Lubricants are materials utilised to control or decrease friction coming in contact with different bodies in relative motion. They can be classified: solid, liquid, semi-liquid, and gaseous. Lubricants are widely used in numerous end-use industries. Lubricating oils are being utilised across various industrial applications as well in areas such as air compressors, auxiliary equipment, bearings, gas engines, hydraulics, heat transfer systems, paper machines, turbines, metalworking, and natural gas compressors. The demand for industrial lubricants is on the move and is believed to grow even further. In India, the current share of industrial lubricants is about 38-40 per cent of the total lubricants market.
Leading companies are seeking advantages through economies of scale in the competitive market. The sector is majorly confined by extremely large multinationals or small and niche manufacturers. Several companies are altering their business lines with respect to base oil supply chain, manufacturing process, and consolidations.
According to Rajesh Nagar, MD & CEO, GS Caltex India Pvt Ltd, 'The lubricants market is growing at a rate of 2-2.5 per cent annually.
We see a considerable growth in the consumption of lubricants, especially in the construction and mining industry. India is still far behind in world-class infrastructure creation and it is estimated that in the next 15-20 years, an investment of $4-5 trillion investment is needed for the construction and mining sector to meet the emerging demands of infrastructure development.'
Lubrication plays a vital role in the mining industry. Both underground and surface mining conditions are very hard on equipment. In order to decrease downtime and loss of profits due to maintenance or machinery replacement, the use of quality lubricants in the used correct applications is essential. The growth of the mining lubricants market is driven by the increasing demand from the Asia-Pacific and Middle East & Africa region and growing end use industries such as coal and iron ore mining. Moreover, the demand for high quality and high-performance lubricants is expected to further fuel the the mining lubricants market during the forecast period. The rising trend towards usage of automated lubricants system offers a lucrative opportunity for manufacturers to attract more customers.
According to a research report from Markets and Markets, the coal mining segment led the global mining lubricants market in 2016, due to the high consumption of heavy-load equipment in the coal mining industry. The coal mining industry accounted for the largest share of 56.3 per cent, in terms of value, of the overall mining lubricants market in 2016. The coal mining segment is driven by high-performance lubricants, which offer high viscosity index, better corrosion prevention, and high resistance to oxidation.
Nagar adds, 'In mining, we have a huge reserve of iron ore, coal, bauxite and other such minerals, but we have not been able to effectively exploit these resources. Most of the Mining activities are controlled by Central Government through PSUs, but now private players are allowed to participate in these sectors and they are already doing a good business.'
GS Caltex India Pvt Ltd, one of the leading automotive and industrial lubricants manufacturing companies in India, provides solutions for various applications. 'In engine oils, most of the recommendations are now on CI-4 Plus oils. We also have CJ 4 products which we have been supplying to some of our customers. In CJ-4, we have 10W-40 product which is used for specific applications. We are further working on the next generation of lubricants required in the industry. So, we are trying to keep ourselves ahead of the technological requirements in India,' adds Nagar.
Speaking on the emerging technology trends in oils and lubricants, Glen Sharkowicz, Director of Brand Strategy - Commercial marketing, South Asia Pacific, ExxonMobil, Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, said, The trend is of synthetic lubricants, or like we call them, designer lubricants. Synthetic lubricants differ significantly in composition and performance from conventional lubricants. The new generation of Mobil lubricants aptly demonstrate the immense value created by synthetic lubricants. For instance, our Mobil Delvac 1™¢ ESP 5W-30 and 5W-40 are advanced full synthetic, high-performance diesel engine oils that deliver long drain capability and fuel economy, while extending the life of modern diesel engines operating in severe conditions.' ExxonMobil has a portfolio of advanced product offerings for the construction, mining and material handling equipment sectors. 'Our offerings for the construction and mining equipment have been designed specifically to meet the needs of customers,' adds Sharkowicz.
He adds, 'Our synthetic and mineral-based lubricants protect equipment operating under severe conditions, including loads and pressures, frequent starts and stops, wide operating temperature ranges and contamination. These lubricants offer long oil life and extend equipment life, creating less waste and potential energy savings. While Mobil Delvac™¢ MX PLUS 15W-40 is a high-performance diesel engine oil that provides excellent lubrication for extended engine life in a wide variety of industries, applications and fleets, the Mobil DTE 10 Excel™¢ Series are high-performance anti-wear hydraulic oils specifically designed to meet the needs of modern industrial and mobile equipment hydraulic systems. The customised lubricants for the mining sector include Mobilgrease XHP™¢ 321 Mine and 322 Mine, which have excellent anti-wear properties and extended service capabilities.'
On industrial lubricants market in the next five years, Nagar says, 'With considerable investments to happen in infrastructure, construction and mining in the coming years, the lubricant demand in construction and mining will be in double digits. Infrastructure development is on full swing in various segments such as roads, railways, metro rail, ports, airports and urban infrastructure, which will be the key for the growth of industrial lubricants where a lot of equipment will be at work.' Sharkowicz concludes: 'The lubricants market in India is robust and expected to grow consistently at a CAGR of 4.64 per cent over the next five years. The major factors driving this growth will be the growing industrial sector and the booming construction sector. Going into the future, we will see a new wave of synthetic lubricants, which will differ significantly in composition and performance from conventional lubricants. The new generation of lubricants will continue to raise the bar for key performance criteria, demonstrating the immense value of synthetic lubricants.'