There are many applications in industry that require the use of industrial oils. Use cases range from simple lubrication of moving machine parts to high performance hydraulic oil used under high pressures. The range of oils used even within a specific subgroup, lubrication for example, can be staggering.
When matching industrial oil to an application, parameters should be considered both from the aspect of how the oil will perform in the application to how the environment the oil is used in will alter the chemistry and performance of the oil. Sourcing a lubricant for a lightweight, low friction and high speed application will have different requirements than when lubricating a heavy, relatively slow moving part. Lightweight lubricants applied in a flow stream can help wash away foreign debris for cutting applications while also providing lubrication to the cutting tool and surface.
Hydraulic oils are used in hydraulic machines to apply force. This can be as simple as a small, pump driven hydraulic cylinder with a shaft that extends in and out from a stationary casing. Using this type of cylinder with parts attached to pivot points, a full range of motion can be achieved from a very simple moving part. Hydraulics offers the ability to apply very large forces to move machinery, lift heavy loads and hold molds tightly together. The oils used for this application must be an incompressible fluid that will not boil under high pressures, and that will provide lubrication to the internal parts of the hydraulic mechanism.
Gear oil is a special type of lubricant that is used in transmissions, transfer cases and other gearing applications. Typically, this type of oil will be of a high viscosity, which allows it to move through the gear train without the assistance from an external pump. Gear oils are also designed to withstand very particular types of forces found in gears, notably shear forces. Industrial machines may have several different gear oils in use that are closely matched to the specific needs of various parts of the machine.
For nearly all industrial oils, there are options for synthetic lubricants available. Synthetics offer significant advantage in many applications that require increased durability and stability. This is important for machines that require very high up time where frequent lubricant changes are not economical. Synthetics may also be used in sealed case applications where changing the oil is also particularly troublesome.
No matter what the application may be, if a machine is involved, there is likely an industrial oil that is keeping it running.