Engineering, Environment and Sustainability

Sustainability – more than just a credo

A business with a focus on biodegradable lubricants looks to leverage a greener future.

WHENEVER sustainability is discussed, the United Nations’ protocols on the implementation of the Framework Convention on Climate Change is on everyone’s lips. The call to cut CO2 emissions is, and will remain, an urgent issue. As a global market leader in biodegradable lubricants, PANOLIN has attached great importance to the environmentally friendly management of resources and resultant long-term sustainability, for decades to come.

The development of biodegradable high performance hydraulic fluids by the Swiss family-owned company PANOLIN, began in 1983. In 1985 PANOLIN launched its first biodegradable hydraulic fluid – PANOLIN HLP SYNTH, which on the one hand enabled machines to perform to maximum efficiency, while on the other hand, protected the environment and its resources. Since then, the core competence of PANOLIN is high performance, environmental friendliness, and cost effectiveness of environmentally considerate and environmentally acceptable lubricants (also known as ECLs and EALs). 

The company develops environmentally friendly products that have a positive impact on the customers’ CO² emissions balance, due to their long-term use, which will be briefly presented in this article.


Decades ago the first machines were filled with PANOLIN HLP SYNTH. The worldwide established PANOLIN HLP SYNTH, is formulated on the basis of saturated esters and enables a service life that is five to 10 times longer, compared with mineral-based hydraulic oils.

“This not only protects the environment, but also the operators’ wallet,” said Harry Gettings, regional business development manager, Asia Pacific, at PANOLIN International.

“Reducing costs as well as increasing reliability and sustainability – a never-ending issue in rail technology and all other industries.

“PANOLIN has been pursuing these topics for decades with renowned and globally proven products.”

Since 2019 in addition to PANOLIN HLP SYNTH 32 (since 2017), PANOLIN HLP SYNTH 46 has been listed on the Bosch Rexroth Fluid Rating List 90245.

“These two products are the only environmentally compatible hydraulic fluids with Bosch Rexroth RDE 90245 approval,” Gettings said.

“This result shows the outstanding performance of PANOLIN lubricants, especially in terms of their longevity and excellent wear protection.

“To this date PANOLIN is still the only approved EAL/ECL by the standards or BR RDE 90245.” 

In addition to HLP SYNTH, the company’s latest innovation, PANOLIN SPRINT, is now also operating worldwide. PANOLIN SPRINT extends the PANOLIN HLP SYNTH product concept and gives customers the opportunity to a cost-effective introduction, to the use of high-performance bio-hydraulic fluids. 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 the compatibility with the established PANOLIN HLP SYNTH,” Gettings said.

“This special feature makes an upgrade possible at any time. Lubricants from PANOLIN are manufactured with high-quality resources and state-of-the-art additives.

“Development, production and distribution of lubricants are certified according to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 as well as the American Bureau of Shipping.”


Constantly growing demands on machines as well as environmental protection, have led PANOLIN to continuously expand the catalogue of requirements for their products and to improve the formulation of the hydraulic fluids for a variety of industries. In rail technology, lubricants play an important role in the reliable operation of vehicles and infrastructure. This thinking lies behind the launch of PANOLIN’s sustainable “GREENMACHINE” concept symbolised by a green CO2 footprint that is based on the needs-oriented use of PANOLIN’s broad range of lubricants. It aims to use machines, that are as environmentally friendly as possible, with the highest level of technical safety and the best economy. When a machine uses biodegradable lubricants at as many lubrication points as possible, it is classified, a GREENMACHINE.

RE-CO Drums – sustainable in & out

With the use of reconditioned 200 litre oil drums, PANOLIN combines ecology and economy. Instead of being disposed of, the steel drums are recycled (reconditioned). For some time now, PANOLIN has invested into the development of a more sustainable red barrel. The most environmentally friendly solution is through the reutilisation of used steel. Due to the application of reconditioned drums, the company is not only able to face the increasing problem of worldwide steel disposal but also the associated price increase. Therefore, it is able to act in an ecologically responsible manner to an economical requirement.

“The advantages of a RE-CO drum as a sustainable packaging solution are versatile,” Gettings said.

“The use of the drums not only reduces 46kg of CO² in the manufacturing process, but also gives the raw material steel a second life. While having the same cleanliness specification as new drums, the RE-CO drums bring more flexibility and independence in view of the global steel shortage.”

PANOLIN has installed its well-known CO2 footprint logo on every RE-CO drum  to indicate CO² savings.

“With this action the company wants to show all partners and customers its aim of supporting and promoting the circular economy,” Gettings said.

“We’re talking about sustainability that is directly visible.”

The big picture

These cornerstones are all part of one big mission of PANOLIN: to make high performing, biodegradable lubricants the global standard. The combination of readily biodegradability, reduction of CO² emissions and conservation of resources are central elements of the company’s philosophy and part of a recipe for success. Sustainability has been a priority since PANOLIN was founded. PANOLIN with its High Performance Environmentally Considerate Lubricants as well as sustainable and novel concepts, has made its contribution to the environmentally friendly use of machines in the world for decades. 

With these fundamental ideas, a visionary spirit and constant drive for improvement, PANOLIN will keep contributing to sustainable protection of nature.

The company

The PANOLIN Group is an independent family owned company with headquarters in Switzerland.

The company was established in 1949 by Bernhard Lämmle and is fully owned by the Lämmle family to this date.

PANOLIN is a full range lubricant supplier with its core competence in providing high performing environmentally acceptable lubricants (EALs) since 1983.