MATROL BI™ is the trademark of a range of biodegradable and renewable hydraulic fluids, developed by Novamont, that represent a valuable alternative to mineral oil-based hydraulic fluids. Hydronit, Novamont’s partner in this project and a well-known manufacturer of compact modular hydraulic power packs, has carried out extensive field tests simulating different scenarios.
by Alma Castiglioni
Novamont launched a new series of products for the hydraulic sector, the MATROL-BI line: biodegradable and renewable hydraulic fluids that represent a valuable alternative to mineral oil-based hydraulic fluids for all systems operating in environmentally sensitive areas and applications such as agriculture, forestry and the marine sector.
Starting from renewable sources of Italian and European origin,
MATROL-BI hydraulic fluids are a perfect balance between high technical performance and environmental protection, thanks to their rapid biodegradability. They are not only a solution to a technical need but can solve an environmental problem at the same time.
Silent and ongoing pollution due to lubricants occurs every day: more than 50% of lubricants and up to 70% of hydraulic fluids end up in the environment; moreover, just 1 litre of mineral oil is enough to contaminate 1 million litres of water.
Successful extensive field tests have approved their use
Hydronit, Novamont’s partner in this project and a well-known manufacturer of compact modular hydraulic power packs, which has always been dedicated to innovation, has carried out extensive field tests simulating different scenarios in the use of MATROL-BI
(log splitting machines, hydraulic lifts for motorcycles, ploughs, lifts, snowploughs) on seven test benches for over a year, performing millions of cycles with completely standard power packs, subjecting the hydraulic oil to particularly stressful conditions. The excellent results enable us to state that mineral lubricating oil can be replaced without adverse effects on performance and without giving rise to problems of compatibility with standard Hydronit materials, seals and components. In some applications the use of ester-based lubricants may be a better choice both technically, because of its long service life and better equipment protection due to high lubrication and detergency, and from an environmental and safety point of view. By way of example some of the results obtained on the ISO VG 46 grade by simulating the activity of a log splitting machine and a snow plough blade are shown in diagrams a) and b) where the analyses of kinematic viscosity and oil acidity as the number of cycles increases are reported.
As can be seen from the graphs, the hydraulic fluid maintains its physical chemical characteristics unchanged over time in simulated use equivalent to several years’ use of the hydraulic system.
Fluids are safe to use also in industrial applications
Stability means not only guaranteeing performance of the fluid over time, but above all ensuring adequate protection against hydraulic system wear. In this respect analyses have been made of possible metal contamination due to corrosion and wear processes by applying the ASTM D6595 standard. Even after one million cycles, no traces of metal wear could be detected. MATROL-BI hydraulic fluids have a higher flash point and are therefore safer to use, especially in industrial applications. Their high viscosity index and low coefficient of friction ensure lower energy consumption. Also the lower volatility and therefore reduced amount of vapours help to improve the working environment. Traditional mineral oil-based hydraulic fluids normally have flash points (Pensky-Martens) of around 150°C. Thanks to the use of ester bases or refined vegetable oils, MATROL-BI hydraulic fluids can achieve flash points of 250°C for the HEES line and over 280°C for the HETG line, respectively. This means that MATROL-BI fluids are highly safe against the risk of fire. Novamont provides assistance during oil filling/changing, as well as through periodical analyses to monitor the status of hydraulic fluids and systems filled with it. Hydronit is able to supply MATROL-BI HETG and HEES biodegradable and renewable hydraulic fluids in grades from ISO VG 22 to ISO VG 68.