It has been quite awhile since biodegradable lubricants were introduced. This class of lubricants were meant to address the growing concern regarding environmental effects caused by the production and discharges of mineral-based lubricants. But even after being on the market for quite some time, the number of machine shops using these lubrication products are still relatively few. This can be attributed to old practices and mindsets.
If the current lubricant is performing well as needed, there is very little reason to change to a new product whose performance is yet to be determined. People tend fall into a routine, resulting to current practices staying the same.
Truth be told, many operators are not aware of the new products on the market. It is usually not until an occurrence like a discharge, government agency involvement or new personnel entering the facility that old practices are questioned and new ideas are considered.
The current economy also makes it hard to make operational changes. There are more crucial issues that companies have to address and details regarding lubrication often take a backseat unless there is a threat to the operation. However, there are companies that are actively searching for products and implementing techniques that maximize efficiency while also protecting the environment.
The higher cost of biodegradable lubricants compared to mineral-based oil is another issue to its limited use. This prevents smaller shops from changing to the eco-friendly lubricants. It is important to remember that the cost not only involves the lubricant but also the preparation process which involves cleaning out the machine completely. This can take a significant amount of time away from production.