Gulf Western Oil’s Ben Vicary outlines the company’s ever-expanding range of lubricant solutions for the waste and resource recovery sector.
Peter McColl of Gulf Western Oil explores the role of effective lubrication towards the development of a more sustainable and robust waste sector.
One question that operators and maintenance personnel in recycling plants often have to deal with is ‘how do you know which lubricant is the best fit for a given application?’
The answer is not always simple. While each piece of machinery usually comes with a maintenance manual containing a qualified product list, Christopher Bright, National Account Manager at Gulf Western Oil says this solution may not always be suitable to determine the optimum lubrication for a given gear set.
Gulf Western Oil (GWO) has been supplying lubricant solutions to recycling plants for over 30 years, and as such offer a comprehensive range of industrial gear oils; covering a wide range of viscosity, base oil and chemistry types from cost effective, high load Sulphur/phosphorus mineral oil based lubricants through to semi and fully synthetic base gear oils.
“It is quite understandable for operators to get confused when it comes to choosing the right lubricant,” says Bright. “In GWO’s portfolio, there are nine viscosity grades of mineral industrial gear oils alone. In addition, there are also a range of synthetic base oils, each with different viscosity grades.”
It is to avoid such confusions that GWO and its national distributor, CBC Australia, work closely with customers to offer their expertise, according to Bright.
“It is quite common to come across customers who purchase second-hand equipment and don’t know which lubricants are best suited to the gearbox. We then work with our partners at CBC to find the right oil for the application. This might require testing the oils at our in-house laboratory or consulting with the additive manufacturers to recommend the right viscosity grade,” he says.
Bright says in order to choose the best lubricant for a gear set, a fundamental understanding of the base oil type is important.
“Within each recycling plant, there might be certain machines that are crucial to the continuity of operations and that the owners don’t want to have offline too often. For these machines, we usually recommend synthetic base gear oils instead of mineral base alternatives to ensure longer oil-change intervals,” he notes.
“It is particularly important for recycling plants, which often operate 24/7, to be able to get a longer life from the gear oils they use. Synthetic oils are engineered in a way that makes them more stable across a wide temperature range allowing them to perform their primary function of reducing friction and wear for longer periods of time. This allows the customer to save on machine maintenance and down-time,” he explains.
Synthetic gear oils are also different depending on the type of synthetic bases they use, says Bright.
“For example, Poly Alpha Olefin or PAO based gear oils such as the GWO Syn-Gear range are compatible with mineral oil bases. This means you can pour a PAO based oil on top of a mineral base oil that’s already in the machine without facing any incompatibility issues.
“On the other hand, if you mix Poly Alkylene Glycol, or PAG base oils with other lubricants, including PAO synthetics, it can produce a sludge and, due to the incompatibility of the base oils, reduces the protection of the metal surfaces from wear as the additives are carried in the base oil.
To use PAG base oil, you need to first flush the existing mineral lubricant from the machine,” he explains.
Steve Keown, CBC’s National Product Manager for Lubricants says viscosity grade is an important parameter in selecting industrial gear oils.
“It’s important to understand that gear oils can affect the overall energy efficiency of the operations. A good synthetic gear oil, such as the GWO Syn-Gear oil, has a high viscosity index; which means it can improve energy efficiency and resist degradation at both high and low operational temperatures,” he explains.
The viscosity for a gear lubricant determines if the lubricant can provide the required film thickness between interacting surfaces at a given speed and load.
Being a PAO based oil, Keown says the GWO Syn-Gear oil is perfectly suited to industrial applications where there’s a considerable temperature variation. In recycling plants, conveyors, shredders and compactors are some equipment that can run more efficiently with the right choice of gearbox oil.
“GWO products are built to suit the operating conditions in Australia as they are manufactured in Australia, by an Australian-owned company,” says Keown.
“Over the years we have found that both CBC and Gulf Western Oil share a lot of the same values; which is to serve the Australian industries with our expert knowledge around lubricants. We are confident that whatever the customers’ requirements might be, together we can provide the right blend of products and expertise.”
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Ben Vicary, Gulf Western Oil Director, speaks with Waste Management Review about achieving machine and vehicle efficiency with high-quality oils and lubricants.
Sustainability discourse often centres around big ideas – the circular economy, digital transformation and export markets. Without consistent and steady operational chains on the ground, however, the ability to translate those ideas into practice is limited.
While not as glamourous as high-tech plastic reprocessing plants or multi-million-dollar waste-to-energy facilities, kerbside collections and waste transfer stations are a critical component of the sustainability system. So too are the vehicles and equipment that facilitate their operations and function as a link between consumer and recycler.
As Director of a national lubricant manufacture and supply company, Ben Vicary of Gulf Western Oil understands the importance of streamlined processes. Given accelerating waste generation rates, he says it’s important now more than ever that waste and resource recovery vehicles maintain uptime and high efficiency levels.
