Advancing Multiuse Grease Industry Specifications

Advancing Multiuse Grease Industry Specifications

Jan 9, 2021

A new NLGI high-performance multiuse grease specification is delivering performance benefits with wider industry application.

Industrial grease continues to be a critical design component for a wide range of industrial and automotive equipment. As well as protecting the surface from wear and corrosion, correctly specified and formulated lubricating greases provide vital component durability while enabling lower energy consumption.

The NLGI licenses lubricating greases through its certification mark program, including the GC-LB performance classification for chassis lubricants (letter designation L) and wheel bearing lubricants (letter designation G). Products meeting the latest LB and GC standards are authorized to use the mark.

Greases obtaining GC-LB certification have been tested and verified to demonstrate performance characteristics according to the ASTM D4950 “Standard Classification and Specification for Automotive Service Greases,” first introduced in 1989.

Improvements in materials, technologies and applications, together with precision issues with several of the ASTM D4950 tests, have led to a new set of high-performance multiuse (HPM) grease specifications.

Introduced in January 2021, the HPM grease specification will deliver performance improvements over the existing GC-LB specification, as well as having wider industry application.

While new HPM certified products will provide additional performance benefits, the NLGI GC-LB specification will remain; continuing to satisfy specific applications, notably in the trucking industry where they are still widely used for the chassis lubrication benefits they deliver.

The new HPM grease specification defines the tests and limits required for greases to meet the core specification, with the inclusion of new tests, as well as stricter limits over the existing GC-LB specification.

In addition to the HPM core specification, greases can obtain certification offering enhanced levels of performance in each of the following categories:

  • HPM + WR (Water resistance)
  • HPM + CR (Saltwater corrosion resistance)
  • HPM + HL (High load carrying capacity)
  • HPM + LL (Enhanced long life) – due to test equipment issues, this has been delayed until at least 2023
  • HPM + LT (low temperature performance)

Depending upon the application requirement, grease marketers are able to offer greases which meet one or more specification. For example, applications requiring a standard level of performance would be marketed an HPM certified grease, while greases requiring, say, enhanced levels of water resistance and corrosion resistance would be marketed as an HPM- + WR- + CR-certified grease.

The new HPM specification upgrade will impact all stakeholders in the value chain, through to the consumer with the provision of better greases to protect and maximize the utilization of their investment.

The provision of higher-performing greases in the market provides OEMs with the opportunity for their use with equipment and components running at more severe operational conditions. Upgrading baseline performance levels from the GC-LB to HPM specification provides tangible durability benefits for the OEM and vehicle owner alike.

For grease marketers, the new specification provides the opportunity to develop and market higher-performing multiuse grease solutions that better satisfy the specific needs of the equipment’s application.

Likewise, for the retailer, the opportunity exists to sell higher value grease solutions, supported by increased staff knowledge and point of sale communications.

Our View

The new NLGI high-performance multiuse grease specification delivers performance benefits with wider industry application. Higher-performing HPM greases are enabled through the use of advanced additives and polymers; each carefully formulated alongside higher quality thickeners and base oils.

While specialty greases continue to be required in extreme operating conditions, the new HPM specification provides a true upgrade in multi grease performance, delivering tangible benefits to all stakeholders in the supply chain.

For more information on the NLGI HPM grease specification, contact your Lubrizol representative.

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