Dairy Industry, Manufacturing And Automated Technology Equipment

A well-oiled machine lasts longer and performs better. But the lubrication process is time-consuming, and using poor quality grease can result in increased equipment downtime and maintenance costs. 

To learn more about lubricating food industry equipment, we spoke with Andrew Bolton of Fantastic Synthetics, an independent dealer of Amsoil products.

In 1972, Amsoil became the first synthetic motor oil brought to the market and receive American Petroleum Institute certification for automotive use. “We started as an independent oil company,” Bolton says, “and we brought the first motor oil to the market, which is now the pioneer of synthetic motor oil in cars.” The company’s founder, Al Amatuzio, was inducted into the Lubricants World Hall of Fame in 1994. “If it weren't for Amsoil, there would not be any Mobil 1, Royal Purple, or any of those big-name brands out there today.”

Though known primarily for its automotive success, Amsoil also has a product designed for food processing equipment — X-Treme Synthetic Food-Grade Grease. “Amsoil isn't a very big player in the food industry now,” Bolton says. “I want to be the one to change that.” 

Understanding lubricant ratings 

Lubricants protect against rust and serve as a release agent for gaskets and seals. Though they’re no substitute for regular maintenance, lubricants help extend the life of food processing machinery and improve operation. But there are a few things to be aware of when choosing greasing products.

The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) registers lubricants as H1, H2, or H3 based on these qualities: 

  • H1 lubricants, also known as “above the line” lubricants, are rated for incidental food contact. They must include only ingredients permissible by FDA regulations and should be used sparingly to remain within safe contamination levels.
  • H2 lubricants, or “below the line” lubricants, should only be applied where there is no chance of food contact. This opens up options for formulations, as long as lubricants don’t include heavy metals, carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, or mineral acids.
  • Finally, H3 lubricants are edible oils — like corn, soybean, or sunflower — often used for rust prevention on hooks, conveyors, and trolleys. 

A one-size-fits-all greasing solution

Amsoil’s food-grade grease is an H1 lubricant with a wide temperature range. Unlike other greases, which are typically temperature-constrained, it can oil machinery that handles both hot and cold extremes, anywhere between -49° to 482°F. So the same product works for everything from ice cream to bread manufacturing. 

But the real benefit comes from reduced downtime. “Food processing machines are very expensive,” Bolton says, “and if they go down, you have people standing around, you might have to send people home, or you might have products going bad.” He estimates that it takes an hour to grease just one machine, which takes time away from other important maintenance tasks. Extending the interval between lubrications increases a machine’s uptime.

There are a few formulation issues that can cause grease to wear off prematurely. For equipment that requires washdowns, water washout can be a concern if the grease lacks sufficient adhering ability. Excessive heat can also strip grease quickly. 

Amsoil’s food-grade grease cut downs on downtime so equipment stays up and running longer. Bolton says Amsoil’s product lasts twice as long as other greases on the market. That’s because of its strong hold and resistance to water washout and heat buildup.

It costs less, too. “I’ve seen a lot of food-grade greases out there that are $19 for one cartridge,” Bolton says. “Our wholesale rates start at $8 a cartridge and go down from there with volume purchasing and the discounts for commercial programs we have available.” And because Amsoil has warehouses across North America, they can offer fast shipping.

In addition to its food-grade grease, Amsoil’s extensive product line ensures every machine in a food processing plant stays well-oiled, including non-production line equipment like forklifts. The company can also supply H2 and H3 oils, as well as custom blends. “If there is a lubrication problem, we can probably fix it,” Bolton says.

Fantastic Synthetics is making its first appearance at PROCESS EXPO with the goal of forging connections in the food industry, learning more about the challenges food processors face, and spotlighting Amsoil’s food-grade lubricant. “I try to find big shows that really hit the nail on the head for marketing our undiscovered products,” Bolton says, “and PROCESS EXPO fills in all the blanks.” \

To learn more about the Amsoil product line, you can find Fantastic Synthetics at Booth #145 at PROCESS EXPO.