Field testing with Rhenus Lub

Among other things, we offer our customers on-site assistance from expert staff, application-specific expertise and – without doubt – the best possible solution.

An all-rounder in action

Rotary bucket excavators or huge machines in open-cast mining are the largest land vehicles in the world and operate at the limits of technical feasibility. With the right lubricant, all their components are reliably lubricated and enjoy a longer service life.

Initial situation

An open-cast mine is a challenging environment. A rotary bucket excavator operates around the clock for up to 365 days a year and, depending on its size, moves up to 240,000 m3 of material per day. There are more than 2,000 lubrication points located throughout the machine that must be reliably supplied with grease via a central lubrication system. By changing the grease, the customer aimed to achieve longer maintenance intervals, reduce bearing wear, and improve the reliability of the central lubrication system.


Depending on the location of the central lubrication system, the grease has to be transported over a distance of up to 160 metres and up to a height of approx. 100 metres. The lubrication points are subject to a wide range of environmental influences: sand, dirt, mud, water, sunshine, driving rain, heat, cold and chemically active substances such as coal dust.

For the targeted lubrication of key components, the grease must remain pumpable over a wide range of temperatures and withstand environmental conditions for as long as possible.

Given the diversity of application sites with their different loads, an approval test under laboratory conditions is no substitute for real-life applications. The grease must therefore be tested under real-life conditions as part of a field trial.


Following detailed analysis of the operating conditions and thanks to experience shared by the customer, a suitable grease was developed for testing. This involved drawing up various development approaches and evaluating them in a range of laboratory tests.

In order to test the grease under real-life conditions, a test plan was drawn up in coordination with the customer. This plan included all the information and framework conditions needed for the approval test, such as the duration of testing, the applications to be lubricated in the test, and the time intervals between sampling.

Following a thorough risk evaluation, it was decided that a grease sample would be taken at an appropriate point every six weeks. The total duration of this approval test was set at a minimum of one year, such that it was possible to cover all four seasons. At the same time, the short intervals between grease sampling and evaluation meant that component failure was practically ruled out.

Rhenus Lub was responsible for approval testing, including sampling, laboratory analysis and the accompanying documentation. Once the trial period was complete, the documented results were collated and presented to the customer. The new lubricant was then approved in light of the absence of any complaints and given the total satisfaction with the product. Since then, the customer has been making full and successful use of the new lubricant.

Further advantages

  • We’re on hand whenever and wherever you need us to be – with technical expertise and the necessary equipment.
  • Our internal development and testing capacities enable us to develop greases for numerous applications.
  • Our technically experienced staff plan and support various approval tests in coordination with the customer.
  • By taking a proactive approach, we identify any potential for optimisation in your machines and systems.
  • You benefit from comprehensive cost optimisation thanks to longer maintenance intervals, improved service life and reduced wear.

Contact us if you have any further queries!

We’re here to help! Contact us to arrange a free, personal consultation – we’re also happy to come to you.