NLGI High-Performance Multiuse Grease Specifications
Greg Morris, Shell Oil Company, Americas Product Application Specialist Team Lead and Grease Product Application Specialist
Part of my role working with the Shell Lubricants research, marketing, and supply chain teams is to deliver innovative products for the local and global markets. This includes being an active participant in the advancement of the lubricants industry, including greases, to meet the service needs of trucks and equipment. Since joining the National Lubricating Grease Institute (NLGI) Board of Directors in 2014, this has been an ongoing focus.
Along with advances in technology and truck design has come the need to review and update the current specification for greases. The current standards took effect in 1989 when the NLGI began licensing lubricating grease through their Certification Mark program which includes the well-known GC-LB Performance classification. The GC-LB specifications have been in effect as defined by ASTM D4950 which is the Standard Classification and Specification for Automotive Service Greases. Today, more than 300 total products are licensed by 85 different companies for GC-LB.
Although originally developed as an automotive chassis and wheel bearing specification for aftermarket service greases, GC-LB today is also recognized as a mark of quality for grease used on trucks of all classes as well as construction and agriculture equipment.
Due to advancements in materials, technologies, and applications, as well as several of the D4950 tests now being obsolete or in need of modernization, the NLGI saw a need to work with lubricant suppliers and vehicle and equipment manufacturers to upgrade the GC-LB specification. In July 2019, the decision was made to develop a new grease specification with higher performance and broader utility to the industry.
This work was inclusive of lubricant additive and manufacturers working cooperatively with other NLGI members and stakeholders on the HPM steering committee to develop the requirements for a set of new NLGI High-Performance Multiuse (HPM) specifications which took effect this year. This included setting testing limits and consolidation of feedback in order to create the new specifications for the industry.
The result was the new NLGI HPM base specification. In addition, a number of sub-categories with separate tests and limits for enhanced performance were developed for greases that meet the core HPM specification. They include the following areas:
- Enhanced Water Resistance (WR)
- High Load Carrying Capacity (HL)
- Low Temperature Performance (LT)
- Saltwater Corrosion Resistance (CR)
In the trucking industry, the HPM specification and GC-LB specification will co-exist. ASTM D4950 was reapproved in 2019 and will remain valid until at least 2024. Work is ongoing to revamp the ASTM tests that constitute the specification in order to modernize the standard.
A number of Shell Gadus greases which are suitable for centralized chassis lubrication systems and can also be used on a spring pivot, hanger pins, suspension spring pins, steering kingpins, and fifth wheel turntables are expected to meet the new HPM specification with approval anticipated within 2021. These greases include the following:
- Shell Gadus S2 V220 is a mineral based grease that is designed to be a high-performance multipurpose grease that also meets the LB specification.
- Shell Gadus S3 V220C is a best-in-class mineral based grease made for fleet and industrial applications. The grease is also expected to meet the HPM CR, WR, and potentially, the HL specifications. The versatile grease also meets the current GC-LB specifications.
- Shell Gadus S5 V220 is a premium synthetic grease that offers long service life and enhanced performance in extreme environmental temperatures. It is expected to meet the HPM CR and LT specifications.
When it comes to grease selection, Shell Lubricants has invested in the future of its Shell Gadus grease products to meet the demands. This is important as specifications evolve and performance expectations continue to increase for fleets and owner/operator drivers.
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