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On track with new biodegradable lubricant

Posted on 22 May 2024. Edited: John Hunter. Read 387 times.
On track with new biodegradable lubricant Rhenus LSN 04 XT scores highly with its EU Ecolabel (EEL) and approval from Deutsche Bahn

Lubricants for rail transport have to meet stringent requirements, ensuring not only excellent environmental properties but also flawless long-term operation of railway equipment and components. A semi-fluid switch grease from Germany-based Rhenus Lub has been developed — Rhenus LSN 04 XT — which is based on biodegradable synthetic esters and meets these requirements in full. As a refinement of the lubricant used in the past, it is suitable for the lubrication of sliding surfaces on switch systems and has been shown to allow a doubling of service lives even under challenging climatic conditions.

By reducing switch malfunctions, Rhenus LSN 04 XT helps to deliver more reliable rail transport. The biodegradable lubricant is certified with the EU Ecolabel, a seal for sustainable products and services that help to relieve the burden on the environment. It is therefore another of the company’s products that meets the strict certification requirements of the EU Ecolabel, and it forms part of the steadily expanding portfolio of sustainable products from Rhenus Lub. As a “biodegradable switch grease”, it has already been approved for use by Deutsche Bahn.

Dr Marco Pfeiffer, grease product manager at Rhenus Lub, said: “With LSN 04 XT, we are delighted to offer another product that carries the coveted EU Ecolabel. Environmental friendliness and high performance aren’t mutually exclusive parameters – as our products have proven even in demanding applications.”

Rail transport of passengers and freight also brings challenges in terms of sustainability. No excess or displaced lubricating grease can be allowed to enter the ground or bodies of water – particularly at lubrication points, such as sliding surfaces on switches. The use of mineral oil-based lubricating greases always involves a certain degree of environmental risk. This is where Rhenus LSN 04 XT comes in: thanks to its biodegradability, it is exceptionally sustainable and can be used in close proximity to the natural world without hesitation.

Excellent performance

Rhenus LSN 04 XT has demonstrated its excellent performance in various laboratory tests and in an elaborate long-term test by DB on 465 switches and junctions of all load categories over a period of 18 months. Designed for a temperature range of -40 to 120°C, the high-performance lubricant scored particularly highly for its service life, which is twice that of a standard product, reducing the need for relubrication.

At the same time, it impressed with increased weather resistance, processing characteristics and excellent adhesive properties. Even at very low temperatures, the switch lubricant could be applied easily using sprayers or hand-held brushes and delivered reliable adhesion. The lubricating grease also showed excellent waterproofing and weather resistance, particularly thanks to its resistance to UV and corrosion.

One particularly positive characteristic was the ability to significantly reduce lubricant consumption thanks to a doubling of lubrication intervals and to minimise repair and maintenance costs thanks to high operational reliability of switches. Moreover, switches are significantly easier to set with Rhenus LSN 04 XT, meaning that lubrication-related switch malfunctions occur much less often – as confirmed by the final test report from Deutsche Bahn. Rhenus LSN 04 XT therefore helps to keep switches in consistently good condition while also helping to reduce operating costs.