Improve Corrugating Productivity With PFPE Grease

Take a look at the last item you received in the mail – I bet you it arrived in a corrugated box. Corrugated packaging is one of the best ways to ship goods, due to the boxes being rugged, economical and relatively environmentally friendly. It’s reported that nearly 70% of the world’s retail wares, everything from a box of chocolates to large machinery, are shipped within corrugated boxes. One of the biggest heroes within the corrugated box and shipping industry isn’t the box or the items being shipped, nope; simply producing these boxes relies on good, durable and reliable lubrication. Without proper lubrication, there would be no corrugators or corrugated boxes.

Why’s that, you ask? Well, let’s take a look at what it takes to produce a cardboard box. Since maximizing the life of the machinery used to produce these boxes is imperative – the roll bearings and rollers, a top-of-the-line grease is required to ensure long-lasting lubrication.

To make the boxes, single facers force flutes into paper, which is then put between liners with glue and later cut into the proper shape to fold into a box. These flutes are pressed into the paper/cardboard by interchangeable rolls that are usually 2-3 meters long. Each and every roll is equipped with a large roller bearing that must endure fluctuating temperatures as well as steam produced from the corrugated box production.

Improve the life of your rollers

The lifetime of these rollers greatly varies and depends on a number of factors, including the number of shifts they’re used for each day, the amount of material within the paper or cardboard and the coating on the rolls themselves. Since these rollers to eventually wear out within 5 years, most maintenance managers within factories will try to make the roll bearings last just as long as the rollers to not only save money but to stay as efficient as possible. Most roll bearings will be put up to more than 40,000 hours of straight use as they’re designed to outlast the rollers themselves, but as we all know, there are situational and environmental factors that make for varied bearing life.

As you know, bearings wear down due to the friction caused by surface to surface contact. Lubricants are used to reduce friction, which will help for a while, but most conventional lubricants and greases tend to wear out over time…especially when exposed to fluctuating temperatures and steam. So what lube or grease should a corrugator use to extend the life of their equipment’s bearings and rollers? We recommend PFPE.

Many manufacturing plants out there will use a mineral oil for lubrication, but the problem with this is that these lubricants are easily forced out of the bearings thanks to the long shift hours and a number of environmental factors. Also, the oil and lubricant is usually too thin to last long enough. What’s more, as these lubricants tend to heat up, they’ll make their way out of the bearings and onto other parts of the machine which will cause additional problems and a messy operation.

Advances in technology have brought us PFPE (perfluoropoluether) grease, first making an appearance in the corrugating industry in 1988.  PFPE is made into a grease by being thickened with PTFE, a nonorganic olytetrafluoroethylene which makes for unmatched wear resistance, especially in extremely hot or cold environments – making it the perfect match for increasing the life of your manufacturing or corrugating machinery. Many plants since the late ’80s have switched out mineral oil for PFPE grease as it’s more than twice as dense as your average hydrocarbon lubricant and is known for creating a long-lasting film on metals. PFPE not only diminishes the maintenance schedule of machinery, it also makes plants much safer as it won’t leak like oils tend to. So if you’re in the corrugating industry or any manufacturing industry for that matter, reach out to us about PFPE – we’re happy to answer any questions and help find the perfect PFPE grease formula for your needs.