Despite the global economic downturn of the past two years, by all reports the worlds appetite for food-grade lubricants has continued to expand. Huge volumes of food are being processed, packaged and transported worldwide, lengthening the food supply chain and increasing the opportunities for food-grade lubes at each step.
Paul Grives of ExxonMobil Lubricants & Specialties in Fairfax, Va., points out that machines now touch our food in ways previously unimagined. It used to be if you wanted to make a salad, you bought a head of lettuce and cut it up, peeled and cut up carrots and other ingredients, and mixed them together. Salad doesnt grow inside a bag – but thats how most people get it now, he observed last month. Overall, were seeing more food processing, both localized and centralized. To do this efficiently and competitively, he added, higher volume throughputs are needed, with equipment working longer, faster and at higher temperatures than ever. Theres a larger role for food-grade lubricants – and greater need to ensure the lubricants are up to the job.