Environment and Sustainability, Safety, Standards & Regulation, Products & Resources, Rollingstock & Manufacturing

Keep things rolling with PANOLIN


With high ambient and equipment temperatures the norm in rolling stock, it is vital to have high-performance lubricants in place. Indeed, they play a major role in the railway industry for the reliable operation of vehicles and for infrastructure.  

The railway sector places a heavy demand on such fluids and oils, which are used not only for vehicles and equipment, but also railway construction and ongoing rail track maintenance and repair.  

As well as stringent performance requirements, lubricants used in the railway industry are often required to be environmentally-friendly due to the possibility of a lubricant leaking or spilling into sensitive areas, including land and waterways.     

And that’s why Environmentally Considerate Lubricants (ECLs) – also known as bio-fluids — are so much in demand in the operation of railways. However, not all biodegradable products offer high performance lubrication while protecting the environment.  

In today’s very competitive world, most industries share the same objectives when it comes to ECLs:  

  • To increase performance  
  • To reduce costs (by protecting equipment and by extended life span or drain intervals)  
  • To protect the environment  
  • To reduce carbon emissions  

Selecting a high performance ECL  

ECLs are manufactured using a variety of base oils, including polyglycols (PAG), Poly Alpha Olefins (PAO) or synthetic hydrocarbons (SHC), triglycerides (vegetable oils) and synthetic esters (saturated and unsaturated). The type of base oil used will directly affect the performance characteristics and life span of a lubricant.   

One of the leading manufacturers in ECLs is the PANOLIN Group, a full range lubricants supplier with its core competence in the high performing product since 1983 – amounting to 38 years of experience.  

As PANOLIN International’s regional business development manager for Asia Pacific, Harry Gettings, points out, PANOLIN supports the railway sector vigorously in meeting its high-performance lubricants requirement, cost reduction, sustainability and carbon reduction challenges.  

“PANOLIN’s high performance ECLs are manufactured using saturated synthetic esters, selected for their high performance capabilities and matched with PANOLIN’s industry leading additive technology, developed over nearly 40 years of ECL experience,” he said.     

The PANOLIN Group is an independent family-owned company with headquarters and production facility in Switzerland. The company was established in 1949 by Bernhard Lämmle, and operates internationally with fully owned subsidiaries and long-term distribution partners.  

Gettings said that in industries such as the railways sector, PANOLIN is a statement of advanced technology, environmental responsibility and, most importantly, safety.  

PANOLIN HLP SYNTH hydraulic fluid   

Without a doubt, PANOLIN’s most successful and well-known ECL is HLP SYNTH, which has led the way for decades.  

“The London Eye, Panama Canal, Niagara Falls and the Eiffel Tower are just a few of the famous examples that rely on HLP SYNTH for long lasting high performance and safety,” Gettings said.  

“HLP SYNTH is also used by many of the world’s largest railway companies and is the preferred and approved ECL of famous Austrian OEM, Plasser & Theurer.”  

The worldwide-established product is formulated on the basis of saturated synthetic esters and enables a service life that is five to 10 times longer, compared to mineral based hydraulic oils. This not only protects the environment, but also the operators’ wallet.   

“Reducing costs as well as increasing reliability and sustainability is a never-ending issue in rail technology and all other industries,” Gettings said.   

Two of the HLP SYNTH grades — HLP SYNTH 32 and HLP SYNTH 46 — have also been included in the Bosch Rexroth Fluid Rating List 90245, a barometer of hydraulic fluid efficiency. These two are the only ECLs on the approved products list, indicating the outstanding performance of the PANOLIN products, especially in terms of their longevity and excellent wear protection.   

In addition to HLP SYNTH, the company has released PANOLIN SPRINT,  now available worldwide.   

“PANOLIN SPRINT extends the PANOLIN HLP SYNTH product concept and provides customers with a cost-effective introduction to the use of high-performance bio-hydraulic fluids,” Gettings said.  

“While PANOLIN HLP SYNTH is designed for a long service life, PANOLIN SPRINT is designed for the same use, but for a shorter running time.   

“This advantage is strengthened by its compatibility with the established PANOLIN HLP SYNTH. This special feature makes an upgrade possible at any time.  

“In summary, HLP SYNTH can give up to 10 times the life span of mineral-based conventional hydraulic fluids and in certain cases, can be used as a ‘fill for life’ hydraulic fluid.   

“SPRINT, on the other hand, is a more economical alternative, when such a long service life is not required. SPRINT offers the high performance of a premium grade, conventional mineral-based hydraulic fluid, but also offers the advantage of being an ECL.”  

Full range of lubrication needs  

PANOLIN offers a full range of ECLs to cover most of the rail industry requirements:  

  • Hydraulic oils  
  • Gear oils  
  • Low SAPS diesel engine oils  
  • Chain and cable lubricant  
  • EP universal grease  
  • EP fluid grease  

Other services  

PANOLIN offers expert technical support and advice worldwide. The company is happy to provide advice on selecting the right product for specific applications, seal compatibility, flushing procedures and miscibility.  

In Australia, Imperial Oils & Chemical is the authorised PANOLIN distributor, renowned for its many years of supporting the Australian rail industry with timely product supply and after-sales technical service.   

The business prides itself in its ability to source and supply the best product for its customers and its markets.