Every lubricant manufacturer is going to claim that their products are of the highest quality. A big part of a high quality lubricating oil is its quality. Customers expect new lubricants to be clean. This, however, is not always the case.
Lubricant manufacturing involves plenty of processes. It is because of this that it is impossible to guarantee the purity of the finished product. Contamination to base oils and additive ingredients can happen even before the actual manufacturing process begins. There are airborne contaminants. Tools, delivery lines and pumps can also contain unwanted particles.
Lubricant manufacturing starts with the blending of the base oil and additive. Once the blending process is finished, the resulting lubricant undergoes extensive testing to make sure that its performance characteristics is suitable for its intended application. In case the test shows that the lubricant does not meet the required specifications, corrections are developed and applied. This usually involves altering the proportion of the components or by adding new additives.
Once the right formulation is achieved, the finished batch is then stored in large tanks. It is then packaged in drums or boxes prior to be delivered to distribution locations. It might need to be repackaged into smaller quantities and then transported to the customers.
If you look at the manufacturing and delivery process, you can see lots of potential for contamination to happen. The base oils and additives must be filtered before being blended. The blending process must take place in a controlled environment that is free from airborne contaminant. The blending vessel must also be free of any particle. The storage tanks and drums must be very clean. The repackaging must also take place in a controlled environment.
Ensuring the purity of lubricating oil requires complex measures that increases the manufacturing expenses. Some manufacturers, in their attempt to lower cost, cut corners and the result is new lubricants that are already contaminated.