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Exploring the science and chemistry of lubricants in steel manufacturing

In the modern world, steel is a cornerstone of our civilization. It forms the skeleton of our cities, vehicles, appliances, and countless everyday objects. As we strive towards a sustainable and technologically advanced future, the steel industry’s importance in today’s world has never been more pronounced. Steel, known for its strength and durability, is a versatile material that finds applications in various industries, making its manufacturing a crucial part of our industrial landscape.

However, the process of manufacturing steel is a complex orchestration of heat, pressure, and precision. Here, the role of industrial lubricants, though often overlooked, is integral. As a physicist and chemist at Banesto, we invite you to dive into the captivating world where science meets industry – the world of lubricants in steel production. Beyond their basic role of reducing friction, lubricants serve a plethora of critical functions: they guard against wear, decrease energy consumption, and enhance the efficiency and lifespan of the equipment.

Hydraulic Oils

Hydraulic systems, integral to machinery such as lifts, presses, and injection moulding machines in steel plants, rely heavily on hydraulic oils. These oils, a balance of refined base oils and specific additives, must be robust enough to weather the rigours of the industrial environment. At Banesto, we formulate our hydraulic oils with anti-wear agents to ensure stable viscosity, thereby ensuring maximum pump efficiency. Additionally, our oils contain rust inhibitors, delivering excellent protection against oxidation and wear, and prolonging operational longevity under the most challenging conditions.

Gear Oils

Gearboxes in the steel industry bear extreme loads and operate continuously. Gear oils play a crucial role under these conditions by reducing friction, minimizing wear, and managing heat. Our gear oils at Banesto consist of synthetic base oils and high-performance additives such as sulfur or phosphorus compounds. These additives provide our oils with superior extreme pressure properties, thermal stability, and resistance to oxidation, which protect the gears from wear and pitting and ensure a smooth operation even under high load and temperature conditions.


Grease lubrication is ubiquitous in steel manufacturing, finding application in everything from roll-neck bearings to furnace door mechanisms and conveyor bearings. The formulation of greases requires a perfect blend of thickening agents, high-viscosity base oils, and specific additives. We infuse our greases at Banesto with corrosion inhibitors and anti-wear agents. This unique composition affords our greases an impressive load-carrying capacity, high-temperature stability, and superior resistance to corrosion. Furthermore, the thickener forms a stable structure that holds the oil in place, providing long-lasting protection.

Circulating Oils

Circulating oils are essential for cooling and lubricating systems in rolling mills of steel plants. They need to possess excellent oxidative stability, demulsibility, and rust prevention to perform effectively. At Banesto, we engineer our circulating oils with high-quality base oils and advanced additives. These additives, such as antioxidants and rust inhibitors, not only improve the inherent properties of the base oils but also introduce new characteristics, resulting in enhanced system efficiency and extended operational lifespan of the machinery.

Rolling Oils

In the steel industry, rolling oils play a crucial role in cold and hot steel rolling processes, providing necessary lubrication and cooling. These oils need to be designed to withstand high temperatures and pressures, and also to prevent metal pick-up on roll surfaces. At Banesto, our rolling oils are formulated with specific additives to enhance their load-carrying capacity and to improve their ability to cool and lubricate the roll-workpiece interface. This specialized composition contributes to achieving desired material properties and surface finish in the rolled product.

Technical insights

The type of lubricant used in steel manufacturing can significantly impact the efficiency of the process.

For instance, Banesto’s high-performance lubricants can help reduce friction and wear in steel rolling mills, leading to lower energy consumption and increased productivity. Friction between moving parts creates heat, which can waste energy. An effective lubricant can also help prevent wear, which could damage the machinery and cause downtime.

The choice of lubricant also affects the quality of the finished product.

Banesto’s lubricants are specifically designed for the type of steel being used, which helps ensure that the finished product meets the desired specifications. For instance, Banesto’s lubricants for cold rolling mills are formulated to prevent the formation of galling, which can cause defects in the finished product.

The science of lubrication is constantly evolving, with new lubricants being developed all the time.

Banesto is at the forefront of research and development in the field of lubrication. The company is constantly developing new lubricants offering improved performance, longer lifespan, and environmental friendliness. For example, Banesto is developing new lubricants made from biodegradable and non-toxic materials. These lubricants can help reduce emissions and improve sustainability.

The future of lubrication in steel manufacturing is bright. As the industry continues to evolve, there will be growing demand for lubricants capable of meeting the demanding requirements of steel production. Banesto is well-positioned to meet this demand with a portfolio of lubricants that offer the performance, quality, and sustainability needed by steel manufacturers.

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