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Lube-Tech PUBLISHED BY LUBE: THE EUROPEAN LUBRICANTS INDUSTRY MAGAZINE 2015 Lithium demand breakdown Figure 2: Projected market share erosion from 11% to 8% (2015 to 2017).


According to the National Lubricating Grease Institute (NLGI) 2017 Global Production Survey, Lithium based grease (soap and complex grease) comprises 74% of the total grease market share. Among the remaining four grease types, summarised in Table 1, Calcium based grease, Aluminium grease and Overbased Calcium Sulphonate Grease (OBCSG) three that are considered specialty greases that have specific uses and benefits. For instance, OBCSG has gained popularity attributed to its inherent Extreme Pressure (EP) performance. Neither is expected to become the mainstream option to replace Lithium grease. PU grease, currently at 6% globally, on the other hand, is recognised as a non-metallic grease with similar soap (hydrogen bound capable) thickener structures and is known for its high temperature stability, low noise characteristic (since it is non-metallic thickener), and good mechanical, oxidation and high-shear stability (since it is organic thickener). These unique


characteristics make it the original equipment manufacturers’ (OEMs) and users’ first choice for sealed-for-life bearings, ball bearings, constant velocity joints (CVJ), electric motor applications, and for high temperature applications such as continuous casting in steel mills. The widespread use of PU grease (abbreviated as PUG) is evident in Japan (29%, see Table 1 under JP).


However, the limitation in the use of PU grease elsewhere is in part due to the difficulties in its manufacturing. Once that is overcome, we believe polyurea grease, with OEM’s acceptance and the growing recognition of its unique performance, will be the future/next generation grease to replace Lithium.’ Most of the PUG and traditional manufacturing today requires the use of MDI and TDI that are highly toxic and sensitive to temperature and moisture, and the amines that are hazardous and reactive (see Figure 3


No.129 page 2 2021F Lithium demand breakdown


Table 1: 2017 NLGI global grease production survey.


LUBE MAGAZINE NO.158 AUGUST 2020


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