ILMA Compoundings - September 2020 - 12

INDUSTRY RUNDOWN

STLE Releases Report on
Emerging Issues, Trends
The Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers
(STLE) recently released its 2020 Report on Emerging
Issues and Trends in Tribology and Lubrication Engineering. The study reveals significant trends, technologies
and perspectives, as well as how those trends will
continue to develop, and the challenges ahead. We've
highlighted a few of the opportunities and challenges
here but encourage you to download the full report
available on the STLE website.
OPPORTUNITIES
Transportation
The transportation sector represents 57% of the market
demand for lubricants, potentially having the most significant impact. A global push toward electric vehicles and away
from traditional internal combustion engines means less
conventional metalworking fluids and oils. However, these
new technologies represent a significant demand for research
and development of special greases and transfer fluids.
Energy
It is predicted that the worldwide demand for energy may
grow by as much as 50% by 2050. Not only will we need
increased energy production, but the demand for reducing
energy loss, the purview of tribologists and lubricant engineers, will also increase. 
Manufacturing
When the data was being collected for this report, the
manufacturing sector was going through changes due to the
development of robotics, additive manufacturing and developments in transportation. As a result of the COVID-19
pandemic, those conversations have accelerated - especially
around automation. The report says, "These and other
changes will require tribologists and lubrication engineers
to adapt and learn about new products/outputs as well as
process and operations concerns."
Medical and health
Tribology's primary role in this sector is to solve complex
challenges, such as increasing the life spans of prosthetics or
improving lubrication on surfaces (e.g., in contact lenses).

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SEPTEMBER 2020

| COMPOUNDINGS | ILMA.ORG

Study participants noted multiple advances that may be
possible in the future, including unique applications for
additive manufacturing, such as highly specialized and
custom tissues, as well as more advanced prosthetics.
CHALLENGES
Workforce issues
Respondents felt that opportunities to replace an aging
workforce are declining. Limited availability of academic
programs and research funding that provides education in
the discipline is cited as a reason for that decline. For those
looking for ongoing training and career development, it isn't
easy to find opportunities and resources. 
Research funding
As mentioned previously, the lack of funding has adverse
effects on advancements in tribology and lubrication engineering. That funding is often allocated to emerging trends
research - batteries, additive manufacturing, innovative
surfaces, recyclable materials and advanced manufacturing. 
Materials cost and availability
Participants said factors related to the cost and availability
of lubricants materials are negatively affected by the general
security of the supply chain, tariffs, regulations, industry consolidations and closures, and natural disasters, to name a few.
There is also concern over the availability of specific resources,
such as lithium, biocide options, rare earth metals, Group I
base oils and cobalt, causing a push to find alternatives.
Government regulation
For tribologists and lubrication engineers evaluating
government regulatory frameworks, the primary challenge
occurs when additives or lubricants are limited locally,
regionally or globally. Participants in the study felt most
strongly that there would be an increase in regulations
toward lead, chlorinated paraffins, nonylphenol ethoxylates,
phosphorus compounds and zinc, resulting in the need to
find alternatives that still meet the demand for performance
and efficiency.
You can download the full report from the STLE website,
www.stle.org, at no cost for STLE members.


http://www.stle.org http://www.ILMA.ORG

ILMA Compoundings - September 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ILMA Compoundings - September 2020

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ILMA Compoundings - September 2020 - Cover2
ILMA Compoundings - September 2020 - 1
ILMA Compoundings - September 2020 - 2
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ILMA Compoundings - September 2020 - Cover3
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