GeneralA Complete Introduction on Base Oil and It’s Applications in the Medical Industry

Base oils are derived from crude oils for producing different types of lubricating oils that ultimately serve in different industries both as end-use products and consumer products. As the name suggests, base oils are the fundamental oils for manufacturing different types of lubricants such as grease, metal processing oils, and motor oils. Since different types of lubricants require specific viscosity, consistency, and operating temperatures, base oils are divided into specific groups for easy identification and use. Crude oil is refined and clarified for extracting base oil and end-use industries add or remove specific elements to achieve the desired constancy and operational temperature of specific base oils. Industrial machinery and automotive are the biggest end-use industries of different type of base oils. Among all the variants of base oils, Group I and Group II are the most popular and in-demand oils.

With rapid growth in the automotive industry, especially in the emerging economies where disposable income of individuals is rising, base oil is in high demand. The global base oil industry is quite big and it is growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 3 percent which is expected to sustain till 2022. The demand is likely to maintain a steady pace for a while due to constant demand for lubricants with a clear texture, high operating temperature, and improved efficiency. The Western markets are subject to high demand for clear lubricants whereas the APAC markets are witnessing rising demands for industrial lubricants. Talking about the key growth drivers, the automotive industry is a major growth driver in the global base oil industry as the product is used in both the end products that are vehicles and production process that require machine oiling. The demand or base oil in the APAC industrial machine market is likely to grow a CAGR of 4 percent.

Applications of Base Oil in the Pharmaceutical Industry:  

Pharmaceutical sector is rapidly becoming a big end-user of different types of base oils due to increasing automation and the use of robotics in the manufacturing process. The industry is opting for machine-based production systems quite fast and those are replacing human workers from the production line. The reasons are fast production times, error-free operations, and the rising demand for medication in various global regions.

The top global suppliers of base oil are Sinopec, Petro China GS Caltex, Chevron, and Exxon Mobil. These suppliers specifically cater to the APAC region due to increasing number of pharmaceutical plants that are automated and employ international standards for drug manufacturing. The major demands are for the Group II base oils, synthetic oils, food-grade oils, and food-grade synthetic oils.

Manufacturing in the pharmaceutical sector requires specific lubrication oils for the machines that do not contaminate the drugs and other similar products. The pharmaceutical industry uses food-grade lubrication oils for which the regulations allow. The food-grade lubricants are required to have ISO21469 certification. The industry uses synthetic food-grade lubricants that contain elements like Polyalkaline (PAO) and Polyalphaolephin (PAG). In addition, the machines usually operated at high temperature and therefore, oils with high heat bearing capacity are required which include high viscosity silicon oils.

However, the industry also uses different glidants along with the lubricants as per the requirement for a specific process. Glidants are used for promoting the flow of granules/powder for reducing the friction between the particles whereas lubricants prevent adhesion of the product/substance and reduce friction for improving the flow rate.

The lubricants required in the pharmaceutical industry must follow specific criteria for being used in any type of manufacturing process such as sterile manufacturing, medicine manufacturing, personal hygiene product manufacturing, etc. The oils must have low shear strength, non-toxic, durability for maintaining lubrication for long even after a single-use, chemically inert, and unaffected by the temperature or processes.

The different types of Lubricants used in the pharmaceutical industry are explained here.

  • H1 Lubricants: These are the food-grade lubricants used in situations where lubricants may come in contact with the drugs or similar product. Such lubricants must contain specific elements as per the regulatory guidelines.
  • H2 Lubricants: These are synthetic lubricants used in the machines where the chances of coming in direct contact with the product are minimal or negligible. However, these lubricants also do not contain any harmful elements such as heavy elements including arsenic, cadmium, and lead.

 The base oil market is huge and it is affected largely by the growth in the industrial machinery, automotive, and pharmaceutical market on a global level. The industry is also affected by the price fluctuation in the crude oil market as it is fundamental for deriving different types of base oils. However, not all the industries source the same base oil as there are a variety of variants available at varied viscosities, consistencies, and temperature bearing capacity. The use of base oils in the pharmaceutical industry is also rising due to mechanization and increased use of robotics.

This article has been sponsored by Growisto

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