By Vicky Villena-Denton
I had the privilege of attending this year’s 82nd Annual Meeting of the National Lubricating Grease Institute (NLGI), which I used to attend regularly more than 20 years ago. The meeting was held in the small resort town of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in the United States, about 54 kilometres from Spokane, Wash.
I was pleasantly surprised at the international attendance at this meeting, where I met people from India, China, Australia and different parts of Europe. Twenty years ago, this meeting primarily attracted participation from U.S. companies. Furthermore, NLGI has grown to be represented by 230 member-companies in 38 countries on six continents.
I think this speaks about the increasing globalisation of the lubricants and grease industry, as well as NLGI’s success in keeping the global grease community connected and informed. Being the oldest institution representing the grease industry, it has spawned other similar-minded organisations in Europe, India and China.
Recently, NLGI released its annual survey of worldwide grease production in 2014. Unsurprisingly, coverage of international markets has dramatically increased, with 47 plants in Europe, nine plants in the Caribbean, Central and South America, nine in Africa and the Middle East, 12 in India and the Indian subcontinent,16 in Japan, eight in Pacific and South East Asia, 81 in China, in addition to 41 in NorthAmerica, participating in the survey.
With the number of Chinese plants outnumbering North American plants by almost two to one, it is no surprise that Chinese companies, which produced 925 million pounds (lbs) of lubricating grease in2014, represented37% of total global grease production of 2.4billion lbs. In comparison, North American grease production was only slightly more than half of Chinese grease production in 2014.
If you would like to obtain a copy of the latest Grease Production Survey Report, go to www. nlgi.org.