Development of a nanodiamond-based lubricant for a versatile use in the beverage industry conveyor systems

2016-09-07T12:36:19Z (GMT) by Carmen Torres-Sanchez Nikolaos Balodimos
Purpose: This paper proposes the formulation of a nanodiamond particle-loaded food-grade lubricating oil, a nanolubricant, that can be used over a broad range of loads within the factory (low load applications: conveyor systems; and heavy machinery within the factory were high loads are applied) Design/Methodology: Tribological performance of the nanolubricant at both load levels was studied. A factory-sized conveyor was employed for the low load range using typical beverage packaging (aluminium cans, glass and PET bottles). Coefficients of friction and wear scars were measured and the lubricating performance quantified. A four-ball tester was used to characterise the performance of the nanolubricant as per ASTM D2783/D4172. A comparison between the nanolubricant and the baseline oils was established. Findings: The results show an overall decrease of the coefficients of friction and wear scars for all packages at low pressures when the nanolubricant is used. It also shows a better friction-reduction performance in the high loads. The results indicate that the nanolubricant is versatile at both ranges of loading. Practical/Environmental implications: The current protocols for lubrication in the food and drink factories involve the use of water-based detergents for the conveyor lines, and industry-grade oils for the machinery. The use of a single and versatile lubricant for both ranges of application loads may carry a positive impact on the sustainability and environmental performance of the sector. Originality/value: Beverage processing and packing factories need their mechanised conveyor systems suitably lubricated to avoid excessive friction between the containers and the load bearing surface of the conveyors (e.g. belts or chains). Other areas of the conveying systems, such as motors, gears, rollers and bearings, are also in need of suitable lubrication to prevent failure and lengthen their working life. There is a myriad of lubricants and lubricating solutions for each of these areas independently, but no existing availability of commercial lubricating fluids that could be used on both successfully.