Manufacturing of lubricating oils – what you should know

Every year, Lubes'n'Greases magazine publishes information on the production volume of base oils dedicated to the lubricating oil industry. In terms of the production volume, the leaders among base oils are mineral oils from groups I-III and naphthenic oils. Data for 2021 indicate that the dominant production region for mineral and naphthenic bases is the Asia-Pacific region (approx. 32 million tons/year, 561,525 barrels/day). In comparison, North and South America produces about 18 million tons/year, i.e., 317,570 barrels per day, while in Europe, production is estimated at 13 million tons/year, i.e., 225,030 barrels per day. You can read about the production of lubricating oils and the ingredients which are used to make them in the article below.

Published: 14-06-2022

Requirements for the production of lubricating oils

Mineral and naphthenic oils are products of direct processing of crude oil. As a result of refining processes, the final parameters of base oils can be controlled to some extent. Additionally, it is necessary to use kits of additives in the final products based on mineral and naphthenic oils, which constitute up to 20% of the composition of the finished formulation.

More and more stringent requirements are placed on the production of base oils and lubricating oils as end products intended for use. This is due to technological progress and efforts to reduce the negative impact on the environment. In response to these problems, a whole group of synthetic base oils is being developed with their parameters regulated in the course of the production process. Finished products, depending on the application, must meet the biodegradability requirements (e.g. ISO 10708) or food contact approval (Federal Regulations of the FDA). The basic composition of synthetic base oils includes polyalphaolefins (PAO, estimated production volume in 2021 is 624 thousand tons), polyisobutenes (PIB, estimated production volume in 2021 is 1,204 thousand tons), polyalkylene glycols (PAG, estimated production volume in 2021 is 657 thousand tons) or phosphoric esters (PE, the estimated production volume is 151 thousand tons).

The PCC Group product portfolio is dedicated to the lubricating oil industry

The PCC Group is the largest producer of polyalkylene glycols (PAG) and phosphoric esters dedicated to a number of different applications in Eastern Europe. Both groups of PAG products and phosphoric esters are available under the common name of Rokolub. These products are for use on the market of synthetic base oils and lubricants.

Rokolub products dedicated to the lubricating oil industry can be divided into two groups: base oils and additives (Figure 1 and Figure 2, respectively).

PAG type Rokolub products, both bases, and additives, are divided into five classes in the ISO VG range from 20 to 1000, while Rokolub products which are phosphorous esters, are found in ISO VG from 32 to 68. Below is a detailed description of the types of Rokolub products according to their physicochemical and application parameters.

Rokolub PAG soluble in water

Water-soluble Rokolub products 50-B-series are available in viscosity grades from 20 to 1000. Their main advantages are high viscosity index and low pour point. Recommended in applications where easy removal of the lubricant is important, e.g., in the textile industry. The products Rokolub 50-B-150, Rokolub 50-B-330, Rokolub 50-B-460, Rokolub 50-B-680 and Rokolub 50-B-1000 are used as industrial gear oils, while 50-B-20, Rokolub 50-B-32, Rokolub 50-B-46, Rokolub 50-B-100 as well as Rokolub 50-B-120 and Rokolub 50-B-150 can be used as compressor oils and hydraulic fluids.

Similarly, Rokolub product series 60-D are available in viscosity grades from 68 to 1000. These products are characterised by high viscosity indexes and low pour points, and also by high cloud points. They have excellent lubricating properties and reduced wear characteristics. They enable keeping machines and devices clean without leaving any oil residues. The products Rokolub 60-D-150, Rokolub 60-D-220, Rokolub 60-D-320, Rokolub 60-D-460, and Rokolub 60-D-1000 are used as industrial gear oils and also as metalworking fluids. Rokolub 60-D-68 and Rokolub 60-D-150 are used as compressor oils and hydraulic fluids.

Rokolub 60-D-680, Rokolub 60-D-1000, Rokolub 50-B-330, and Rokolub 50-B-1000 are also used as viscosity improvers – additives improving the viscosity of aqueous formulations.

Rokolub 50-B-100 and Rokolub 50-B-150, as well as Rokolub 60-D-460 and Rokolub 60-D-1000, are NSF registered in the HX-1 category as base oils dedicated to the formulation of lubricants for incidental contact with food.

Rokolub PAG partially soluble in water

Rokolub 32, Rokolub 100, Rokolub 220, and Rokolub 680 are characterised by different ratios of oxides and usually two or three hydroxyl groups at the end of the alkylene chain. Their properties are well known and are widely used as lubricating oils in industrial applications where water solubility is not a key product parameter. Rokolub 320F is a particularly important product in the PCC Group portfolio which is used as a ready for use oil for LDPE compressors. Rokolub 320F is included in the list of products approved for use by Burckhardt Compression AG.

