Ask any technical manager of a plastics injection molding plant what their key challenges are, and productivity will no doubt be at the top of the list. To remain competitive, most must run their manufacturing highly efficiently in a 24/7 operation. There is no time for machine breakdowns and, if one does occur, often it’s blamed on a mechanical failure rather than poor lubrication.

Lubricants play a vital role in helping to extend the life of plastics molding machines. Indeed, in hydraulic injection molding, the hydraulic oil is the lifeblood of the machine. Its primary purpose is to transmit power mechanically throughout the system. In so doing it is exposed to high pressure, fluctuations in temperature and various contaminants, such as water and air. This means that a good hydraulic oil should be able to cope with typical application challenges such as wear, corrosion, oil leaks, fluctuating temperature, oxidation and thermal breakdown, and build-up of varnish and sludge that could lead to blockages and malfunctioning valves and filters.

Investing in high quality hydraulic oil may not seem like a top economic priority for a plastics production plant. Hydraulic oil is a fraction of the maintenance budget, but the long-term savings can be significant. When evaluating the effect of quality lubricants, consider total cost of ownership (TCO): the total amount spent on industrial equipment, including the cost of acquisition and operation over its entire working life, including costs of lost production during equipment downtime.

“Multiple surveys conducted by hydraulic equipment manufacturers and other industry bodies have shown that 50% to 70% of failures in hydraulic equipment are linked to oil quality and oil cleanliness1,” says Ahmet Guven, Product Application Specialist for hydraulics and circulating oils at Shell Lubricants. “To be more productive and cost effective, customers have to choose the right hydraulic oil and keep it clean and cool to enable their equipment to run continuously.”

Shell developed its Tellus range of hydraulic oils to meet the demands of hydraulic systems, offering protection against wear, oxidation resistance, thermal stability, hydrolytic stability and filterability. First introduced in 1947 to inhibit rust and oxidation, over the past 70 years the formulation of Tellus has been enhanced and improved to match changing hydraulic system design and customer needs.

More than 200 scientists and lubricants engineers are dedicated to developing innovative lubricants technology at a variety of Shell Lubricant research centres throughout the world. As the process of creating new formulations is highly complex, Shell works closely with leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), to understand the needs of equipment and performance requirements.

The latest addition to the Shell Tellus range - Shell Tellus S2 MX – took 10 years to develop. It offers increased productivity, with extended oil life2 and outstanding system efficiency. Once rigorously tested in the lab, customer field trials are conducted to further validate its performance.

For instance, AGI Freden GmbH, a Germany-based leader of plastic products that specialises in injection-moulded packaging solutions for DVDs and video games, has been running Shell Tellus S2 MX on its plastics molding machines for the past few years. Before this, AGI Freden had been using Shell’s last generation Tellus S2 hydraulic oil for some 48,000 hours (six years) without a fluid change“With Shell Lubricants, we have established a relationship that offers the same level that we expect from our own team members in terms of technical expertise, quick response and a very professional service. The optimal outcome of this trial with Shell Tellus S2 MX would be to increase the lifetime of the hydraulic fluid even further,” says Dieter Gottschalk, General Manager at AGI Freden.

In addition to the right lubricant, Shell offers services to support customers in helping to reduce machinery downtime and maintenance costs. These include LubeAnalyst, a means of monitoring the oil quality in their hydraulic systems to help identify any potential problems at an early stage, and LubeExpert, a technical consultation service that offers application-specific knowledge.

Selecting the right lubricant together with harnessing support from these specialist technical services from Shell Lubricants is a critical step in improving productivity and helping to realize significant TCO savings.

For more information on how Shell can help you improve your total cost of ownership or to speak to ask a technical question, contact us today.

1 Multiple surveys by industry bodies including additive companies, filter manufactures, hydraulic equipment manufacturers. One source includes Parker Hannifin GmbH Bulletin: HY30-3248/ UK: Hydraulic Fluids for Parker Axial Piston Pumps Series PV

2 Compared in ASTM D2272 RPVOT test where Tellus S2 MX and Tellus S3 M achieve 400 mins

3 The savings indicated are specific to the calculation date and mentioned site. These calculations may vary from site to site and from time to time, depending on, for example, the application, the operating conditions, the current product being used, the condition of the equipment and the maintenance practices.

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