Types of Grease
By combining different additive chemistries, base oils and thickener types, greases are formulated to meet the specification requirements of particular industries and end users. Broadly speaking, greases fall into these categories:
- Commodity greases with low specification requirements are typically general purpose formulations that can be produced in large volumes at competitive prices. They are often based in lithium, calcium or sodium soaps, but may also include some extreme pressure greases and more complex lithium bases.
- High-performance greases with more exacting specification requirements are frequently based on more complex soaps, manufactured using highly refined or synthetic base oils and formulated to meet the demands of more challenging applications.
- In addition, there are specialty greases which are custom-engineered to fulfill the tight performance specifications of particular applications and custom-formulated using more costly additives and solid lubricants.
The majority of greases used today are commodity products with:
- Low specification requirements
- General purpose application
- Large volume production
- Competitive pricing
- Lithium, calcium or sodium soap bases and occasionally including complex lithium or Extreme Pressure (EP) formulations
The prevalence of high performance greases is increasing as governments and industries move towards more stringent environmental and performance requirements. High performance greases are characterized by:
- High specification requirements
- More challenging applications
- Smaller volume production
- Complex soap formulations
- Highly refined or synthetic base oils
Specialty greases constitute a growing segment of the market and are characterized by:
- Stringent customer specific performance requirements
- A particular application requiring the resolution of a challenging lubrication problem
- Small volume production
- High performance additives
- Solid lubricants