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Sustainable bio-lubricants for green metalwork industry applications

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HAROLBIO 2.0 (Sustainable bio-lubricants for green metalwork industry applications)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2020-05-31

The Phase-1 of Harolbio 2.0 Project addressed the feasibility study concerning the development of a new generation of bio-based metalworking fluids able to replace the mineral-based synthetic lubricants traditionally used by metalworking industry.
The main problem addressed by Harolbio 2.0 concerns the use of bio-based raw materials which can offer improved performances also overcoming the current limitations which affect the state-of-the art metalworking fluids.
The use of bio-based raw materials, such oilseeds, brings therefore major improvements in terms of sustainability and including the capability of regenerating and recycling the used lubricants within a circular economy value chain perspective.
Moreover, the bio-based lubricants like Harolbio family, can reduce the generation of fogs and smokes; this brings relevant benefits to the operators thanks to a safer and healthier working environment.
Smokes and fogs, which are usually generated by synthetics metalworking fluids, are indeed associated with major health risks for machine operators and to replace them is a priority for industry. The risks of flame outbreak, associated with the traditional mineral based oil, is also prevented by using bio-based formulations.
Finally, the use of bio-based fluids can enhance the performance of metalworking machineries increasing the product quality and extending the machinery life. This aspect is particularly relevant considering the increasing demand of higher performances by the new generation of metalworking machines and including the more advanced CNC and forming applications.
For these reasons, Bellini S.p.A. is committed to implement the current bio-based metalworking fluids prototype for extending the Harolbio range of applications.
The Harolbio 2.0 project is framed in a medium-term development strategy by Bellini S.p.A. which also aims to fully scale-up the current manufacturing plant until reaching the production capability of 3000 ton/years.
A duly development of a sound end-of-life strategy will instead allow the complete circularization of bio-based metalworking fluid value chain.
The Harolbio 2.0 project is therefore fully aligned with Circular Economy and sustainability objectives as depicted in the European Green Deal.
During the Phase-1 project, Bellini S.p.A. pursued a series of activities aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of Harolbio implementation into Harolbio 2.0 and the subsequent manufacturing process scale-up.
The activities performed by Bellini S.p.A. during the Phase-1 project clearly demonstrated the technical and economic feasibility of Harolbio 2.0 project evaluating its long-term sustainability.
These activities have been performed with the support of specialized consultancy firms which provided both technical and economic analysis as well as advice for the following project developments.
Concerning the technical feasibility, it has been defined an implementation strategy to allow the diversification of base Harolbio formulation into a variety of products suitable for different applications including the most advanced machining processes such as metal forming.
In details, the current Harolbio base formulation will be differentiated to allow operations concerning removal, forming, protecting until covering the most recent additive manufacturing applications.
The newly formulated products will be highly suitable for the most demanding operations which nowadays foresee the utilization of extremely expensive tools.
The use of highly performing lubricants can indeed allow the preservation of CAPEX investment value over times.
Concerning the industrialization, a strategy to allow the scale-up of manufacturing operations has been developed aby Bellini S.p.A. also considering the whole metalworking fluids value chain, the forecasted growth rate, and the stable provision of oilseeds.
The investments concerning the improvement of products, and the process scale-up, have been quantified and matched against the project business plan to demonstrate the financial feasibility.
Harolbio 2.0 project is expected to bring several impacts also including societal and environmental benefits.
The higher performance allowed by Harolbio 2.0 series, as well as the lower generation of smokes and fogs, can enhance the safety of manufacturing environments in metalworking industry by reducing several risks for operators and including the exposure toward toxic substances which are usually released by metalworking equipment.
The exposure toward these substances is usually associated with both short terms and long terms drawbacks ranging from irritation and allergy toward more severe health consequences.
Moreover, the better performances enabled by Harolbio 2.0 due to the specific formulations, allow the preservation of high-performance machinery values thus reducing the maintenance costs and machine stops also extending the operative life.
Another benefit offered by Harolbio family of products, is the low corrosion potentials which allow the protection and preservation of processed metal items.
Beside the industrial benefits, the Harolbio metalworking fluids can be also recovered and regenerated to be used for low-value applications while at the end of life they can be still recovered and converted into energy or biofuel.
The aim of Harolbio 2.0 projects is exactly to lay the ground for establishing a truly circular value chain for bio-based metalworking fluids by privileging European producers of raw materials.
The final goal is to obtain a fully circularized value chain for metalworking fluids and without generating any negative impacts in terms of Greenhouse gases - GHG emissions.
Harolbio prototype performances testing
Harolbio brochure - ITA