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Shell opens its largest grease plant worldwide in China
Mark Gainsborough Shell Executive Vice President Global Commercial and Zhuhai local official perform Hoi Gong (Dotting the Eye) ceremony at the opening event of Shell’s 18th Grease Manufacturing plant globally in Zhuhai
Shell’s newest grease plant, located in Zhuhai, China, will make a range of Lithium, Lithium Calcium and Lithium Complex greases used mainly in passenger cars and industrial bearing lubrication. The plant, Shell’s largest, has a production capacity of 30,000 tonnes of greases a year, with the potential to be expanded to 40,000 tonnes a year. It is primarily designed to meet China’s growing demand for greases.
The new grease plant’s opening ceremony was attended by Zhuhai Local Government Officials; senior Shell representatives; business partners and customers. Mark Gainsborough, Shell Executive Vice President for Shell Global Commercial, said: “I am pleased that we are starting off 2013 with this opening which builds on Shell’s strong heritage in the greases business. We have a track record as a pioneer in grease technology innovation, especially for extremely durable greases used in as high-speed trains, airplanes and racing cars.”
The function of grease, like all lubricants, is to protect equipment. What differentiates greases from lubricant oils is that greases stay in place – particularly important in bearings in joints. Grease can stay in place because it contains a thickener. 70 years ago, Shell pioneered and patented the Lithium-thickener technology. It is now the world’s most popular grease thickener.
Shell Lubricants brings world-class technological insight to its business having pioneered one of the most popular grease thickeners in the world today
Huibert Vigeveno, Executive Chairman of Shell Companies in China, said: "Shell is the number one international supplier of lubricants in terms of market share in China. By building Shell’s largest grease plant in China, we are able to be closer to our customers. China’s lubricants demand, including that for grease, is growing fast and we are committed to meeting our customers’ needs and serving them well.”
This Zhuhai grease plant’s opening follows on the heels of a series of Shell lubricants supply chain investments. In the same complex in November 2009, Shell opened its largest operating lubricants blending plant in Asia (by volume) to supply southern China with mainstream lubricant products and in August 2011, Shell opened a state-of-the-art Lubricants Technical Service Centre. This provides technical, marketing and training support to lubricants customers and OEMs. Elsewhere in China, Shell announced in August 2012 that its plans to build one of Shell’s largest lubricants blending plant worldwide in Tianjin, near Beijing. Shell was the first international oil company to open a lubricants blending plant in Russia in October 2012. In November 2012, Shell announced plans to build its first lubricants oil blending plant in Indonesia.
Notes to editors
About Shell’s grease plant in Zhuhai
- The plant will consist of a workshop - with four production lines - grease processing equipments, plant control system, pack filling lines and laboratory equipment and other associated facilities. It will also have a warehouse for storage of packed raw materials, packaging and finished products, bulk additive and base oil tanks, bulk finished products tanks and truck unloading facilities.
About Shell Greases
- Shell sells greases under the Shell Gadus range, which includes multi-purpose greases that can help to simplify customers’ product inventory, as well as speciality greases such as polyurea synthetic products designed for the most severe, extreme-temperature and long-life applications, and a range of open-gear lubricants.
- Shell has a network of 18 grease manufacturing plants in 15 countries; some are Shell-owned and some are joint ventures:
- 10 in Asia Pacific: Zhuhai, Beijing (China), Yokohama, Kobe and Shimonoseki (Japan), Bangkok (Thailand), Manila (Philippines), Singapore (Singapore), Pusan (South Korea), Pinkenba (Australia)
- 4 in the Americas: In Calgary (Canada), Bogota (Columbia), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Buenos Aires (Argentina)
- 4 in Europe and Africa: Gent (Belgium), Berne (Switzerland), Derince (Turkey) and Durban (South Africa)
- We are continually making investments in our grease plants around the world. In the past several years, we have invested in our plants in Asia, Europe and the Americas. For example a new production line was added at the Belgian plant in 2010.
