Insight from maritime applications at low temperatures
Latches, hinges, moving parts on deck
On an icebreaker working in arctic and sub-arctic temperatures, every moving part on the deck of the ship—from hinges to valve stems to wire rope sheaves has to continue to operate in cold weather. When moving deck applications stick or freeze, and when ice builds up on valves, operation is not only difficult, it can be dangerous. In this case, the solution for pins, plain and rolling bearings, and valve stems was applying Klüber ISOFLEX TOPAS NB 52, a PAO-based grease with a barium complex that has a wide temperature range. For this application, the grease was dispensed from an aerosol can—a convenient method of application to keep machinery running smoothly and allow ice to be chipped off easily.
Hydraulic cranes on docks
For a Canadian fuel dock, changing from a medium viscosity mineral-based hydraulic fluid in summer to a lower viscosity fluid in winter was being considered—plus using mineral oil raised environmental concerns. The solution was Klüberbio LR 9-46, an environmentally acceptable synthetic ester-based hydraulic fluid that is readily biodegradable. It has a high viscosity index allowing it to be used in both seasons, keeping costs down while meeting
application and environmental concerns.
For one customer operating highly loaded shipboard winches in cold weather, the challenge was to find a lubricant that could handle the forces at different temperatures to avoid premature gear wear. The recommended winter solution was to switch from using Klüberfluid C-F 3 Ultra—a transparent adhesive lubricant designed for medium-size to large girth gear drives—to Klüberfluid C-F 4 Ultra, which has a lower viscosity that delivers better pumpability in spray lubricators during cold weather.
For one customer operating an oil rig installation vessel in the North Sea, jack-up gears are used to raise and lower legs onto the sea bed to lift vessels out of the water. The lubricant grease that is applied to the legs must remain pumpable at low temperatures. And because the grease is washed away in sea water, it must also be environmentally compliant. The solution was Klüberbio LG 39-700, an eco-compatible adhesive lubricant specifically designed for this application using a base oil derived from 100 percent renewable resources that are acceptable for contact with sea water. The grease was applied by an automatic paddle applicator.
Different lubricants for different low-temperature applications
In recent years, research and development in lubricants for extremely cold marine conditions has resulted in a host of lubricants and greases with ideal properties, including numerous environmentally acceptable products. To ensure cold-weather performance, the user can consult the testing data available from reputable manufacturers. Operators also have more applicator options, including heaters, larger feed lines, elbows, automatic paddles, single-point lubricators, and pumps, as well as spray and brush applications. Where specific challenges arise, specific formulations can be selected using base oils, thickeners and additives to ensure satisfactory lubricant performance in practically every climate.