High-end Grease Production Rises


Total worldwide grease production reached nearly 1.7 billion pounds (764 million kilograms) in 2003, the highest total ever reported in NLGIs annual survey. Reported production of higher performing greases rose significantly: Lithium complex grease production jumped 12.5 percent, and polyurea grease production was up 5 percent over 2002s worldwide totals.

More companies are responding to NLGIs annual survey of grease production, said Joseph A. Lurz Jr., president of J & A Consultants, Spring, Texas, who has conducted the survey for NLGI since 1995. Were very pleased with the response, and the comparative numbers [for North America and Europe] are also good.

The comparative totals went down a little, but grease is still a thriving business. People are buying higher quality greases that last longer. The increases [for high quality greases] are impressive.

In North America (the United States, Canada and Mexico), total reported grease production in 2003 was 504.7 million pounds, or 228.9 million kg.

Looking at North American production on a comparative basis (including only those companies that have provided production data for each of the past four years), total grease production slipped just 0.2 percent from 2002. Lithium complex grease production rose a strong 10.1 percent, and polyurea grease was up 2.1 percent, reflecting the markets move to higherperformance and fill-for-life products.

Total European grease production in 2003 was 443 million pounds (201 million kg.). On a comparative basis, European grease production also declined slightly from 2002, by 0.7 percent. As in North America, lithium complex and polyurea grease production rose 8 percent and 2 percent respectively. Production of calcium grease, more popular in Europe than North America, rose 10 percent.

The 20-page 2003 report provides detailed production data by type of thickener for each of the past four years for North America; Europe; the Caribbean, Central and South America (74 million pounds of total reported production in 2003); Africa and the Middle East (58 million pounds); India and the Indian subcontinent (142 million pounds); Japan (142 million pounds); the Pacific and Southeast Asia (85 million pounds); and the Peoples Republic of China (236 million pounds).

The NLGIproduction survey has been conductedsince1957, said Chuck Hitchcock, general manager of the Kansas City-based institute.

Copies of the NLGI Grease Production Survey Report are available for U.S. $25 for NLGI members and $40 to nonmembers of the institute. NLGI can be contacted through its web site www.nlgi.org.

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