COVID-19 Impact on Lubricant Manufacturers

Lubricant manufacturers face a broad set of challenges in 2022. As well as navigating the negative impacts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers must contend with highly volatile prices, rising energy costs, limited base oil supply, surging freight charges, rising manufacturing costs and sustainability challenges.

As a result, many lubricant manufacturers are looking for proven and effective methods to increase operational efficiency and reduce costs.

A key technology being increasingly implemented by lubricant manufacturers is liquid product recovery (“pigging”). Here’s a detailed description of what pigging is and how it works.

From increasing yields and capacity, to reducing waste and product cross-contamination risks, HPS pigging technology delivers a wide range of benefits and a high return on investment. That’s why it’s become a ‘must-have’ investment for manufacturers of lubricants, greases, and other liquids.

Pigging Systems for Lubricants and Greases

HPS pigging systems are used with everything from motor oil and gearbox oil to hydraulic oil, greases and many more.

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To put it briefly, pigging systems for lubricants use a specialist projectile (called the ‘pig’) to recover the residual liquid from the pipe. The pig fits extremely compactly in the pipeline, so it pushes the residual product from the pipe to its destination (typically filler’ or tank, bottling or packaging, or to continue processing with the rest of the product).

Importantly, instead of sending product to waste, pigging recovers it. So, the benefits and savings from pigging are significant.

In addition to lubricants and greases, other products ‘pigged’ during their production process using pigging include food, beverages, confectionery, household liquids, cosmetics, personal care, pet food, paint, coatings plus many others.

lubricant processing and production

Cost Savings with a Pigging System

By recovering the residual liquid product from the pipe, pigging systems are an extremely effective way to increase yields.

The reclaimed product is perfectly saleable product. It’s in the same condition as the rest of the product being processed, and It’s not been downgraded.

But, without a pigging system, this product would be sent to waste, or for use in a downgraded product, during the changeover process.
With lubricant manufacturers facing unprecedented challenges such as rising costs, and tighter margins, they certainly want to avoid hindering the bottom line even more by throwing away saleable product. So, that’s why many lubricant manufacturers are adding pigging systems to their production line.

HPS recently installed a pigging system for a manufacturer of lubricant oils. The manufacturer is expected to recover an annual sales revenue of just under £600,000. The payback period is also quick, at less than 5 months.

Reduction in Product Waste with a Pigging System

Along with the immediate product savings, waste treatment and disposal costs also decrease with a pigging system (due to less product being sent to waste).

Many lubricant manufacturers spend significant amounts of money on waste disposal. So, reducing these financial outlays will seriously improve operational profits.

And the reduction in waste means improved efficiency, faster changeovers, better productivity, enhanced cleaning, reduced energy consumption, improved sustainability, again resulting in lower costs and higher profits.

Reduced Cross-Contamination Risks

Pigging systems are a must for lubricant manufacturers because they reduce the chances of cross-contamination.

In lubricant blending plants, large quantities of lubricant often remain in the pipe at the end of a specific batch transfer, resulting in cross-contamination with the next batch.

Cross-contamination can be extremely costly for lubricant manufacturers. In many cases, the cross-contaminated product would require re-work, resulting in it being downgraded. The implications of this would be higher production costs, lost sales revenue, and lower profit margins.

With a pigging process, the chances of product cross-contamination and contamination are greatly reduced.

HPS pigging systems have extremely high recovery rates (typically up to 99.5% from full pipelines). So, by recovering the vast majority of product from the pipe, not only does pigging decrease the risks of cross-contamination, but it also keeps lubricant re-work costs to a minimal, while maintaining product integrity and value.

lubricant manufacturers benefiting from pigging

Increasing Production Capacity and Flexibility with a Pigging System

From motor oil to hydraulic oil, lubricant manufacturers must often manage a wide product portfolio of lubricating oils in their production plants. Therefore, production flexibility is essential to cope with the frequent changeovers and be more responsive to customer needs.

With a pigging system, instead of using a dedicated line for each product (which is costly and inefficient), lubricant manufacturers can use a shared pipeline for transferring different formulations of lubricant blends. This improves competitiveness as well as the capacity, and flexibility of lubricant production.

Because the HPS pig recovers so much product from the pipeline, it enables lubricant manufacturers to handle product changeovers with minimal downtime. The changeover process typically requires significant labour and equipment downtime, which is expensive and inefficient.

However, in some cases, with a pigging system, it’s possible to process the next product immediately after the line has been pigged.

Please note, pipelines may still need to be cleaned and reconfigured between different product batches. However, the cleaning requirement will nearly always be far less with a pigging solution.

Other Reasons Pigging Systems are a Must for Lubricant Manufacturers

Other key benefits of pigging systems for lubricants and greases include increased productivity, improved process efficiency, and better profitability.

This is through a reduction in waste, higher yields, reduced cross-contamination risks, increased capacity, faster changeovers, ease of cleaning, less downtime, decreased energy usage, and reduced environmental impact.

Importantly, pigging systems offer tangible benefits, and deliver a high return on investment. Lubricant manufacturers can also offset increasing costs, improve profits and the bottom line by using pigging technology.

That’s why pigging systems are becoming a must-have investment in lubricant processing plants throughout the world.

pigging systems for lubricants

Find Out More

HPS have been in business for more than two decades and have successfully implemented thousands of pigging systems. This includes major lubricant and greases manufacturers such as Rock Oil, Tetrosyl, Exol Lubricants, Fuchs, and many more. HPS technology is proven and trusted throughout the world.

If you process lubricants, or just about any other liquid or wet product, and want to talk with one of our experts about improving your processes using HPS pigging and liquid product recovery technology, then please contact HPS.

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