Grease Production Jumps in Europe


Lubricating grease production in Europe increased 8 percent in 2017, according to the National Lubricating Grease Institutes annual production survey, which was released last week. Production in Europe shifted toward products made with calcium soap thickeners and polyurea greases, while output in Africa also shifted toward calcium soaps.

European grease producers participating in the survey reported making 486 million pounds of grease last year, or 18.8 percent of the worldwide total of 2.6 billion pounds. The Middle East and Africa reported making 126 million pounds, or 4.5 percent of global total.

The report is the worlds most comprehensive survey of grease production, but officials with the United States-based NLGI always emphasize that grand totals should not be used to gauge year-to-year shifts since participants vary from one year to the next.

The association does show totals of figures reported by all companies that have participated for three years running and advises that those numbers serve better for year-to-year comparisons. Based on comparative data, grease production in Europe jumped 8 percent in 2017, making the biggest contribution to a global increase of 3.2 percent.

The percentage of greases made with lithium complex soap thickeners continued to gradually increase in the Middle East and Africa, while the percentage made with conventional lithium soap thickeners continued to ebb. Production of conventional lithium and lithium complex were 69.2 percent and 16.6 percent respectively in those regions. In Europe production of both types of lithium thickeners dipped – to 54.9 percent for conventional and 16.1 percent for complex.

Use of calcium thickeners rose in both regions – to 13.9 percent in Europe and 7.6 percent in the Middle East and Africa. Polyurea greases now account for 5.9 percent of European greases. The Middle East and Africa dont produce polyurea greases, according to survey results, but production of those using organophillic clay thickeners jumped to 1.9 percent.

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