Rokolub PAG insoluble in water

Rokolub P-B- and PO-D- series belong to the group of products insoluble in water. In these product groups, you can find base oils with ISO VG viscosity grades from 20 to even 10,000. They have excellent lubricating properties, and they can be used in a wide temperature spectrum thanks to their high viscosity index. Recommended for all waterless systems. Oil viscosities from Rokolub P-B-20, Rokolub P-B-46, Rokolub P-B-68, Rokolub P-B-100, Rokolub P-B-120, Rokolub P-B-220, and Rokolub P-B-320 are used as hydraulic fluids, as well as oils for compressors and bases for the formulation of industrial gear oils. Rokolub P-B-50, Rokolub P-B-100 and Rokolub P-B-120 are NSF registered under the HX-1 category.

Figure 1. PAG and PE type base oils

Figure 2. Improvers such as PAG and PE


Miscible with Rokolub PAG mineral oils

Rokolub MOS are polyalkylene glycol base lubricating oils that are miscible with mineral oils, which is a great advantage compared to conventional PAG-type oils. They provide all the advantages of PAG products, such as high viscosity index, low pour point, and good hydrolytic stability. Compatibility with Group I-IV hydrocarbon base oils allows the creation of new generations of PAG-based products. Rokolub MOS products mix well with mineral oils in various temperature ranges, which makes them useful in changing working conditions. Our products are available in seven viscosity grades (ISO VG), ranging from 32 to 680. They can be used as basic base oils as well as additives to improve the properties of the formulation. Rokolub MOS 32, Rokolub MOS 46, Rokolub MOS 68, Rokolub MOS 100 and Rokolub MOS 220 are mainly used as hydraulic fluids and air compressor oils. On the other hand, Rokolub MOS 460 and Rokolub MOS 680 (as well as Rokolub MOS 220) are used as industrial gear oils. Miscibility with mineral oils enables the wide use of the above-mentioned products as additives responsible for improving lubricating properties or viscosity for formulations based on mineral oils.

High purity Rokochem PAG products

Rokochem is a new line of Rokolub PAG products. Based on the selective technology, Rokochem products are characterised by high purity, meeting the highest market requirements. The products in this series are synthetic components dedicated as raw materials for industrial applications, such as the production of silicone-based surfactants, wetting agents, foaming agents, or oils dedicated to the textile industry. Rokochem series products are offered in two variants: water-soluble and insoluble in water. Products with different molecular weights, hydroxyl numbers, and viscosities are available. Rokochem products are used as compressor oils and hydraulic fluids, as well as intermediates in further syntheses. Additionally, Rokochem 1133 and Rokochem 11150 can be used as metalworking fluids, while Rokochem 11150, Rokochem 2240, and Rokochem 2210 as lubricants in the textile industry.

Rokolub FR – base oils such as phosphoric esters

A series of specialised Rokolub FR products is based on aryl phosphoric esters, which are used in water-free, flame-retardant hydraulic fluids as synthetic base oils. The use of flame retardant fluids in places particularly exposed to contact of oil with hot surfaces and open fire significantly reduces the risk of fire. Solutions of this type are recommended primarily for use as hydraulic fluids for machines operating in the power industry and metallurgy. The excellent self-extinguishing properties and unique fire resistance of the Rokolub FR series products make them perfect for both of these industries. The mentioned solutions offered by PCC Group have the following viscosity classes: ISO VG: 68 (Rokolub FR T-68), 46 (Rokolub FR T-46, Rokolub FR T-46 ultra), 32 (Rokolub FR T-32).Classified as HFDR type according to ISO 6743-4 k. The most important properties of Rokolub FR series products:

  • high temperature resistance;
  • self-extinguishing ability and fire resistance;
  • no physical hazards and no human health hazard class;
  • resistance to high temperatures;
  • great lubricating properties.

Rokolub AW – base oils such as phosphoric esters

Rokolub AD is a series of specialised additives with excellent anti-wear (AW) and anti-seize (EP) properties. The products in this series (Rokolub AD 122, Rokolub AD 132, Rokolub AD 232, Rokolub AD 246, Rokolub AD 246 plus, Rokolub AD 246 ultra, Rokolub AD 268) are designed for a wide range of base oils, from mineral oils to synthetic oils, including POE oils. The main role of the additives from the Rokolub AD series is to reduce the friction between the elements of the device at the contact surfaces, thus reducing the frictional wear of the materials of construction used in the device. The ability to create a durable lubricating layer means that the moving parts are protected effectively against damage. The products are classified as ashless additives, which means that they do not contribute to the formation of hazardous sludge or blockages in hydraulic systems and valves.

Moreover, Rokolub AD 246 Ultra and Rokolub AD 268 do not require additional labelling according to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), which means that they are safe for the environment and human health.

Check out our full product portfolio dedicated to the lubricating oil industry available on the PCC Group Product Portal.

Karolina Grzeszczak

Base Stocks and Additives Business Manager

PCC Rokita SA

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