Special greases are paving the way to the future of mobility

By 2020, Deutsche Bahn will equip 60,000 goods wagons with state-of-the-art “whisper brakes”. The company is investing around EUR 230 million for the conversion. The numbers speak for themselves: Reducing unwanted noise is one of the greatest challenges facing railway operators. Special high-performance lubricating greases from Rhenus Lub can help here.

Loud squeaking and rattling indicate unwanted friction — noise emissions that not only impact the environment, but can also cause increased wear of rails, wheels or wheel bearings. Industry experts know that noise-reduced rail traffic, long service lives, high efficiency and effective environmental protection cannot be achieved through one sweeping technical solution alone. Rather, many small steps are needed to achieve success that can be clearly measured. Using specific solutions, the lubricant experts from Rhenus Lub show how this is accomplished.

Lubrication and adhesion — the combination required for friction-free wheel flanges

To prevent excessive wear of wheels in bends, good lubrication of the wheel flanges on the wheels is especially important. But beware! The wheel treads must remain free of grease contamination. How then can railway operators prevent unwanted friction on wheel flanges and at the same time guarantee optimal force transmission and braking action for trains and freight cars? This question engages companies in the passenger transportation and freight transportation sector in equal measure. And Rhenus Lub has the answer: Special lubricants such as rhenus BDG 02 that combine adhesion and lubricating effects as well as being optimally tailored to the special requirements of the railway industry. rhenus BDG 02 is about to receive official approval by the testing institutes for the rail industry as an innovative wheel flange lubricant. The solvent-free grease impresses customers above all with its high adhesion properties. It reliably stays in place at the point of application even at high speeds and under heavy loads — it is not thrown off the wheel flange, the wheel flange is optimally lubricated, while the wheel treads remain clean. Users in the railway industry also benefit from the lubricant’s exceptional conveying properties in central lubrication systems. Thanks to its high stability under pressure, rhenus BDG 02 ensures reliable lubricant adhesion to the wheel flanges even after extended downtime.

Environmentally compatible thanks to special base oil

Lubricant specialists know that high-performance alone has long not been enough to satisfy customers from today’s railway industry. “As early as the development stages for new lubricants, we make sure that all components are very compatible with the environment and humans”, explains Dr Piotr Tkaczuk, Product Manager for Greases at Rhenus Lub. “Modern trains, freight cars and locomotives easily cover thousands of kilometres today. In the process, it can never be completely ruled out that grease particles will not enter the soil or groundwater at some point. Lubricants that we have developed specifically for use outdoors degrade with no residue within a very short period of time in such a case”. Therefore, rhenus BDG 02 was also formulated specifically on the basis of an especially environmentally compatible base oil. Railway operators—and the environment—like that.

Long service life and maximum reliability 

It is no longer uncommon for modern wheelset bearings to achieve mileages of millions of kilometres. At the same time, these components are also some of the most important parts of a railway vehicle when it comes to reliability. Today’s high-performance bearings easily handle the balancing act of providing both a long service life and maximum reliability — not least of all thanks to unique special greases such as rhenus LWW 2 GE.
The universal lithium EP lubricant is the first grease in its class to feature the innovative PSLF+ additive technology. PSLF+ stands for “Plane Surface — extreme Low Friction”. For Rhenus Lub customers, this means a smooth surface with very low friction — and ultimately a longer service life for roller and plain bearings subject to heavy loads.

“Thanks to the use of this innovative new additive, rhenus LWW 2 GE significantly reduces abrasion in bearings subject to high loads and even smoothes metal surfaces”, says Product Manager Dr Piotr Tkaczuk of the new technology. “Whether in wheelsets, electric motors or spreader rollers for the paper and textile industries — in any application where bearings are subject to high loads, our customers can count on the new PSLF+ technology”. As practical tests have shown, rhenus LWW 2 GE considerably lowers the temperature at the point of use even for longer operating times under high loads. A further benefit is offered in outdoor applications, where the new type of grease can be used in an extremely wide temperature range of -40 to +140 degrees Celsius and exhibits good water resistance. This ensures reliable lubrication of wheelset bearings even in the most extreme adverse weather conditions. At the same time, the synthetic high-performance lubricating grease has a high level of oxidation stability, is resistant to ageing and offers reliable protection against wear and corrosion at the application site.

Pressure and heat no match for high-performance grease

An additional example from practical applications: In the railway industry in particular, components are subjected to high thermal and mechanical loads simultaneously. Rhenus Lub has developed the high-temperature EP grease rhenus LKI 2 especially for these demanding requirements. This semi-synthetic lubricant is very resistant to ageing and water. How it benefits railway operators: With an operating temperature range of -40 to +150 degrees Celsius, it reliably withstands high thermal loads and has a high pressure absorption capacity even after extended downtime. rhenus LKI 2 impresses railway operators, for instance, with reliable operation of cardan shafts and universal joints in locomotives.

rhenus LKO 2 — a friction coefficient revolution

Rhenus Lub is also setting standards in the railway industry with the new lithium complex-saponified special grease rhenus LKO 2. Thanks to its innovative additivation, this lubricant exhibits an extremely low friction coefficient of 0.04. Even at room temperature, it reduces friction in bearings under high loads extremely effectively and provides exceptionally high performance up to high temperatures. As a result, Rhenus Lub customers achieve very long service lives with rhenus LKO 2 — even in special applications, such as lubricating bow collectors and pantographs, such as one leg pantographs or diamond pantographs. With its technical properties, rhenus LKO 2 guarantees a long service life of the entire component when used in practical applications. As an EP grease from the latest generation of synthetic oil-based products, the high-performance grease is extremely stable mechanically and also absorbs high pressures without difficulty. At the same time, it has a wide operating temperature range of -40 to +150 degrees Celsius. rhenus LKO 2 is additionally characterised by its considerably longer service life, good resistance to water and outstanding corrosion protection. Customers in the railway industry are thus able to effectively protect surfaces at a wide range of application sites against wear and ultimately contribute to reliable rail transportation.