Ben adds that lubricants, an often-forgotten component of waste and resource recovery operations, are critical to machine and vehicle maintenance in harsh, stop-start waste environments.
“Waste facilities have some of the harshest conditions for heavy vehicles possible. Trucks collecting at kerbside for example have to deal with a lot of dust, while waste transfer station vehicles need to contend with extreme temperatures and constant heavy loads,”
“It is definitely a very demanding environment, that’s for sure.”
To minimise vehicle challenges and ensure productivity, Ben says Gulf Western Oil has long-term lubricants and maintenance contracts with a range of leading Australian waste management and resource recovery organisations.
“We work with a number of companies that operate hundreds of vehicles for municipal and commercial waste contracts, including heavy vehicles, cars and various light vehicles,” he says.
“If they don’t keep their equipment lubricated and in-check, they won’t be able to effectively service those contracts, which highlights the importance of reliable and trustworthy relationships with quality lubricant suppliers.”
As a family-owned and operated business, Gulf Western Oil has been producing maintenance products for the Australian market since 1988.
Embracing leading global lubricant programs such as the ISO 9001 Quality Assurance Management System Certification, API and OEM approvals, Gulf Western Oil prides itself on only using the highest quality virgin base oils and technologically advanced American Petroleum Institute approved additive systems.
Gulf Western Oil’s extensive range of products includes full synthetic and semi synthetic engine oils, transmission fluids, diff and hydraulic oils, gear oils, coolants, greases and cleaners. Ben adds that the Gulf Western Oil range is continually growing. One of Gulf Western’s most popular ranges is “Top Dog” which has both mineral and semi synthetic options available.
The unique formulation of this particular range contains performance-enhancing wear protection, oxidation control and contaminant handling technology that exceeds the requirements of current lubricant specifications. This facilitates improved efficiencies, Ben says, while reducing downtime within mixed fleets, especially in the harsh conditions of the waste management sector.
Additionally, Gulf Western Oil’s range of coolants and greases work to manage load bearing in high-temperature, high-load and extreme operating environments. The waste sector has highly stringent industry standards and corrective services and maintenance regimes, Ben says. He adds that Gulf Western Oil’s products always go above and beyond those standards.
“We’ve been told by clients that they often drain oil that’s still in good condition, which goes to show the quality of our product. This kind of feedback is what we love to hear,” he says.
In addition to product quality, Ben says Gulf Western Oil’s commitment to service and after-sales support is a high priority for the company.
When clients require oil sampling or information on a product, Ben says they can send an information request via phone, email or through their website. “Customer service is something we pride ourselves on, so we always ensure our responses are prompt, no matter how they are received,” Ben says.
“Our Gulf Western Oil sales representatives work extremely hard to develop strong relationships with their clients and their teams. They make sure to touch base with everyone regularly, keeping them up to date with new developments and products.”
Gulf Western Oil (GWO) has been supplying lubricant solutions to recycling plants for over 30 years, and as such have been able to develop purpose-built products for various applications within the sector.
A major emphasis of the solutions GWO provides for recycling plants has been on reducing the downtime of machinery by creating longer lasting, higher load bearing products. The intention is to enable the services Australia’s recycling plants are now expected to provide, protecting machinery life at the plants, as well as saving clients their money over the course of the year.
The Gulf Western Biodraulic range is a series of hydraulic fluids designed to operate best under high operating temperatures and extended service applications, according to GWO’s Queensland State Manager, Christopher Bright.
The fluids are intended to replace anti-wear, mineral oil-based hydraulic fluids used in hazardous and environmentally sensitive hydraulic applications, offering high performance levels. They enhance the overall hydraulic system operation due to the inherent high level of thermal stability and resistance to oxidation.
The range provides superior oxidation resistance, allowing longer service life, and a high natural viscosity index that ensures “stay in grade viscosity” due to increased resistance to shear down in high-stress applications.
The range also has fire resistant properties, which means if a combustible situation occurs and there is a hydraulic leak, the chance of potential damage to machinery is reduced.
“Imagine a car being crushed, there’s fuel in the line constantly triggering small flames. If you have a line blow on a hydraulic system, a flame could ultimately cause a fire,” explains Bright.
Top Dog Indestructible, is a heavy-duty diesel engine oil containing what Bright describes as “an indestructible additive technology designed to protect high-powered, turbo-charged heavy-duty diesel engines.”
The unique formulation contains performance enhancing and superior wear protection technology that exceeds the requirements of the current lubricant specifications. This allows improved efficiencies, while reducing downtimes within their mixed fleets.
