging Equipment

7.4 Blending Operations

7.4.1 Batch Blending

7.4.2 Automated and In-line Blending

7.4.3 Operating a Drum Decanting Unit

7.5 Sampling Raw Materials and Blends

7.5.1 The Importance of Sampling

7.5.2 Sample Bottles

7.5.3 Sampling Methods

7.6 Automation of Blending

7.7 Summary

8 Lubricant Blending Issues: Avoiding Problems

8.1 Introduction

8.2 Sampling Before Blending

8.3 Blend Families and Cross Contamination

8.4 Temperature Control

8.5 Times for Blending

8.6 Sampling Blended Lubricants

8.7 Slop Oil

8.8 Packages, Labels and Labelling

8.9 Health, Safety and the Environment

8.10 Forklift Trucks

8.11 Minimising Operating Expenses

8.11 Equipment Maintenance

8.12 Cyber-Security

8.13 Summary

9 Testing and Analysis of Base Oils and Additives in Blending


9.1 Introduction

9.2 Tests for Base Oils

9.2.1 Colour

9.2.2 Boiling Range

9.2.3 Density

9.2.4 Kinematic Viscosity

9.2.5 Viscosity Index

9.2.6 Low Temperature Viscosity

9.2.7 Pour Point

9.2.8 Flash Point

9.2.9 Volatility

9.2.10 Foaming Properties

9.2.11 Demulsibility

9.2.12 Acid Number

9.2.13 Carbon Residue

9.2.14 Water Content

9.2.15 Sulphur, Nitrogen and Phosphorous Contents

9.2.16 Metals Contents

9.2.17 Hydrocarbon Type Analysis

9.3 Tests for Additives

9.3.1 Metals and Non-Metals Contents

9.3.2 Sulphated Ash

9.3.3 Infra-Red Spectroscopy

9.4 Specifications for Raw Materials

9.5 Summary

10 Testing and Analysis of Blended Lubricants

10.1 Introduction

10.2 Laboratory Tests for Lubricants

10.2.1 Oxidation Resistance

10.2.2 Anti-Oxidant Content

10.2.3 Thermal Stability

10.2.4 Rust Protection

10.2.5 Corrosion Resistance

10.2.6 Shear Stability

10.2.7 Anti-Wear and Extreme Pressure Tests

10.2.8 Metals Contents

10.3 Tests for Blending Plant Quality Control of Specific Types of


10.3.1 Automotive and Industrial Engine Oils

10.3.2 Automotive and Industrial Gear Oils

10.3.3 Automatic Transmission Fluids

10.3.4 Hydraulic Oils

10.3.5 Turbine Oils

10.3.6 Compressor Oils

10.3.7 Metalworking Fluids

10.4 Processing and Communication of Test Results

10.5 Summary

11 Lubricant Product Quality Control

11.1 Introduction

11.2 Definition of Quality

11.3 Meeting Customer Requirements and Quality Control

11.4 Procedures for Control of Quality

11.4.1 Checking Raw Materials

11.4.2 Controlling Quality During Blending

11.4.3 Testing Finished Products

11.4.4 External Monitoring Systems

11.4.5 Component and Formulation Codes

11.4.6 Batch Numbering and Traceability

11.4.7 Computerised Blend Records

11.4.8 Blend Sample Storage and Retention

11.5 Resolving Product Quality Problems

11.6 Summary

12 Lubricant Packaging and Filling

12.1 Introduction

12.2 Role and Attributes of Packaging

12.3 Types of Lubricant Packaging

12.3.1 Plastic Bottles

12.3.2 Stand-Up Pouches

12.3.3 Oil Drums

12.3.4 10-Gallon Drums

12.3.5 25 Litre (5-Gallon) Drums

12.3.6 Grease Drums, Kegs, Pails and Cans

12.3.7 Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs)

12.3.8 Additional Packaging

12.4 Reconditioning Drums and IBCs

12.5 Recycling Plastic Packaging

12.6 Labels for Lubricant Packages

12.6.1 The Role of Labels on Packages

12.6.2 The Globally Harmonised System (GHS)

12.6.3 Types of Lubricant Package Labels

12.6.4 Multi-Lingual and Multi-Purpose Labels

12.7 Filling Lubricant Packages

1 2.7.1 Bottle Filling

12.7.2 Drum and IBC Filling

12.7.3 Road Tanker, Rail Tank Wagon and ISOTainer Filling

12.8 Summary

13 Lubricant Storage

13.1 Introduction

13.2 Storage Vessels and Containers

13.2.1 Bulk Storage in Tanks

13.2.2 Drum Storage

13.2.3 Storage in Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs)

13.2.4 Plastic Bottles and Tinplate Cans

13.3 Lubricant Storage

13.3.1 Siting the Lubricants Store

13.3.2 Indoor Storage

13.3.3 Outdoor Storage

13.3.4 Ingress of Moisture

13.3.5 Storage of Special Types of Lubricant

13.4 Blending Plant Warehouse

13.5 Warehouse Management and Automation

13.5.1 Warehouse Management Systems

13.5.2 Advantages and Disadvantages of WMS

13.5.3 WMS Operation

13.5.4 Other WMS Functionality and Considerations

13.5.5 Implementing WMS

13.6 Summary

14 Product Quality Management

14.1 Introduction

14.2 Background to True Total Quality

14.3 Lean (Just-in-Time) Manufacturing

14.4 Total Quality Management

14.5 ISO 9000

14.6 Implementing TQM

14.7 Mapping a TQM Strategy

14.8 Supply Chain Management

14.9 Enterprise Resource Planning

14.10 Summary

About the Author

David Whitby is Chief Executive of Pathmaster Marketing Ltd, a business development consultancy for the international downstream oil, gas and energy industries, which he founded in 1992. Pathmaster Marketing advises clients in the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Poland, the US, Canada, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran, South Africa, Brazil, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia on business planning, business strategy, market development and technology commercialisation. Specialist sectors include lubricants, fuels, new energies and speciality chemicals.

An Australian by birth, David began his career with British Petroleum, as a process chemist at the Kwinana refinery in Western Australia. He worked for BP for 22 years in a number of management positions, including Marketing and Business Development Manager at Kalsep (an advanced separations company), Business Manager at BP Ventures, Project Leader for Industrial Lubricants at BP Research and Marketing Services Officer at Duckhams Oils.

David was Programme Director for Lubricants Courses at the Oxford Princeton Programme (formerly the College of Petroleum and Energy Studies in Oxford), where he was responsible for planning the overall lubricants course programme and delivering several training courses each year. He ran the Advanced Lubrication Training Programme for the UK Lubricants Association (formerly the British Lubricants Federation.). He has written numerous papers and articles on lubricants and has chaired and lectured to international conferences and directed over 100 training lubricants courses in the UK, Canada, Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia. He also writes the bi-monthly "Worldwide" column for the US Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers "Tribology and Lubrication Technology" magazine and is a contributor to "Lubes ‘n’ Greases" magazine.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Chemistry / Industrial & Technical
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Chemical & Biochemical
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Power Resources / Fossil Fuels