With 82 million people and a GDP of 2,570 billion (US $3,269 billion), Germany represents the largest population and economy in the European Union, and the worlds fourth-largest economy. Its a manufacturing dynamo, with exports of hard goods – chiefly industrial machinery, passenger cars, automotive components and chemicals – generating 46 percent of its GDP. One in five German workers is employed in the manufacturing sector, in its auto plants and mines, steel mills and railroads, power plants, cement mills, food, paper and other factories.
All this creates an abiding thirst for advanced industrial lubricants, observes Karl-Josef Minis of Fuchs Europe Schmierstoffe GmbH in Mannheim, Germany, a leading independent lubricant manufacturer. The countrys total consumption of lubricants surpassed 1 million metric tons in 2011, 1.8 percent higher than in 2010, and industrial products (process oils, hydraulic fluids, turbine oils, gear oils, compressor lubes, metalworking and cutting oils, etc.) made up over half the lubes sold. Yet one of the highest-tech products has a relatively small share of this volume: lubricating greases.