Bright explains that Top Dog Indestructible was designed specifically to alleviate downtime for machinery. “It has the capabilities to last significantly longer so you’re not needing to stop the machine to change the oil so much,” he says.
“It allows for the kind of longevity that saves you from having to change the oil out every 250 hours like standard market offerings,” Inenco Group’s National Product Manager for Lubricants, Steve Keown comments.
“GWO’s longer lasting hydraulic fluids really reduce machinery downtime which, it cannot be emphasised enough, is crucial in this industry.”
In fact, GWO have a specific product within the range, which is designed to last 6000 hours of hydraulic fluid life and, like Top Dog Indestructible, is three times longer than standard offerings on the market in its range.
The product range, Superdraulic Indestructible, is the first of its kind within the Australian market to offer a 6,000-hour oil life. Formulated with full synthetic base oil technology, the latest ultra-sheer stable viscosity modifiers and enhanced levels of anti-wear and antioxidants, Superdraulic Indestructible offers protection for hydraulic systems operating in severe conditions.
Superdraulic Hi Temp is another range of premium grade, high viscosity index, anti-wear hydraulic oils. The range has been formulated specifically for use in hydraulic power or control systems, either mobile or stationary, which are subject to temperature extremes, or are particularly sensitive to changes in temperature.
Due to the superior wear and corrosion protection of the range, it will improve the equipment life of plant machinery. Fluid life is also longer than standard, due to enhanced chemical and thermal stability.
Another feature of the range which Bright says makes recycling plant operators happy is the excellent filterability of the range even when contaminated, thereby preventing filter blockages. This eliminates the need for filter replacement costs and down time.
One of the most important features of GWO products for recycling plants is that they are environmentally sound.
“If you’ve got a machine that blows a hydraulic hose and the oil ends up on the ground, well if its GWO’s biodegradable hydraulic fluid, you don’t end up contaminating that area,” says Bright.
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An environmentally sound oil company? It’s achievable, says Gulf Western Oil.
As with all industries, the wastewater sector relies on the healthy functioning of its machinery, and that requires lubrication.
Oil-based lubricants, however, are generally considered a hindrance to the environment – but Gulf Western Oil (GWO) are working hard to prove this doesn’t have to be the case.
“If you told someone ten years ago that you work for an oil company, well they thought, you don’t look after the environment,” says GWO National Account Manager, Chris Bright.
“But we offset every litre of carbon through our partnership with solar companies and are continually striving to improve our business practices to ensure they are environmentally sound.”
Another initiative that GWO has implemented to mitigate the impact of oil in the environment, is the collection of water from their own facilities to separate contaminants.
“What we do in our own business is we harvest all the water runoffs from the rain from our roofs, and we put it into a separator which removes any contaminants and we keep it in a pit internally. It then gets drained out and taken off to a facility where it will be treated for us.”
GWO are a privately-owned Australian company based in Sydney. Their wastewater collection facility was built in November 2013, in conjunction with the Australian Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
“We built it to the EPA recommendations, so now we’re licensed and tested annually by the EPA to ensure it is environmentally sound.”
This is important, Bright explains, in case there is an incident wherein an oil leak occurs and then its rains.
“We actually have a system in place that if we ever ended up in a scenario where there was an incident, our team is trained to shut off any lines or any material that could potentially go into the storm water drains around us so that there’d be no chance of contaminating leaks going out onto the roads or anything like that, you’d get no contamination from us in the event of an incident.”
“We’ve been working with the EPA every step of the process and were given the greenlight. Also, our facility gets tested by them annually to make sure we’re still compliant.”
Beyond these internal initiatives, GWO also make environmentally sound products, says Bright.
“We have a large range of hydraulic fluid that is now biodegradable. So, if you have an oil leak, for example, the oil will disperse before it actually becomes bad for the environment.”
CBC’s National Product Manager for Lubricants, Steve Keown, explains further why lubricants are such a critical part of the wastewater treatment process.
“With an array of equipment including gearboxes, pumps, chains, blowers, compressors, slides and guides, as well as the key components of these which includes bearings, it’s important to get the lubrication right so that they function well – especially in severely corrosive environments such as those common to the wastewater industry,” says Keown.
“Reliable lubrication is essential to keeping your plant online and operating efficiently to meet current regulations and budgets.”
“Yet, lubricants are often first off the mark when budget cuts are made,” Keown says, “which is a mistake.”
“Lubricant replenishment costs are relatively minor when compared to the initial infrastructure cost, and the expense and consequences of unplanned equipment failure will not only be inconvenient but can lead to a greater environmental footprint and increased energy usage.”
Keown recommends choosing a lubricants supplier that offers a quality product range but also factors in their environmental impact.
“GWO are renowned as a quality lubricants supplier. They’re also operating in an environmentally-conscious manner, not only with their products but in their practices as a company. It’s commendable.”
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