Food Engineering

Food grade lubricants keep equipment crunching

October 1, 2008
Potato chip plant relies on machinery greases to enhance operational efficiency.


PAS Grantham Ltd. (division of McCain Foods) is one of Britain’s major potato chip manufacturers. It produces an assortment of products including oven chips, home fries, French fries and mini pizzas. PAS Grantham’s foods are made with quality in mind-from the selection of ingredients to a strict manufacturing process.

Tim Wainwright, PAS Grantham mechanical engineer for 32 years, says the machinery greases he uses play a big role in the company’s manufacturing protocol and its ability to increase productivity and decrease operating costs.

The production lines run 24 hours per day, at least five days per week, and sometimes seven days per week. If a machine goes down, it can result in the entire line being shut down. “When the line goes down, it costs us £900 (about $1800) per hour; that’s the figure we use as our benchmark,” says Wainwright. “Productivity is everything, and proper lubrication plays an integral role. We are always looking for lubricants that will perform, protect and save us money by reducing downtime and increasing operational efficiencies.”

In 2004, Wainwright ran a six-month trial using Petro-Canada’s Purity FG2 synthetic grease, a food-grade lubricant for tough food processing applications. He compared it to his existing product to see which grease provided better protection of gears, bearings and equipment. He also compared the difference in cost between the two.

“Lubrication improvements were noticeable. There was a decrease in actual volume used versus what we were using before, and our reliability was enhanced,” says Wainwright. “After this six-month trial of the synthetic grease, we quickly realized the benefits of the product. There wasn’t any need to do further trials; we went ahead and switched to a full line of Purity products.”

Purity FG2 grease is used on Grantham’s standard conveyors, and FG2 synthetic grease lubricates the steam peelers and fryers. FG AW Hydraulic Fluid 68 is applied to freezer chains, and FG00 grease is used on the auto lube systems. The gear and hydraulic fluids are also used throughout the Grantham plants. The synthetic grease has maintained consistency and lubrication during Grantham’s demanding cleaning process.

The hydraulic fluid is an advanced food grade lubricant formulated to deliver long-lasting protection. It resists oxidative breakdown and minimizes the formation of sludge and varnish to provide smooth and reliable operation. According to Wainwright, these food grade lubricants are providing improved reliability and cost savings.

The lubricants have extensive food grade approvals including, but not limited to, H1registered by NSF International, certified Star K (used in Kosher food preparation) and certified Halal by IFANCA. 

For more information: Dave Ehrhardt,

847-658-7049, dehrhard@petro-canada.ca