ExxonMobil Invests in R&D; in Industrial Lubricants Markets

By Bojan Soc, December 29, 2013

So the 10-hour transatlantic flight is behind you and the passport check was a breeze. You barely moved in your seat during the whole 10 hours, but your step is vigorous now as you head toward the baggage claim area. And there it is – your suitcase sails smoothly on the conveyor belt and then follows the curve to arrive right at the spot where you’re standing to pick it up.

In the modern world we take many things for granted and cargo handling is certainly one of them. Gone are the times when hard manual labor was the main force behind moving heavy objects – muscled hands still do remove our bags out of a plane’s cargo bay, but it’s trucks and trolleys that haul them to airport buildings and then, with a little help again from luggage handling personnel, they’re placed on that very belt to make the final leg of their short journey. However, being the contemporaries of high tech age (i.e. spoilt brats of the 21st century), we often take technology for granted and tend to notice what equipment does for us only when it breaks down.

And it does break down, occasionally. Underneath that conveyor belt is a worm drive, whose smooth run depends on a number of factors and a top-quality lubricant is definitely one of them. Manufacturing that lubricant, which provides maximum efficiency and boosts operational reliability, is a challenge that only the best-in-class global lubricant manufacturers can meet. Responding to that challenge requires knowledge, investment, a pool of dedicated scientists and engineers, almost a century-long tradition in lubricant manufacturing and a proven track record of R&D excellence. ExxonMobil seems to have it all. 

“At many U.S. and international airports worm gear runs on Mobil lubricants,” James Carey, one of our hosts at the ExxonMobil Research & Engineering Center (EMRE) in Paulsboro, NJ, tells me during a tour of EMRE facilities in early October. Carey is one of many ExxonMobil engineers who work at the Paulsboro facility, the U.S. energy giant’s premier asset in its drive toward excellence in industrial lubrication development. 

The sprawling research and engineering complex, located some 40 minutes from downtown Philadelphia, employs 350 people. A total of 2,500 specialists contribute to its success worldwide. As industry demands become more sophisticated, so do scientific solutions in lubricant manufacturing and today EMRE drives ExxonMobil’s success in providing high-performance lubricants across a whole range of industrial applications. Lubes and greases for gearboxes, gas engines, hydraulic equipment, solar and gas turbines and many other types of machinery and equipment are formulated and tested here before obtaining approvals for mass manufacturing. 

“Today, ExxonMobil is able to make a broad global offering for a number of key industry sectors including oil and gas, mining, general manufacturing, metals processing,” Dr. Tom Dietz, section head at ExxonMobil Industrial Lubricants told our group of Russia-based journalists during the October visit.

According to Dietz, the company boasts one of the broadest product portfolios in the industry. “For over a