- Shell has a long history of being a leader in technological innovation when it comes to grease. 70 years ago, Shell patented Lithium-thickener technology, which is now the world’s most popular grease thickener. Today, Shell is a leader in the development of our advanced polyurea “T” thickener for modern and extremely demanding applications such as high-speed trains, airplanes and racing cars.
- Shell works with a wide range of OEMs and has developed a number of “fill for life” greases designed for a wide variety of applications. Shell greases can be found in Ferrari Formula 1 race cars, trains around the world, including high-speed trains, Boeing aircraft. In Ferrari Formula 1 race cars, Shell Gadus is used as grease for the tripod driveshaft joints and roller bearings. Each bearing is precisely assembled before each Grand Prix and lubricated with a small amount of Shell Gadus.
- In 2012, the Kline and Company report on the global lubricants sector confirmed that Shell maintained its branded category and volume leadership positions during 2011 (“Global Lubricants Industry 2011: Market Analysis and Assessment”). Further Shell is the largest international lubricants supplier in Asia by sales volume and the number one international supplier of lubricants in terms of market share in China.
- Greases are localised lubrication systems: the grease is self sealing, providing its own reservoir for the lubricant it contains. Lubrication prevents primarily moving parts from damaging each other, e.g. through metal-to-metal contact, while facilitating the intended movement. They further protect from dust, which causes wear and from moisture which can cause corrosion. Carefully maintained, the right grease can prolong the life of machinery, reduce breakdowns and minimise maintenance costs.
- Greases are widely used across different sectors: about 60% of grease applications are industrial (manufacturing, metals, mining, and power) with 40% in transport (construction, fleets, passenger cars). Virtually every item of equipment requires grease lubrication.
- Like lubricant oils, greases consist mainly of base oils and additives. The oil lubricates and the additives provide the additional performance characteristics (antiwear, anticorrosion, antioxidant, improved adhesiveness). Unlike lubricant oils greases contain a thickener, which keeps the grease in place. This thickener is the product of a chemical reaction at the plant with the base oil and additive are after this solidified thickener.
- In 2012, Kline estimated that 1,158 thousand tonnes of greases were sold globally in 2011, up from 1,122 thousand tonnes sold in 2010. In both years, the grease market is estimated at about 3% of the overall global lubricant demand. The long-term trend is towards the increased usage of high performance greases.
About Shell Lubricants
The term ‘Shell Lubricants’ collectively refers to Shell Group companies engaged in the lubricants business. Shell sells a wide variety of lubricants to meet customer needs across a range of applications. These include consumer motoring, heavy-duty transport, mining, power generation and general engineering. Shell’s portfolio of lubricant brands includes Shell Helix, Shell Rimula, and Shell Spirax. We are active across the full lubricant supply chain. We manufacture base oils in eight plants, we blend base oils with additives to make finished lubricants in almost 70 plants, and we distribute market and sell lubricants in over 100 countries.
We have more experts talking to more customers than any other lubricants supplier. We have over 350 technical support specialists and 1,000 sales professionals working with customers every day. We offer a wide range of services in addition to our products, including Shell LubeMatch, a market leading online tool that matches lubricants to vehicles and equipments, and Shell LubeAnalyst, an early warning system that enables our business customers to monitor the condition of their equipment and lubricant, helping to save money on maintenance.
Shell’s world-class technology is applied in our products and technological collaborations. We have four leading lubricants research centres in Germany, the UK, the USA, and Japan (in a joint venture with Showa Shell) with more than 200 scientists and engineers dedicated to lubricants research and development. We have 150 + patent series for lubricants, base oils and greases. One of the ways we push the boundaries of lubricant technology is by working closely with top motor racing teams such as Scuderia Ferrari and Penske Racing. These technical partnerships enable us to expand our knowledge of lubrication science and transfer cutting-edge technology from the racetrack to our commercial products.
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