Idemitsu Cuts Out Chlorine


Idemitsu Kosan Co.s lubricant portfolio for Japan is chlorine-free after the company removed the element from its cutting fluids last month. The Tokyo-based conglomerate is the first lubricant supplier in Japan to forsake the element.

Officials said the company has worked for more than a decade to cease its use of chlorine. They predicted that other suppliers will work to at least reduce chlorine content in their own products.

For improvement of the environment, we sincerely hope that other oil companies will follow us in replacing chlorine with new-technology additives, said Masashi Yokomura of Idemitsu Kosans U.S. subsidiary, Apollo America Corp.

With annual domestic sales of 145 million gallons, Idemitsu Kosan is the second-biggest lubricant marketer in Japan (behind Nippon Oil Corp.) and the leader in the metalworking fluid segment, with a 23 percent market share. The company began removing chlorine from its lubes in 1991, and as of last year had eliminated it from 85 percent of itsoutput. That left only 17,000 gallons of cutting oils stillcontaining chlorine. The company removed the element from formulas for those products last month.

Idemitsu Kosan continues to use chlorine in some products sold in other regions.

The company said it took the action in Japan out of concern for workers and the environment. When lubricants containing chlorine are burned, they emit gases that erode equipment and may generate dioxins, which are carcinogenic, according to Idemitsu.

Typically, chlorine and chlorinated additives have been used in metalworking fluids to provide extreme pressure protection, particularly in severe applications, Idemitsu said, such as broaching, hobbing and gun drilling.

To make up for the loss of chlorine, Idemitsu Kosan reformulated its Daphne Magplus line of cutting fluids to use high-qualify base stocks in combination with sulfur-based EP additives, synthetic oiliness improvers and a new micro solid type additive called a shock releaser.

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