1st International Conference on Tribology and Sustainable Lubrication NextLub 2023

On April 18th and 19th, the first edition of the Nextlub biannual conference took place at the Maritim Hotel in Dusseldorf (Germany).

The event has been promoted and organized by the conjunction of the FVA, GFT and UNITI, which is the first time that they have joined forces to create an event of these characteristics.

FVA (Forschungsvereinigung Antriebstechnik e.V.) is a German research association focused on advancing drive technology. Founded in 1978, it brings together leading companies from the German-speaking world involved in the development, manufacture, and application of propulsion systems. Its mission is to drive innovation and technological advancement in the field of drive technology through research and development projects that benefit its member companies and society as a whole.

FVA works in close cooperation with research institutes and universities to carry out research projects on topics such as energy efficiency, noise reduction, durability, and reliability of propulsion systems. Its members include major players in the automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing industries, as well as smaller and medium-sized companies.

Gesellschaft für Tribologie e.V. (GfT) is a German research association dedicated to the field of tribology, which is the study of friction, wear, and lubrication of interacting surfaces in motion. The association was founded in 1959 and is based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

The primary objective of GfT is to promote research and development in the field of tribology and to encourage the application of tribological principles and technologies in industry. The association is also involved in standardization and certification activities, providing guidance and recommendations for the development of tribological standards and test methods.

UNITI is a leading trade fair and congress for the international petroleum and liquid logistics industry. It takes place annually in Stuttgart, Germany and attracts exhibitors and visitors from around the world. The organization is recognized as one of the most important events in the industry and attracts visitors from a wide range of sectors, including fuel retailing, transport, logistics, and energy. The event plays an important role in shaping the future of the petroleum and liquid logistics industry, promoting sustainability and innovation, and helping businesses to stay competitive in a rapidly changing market.

The organization of the event was excellent and in a very comfortable and well-adapted space for events of this magnitude. The hotel that has hosted the event is located a few meters from the Düsseldorf airport and has 3 magnificent rooms with large capacity, large screens and better sound. The participation in this event has been about 300 people, mainly made up of raw material suppliers, lubricant formulators, OEMs and technology centers/universities. On the part of the lubricant formulators, the vast majority local (Germany).

The event has focused on the discussion of the issues that most concern today a sector highly influenced by technological change and the regulations driven by an imminent and palpable climate change of our home, the Earth.

Dr. Lindemann was once again in charge of opening the session with a very interesting presentation of marketing intelligence in the sector, as we are used to. Unfortunately, this has been his last intervention before his professional retirement. From IQL we wish you all the best and we thank you for sharing your knowledge with the sector for so many years.

One issue to highlight in his intervention is the great impact that the new CSS (Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability) will cause in the business. The CSS is a comprehensive plan developed by the European Union (EU) to address the environmental and health challenges posed by the production, use, and disposal of chemicals. The strategy was launched in October 2020 and aims to ensure that chemicals are produced and used in a way that protects human health and the environment while promoting innovation, competitiveness, and sustainability.

The Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability includes a range of actions and initiatives, such as:

  1. Innovating for safe and sustainable EU Chemicals – circularity.
  2. Strengthening EU legal framework to address pressing environmental and health concerns.
  3. Simplifying and consolidating EU legal framework.
  4. Building a comprehensive knowledge base on chemicals.
  5. Setting the example for a global sound management of chemicals.

This will entail a substantial increase in the substances of concern, implying restrictions and/or prohibitions of substances as such or in certain uses.

Circular Economy target will require a complete knowledge on Product Life-Cycle (Cradle-to-Grave) and with it, increasing the complexity of compliance requirements in the supply chain field.

It is estimated that global lubricants industry is producing around 6,5 M tons/y and using around 8000 different molecules. Dr. Lindemann estimates that due to various new restrictions approximately 30% of chemical substances on the global market will no longer be available. Due to this fact and all those described above, the use of raw materials of high renewable origin together with innovation will be key for the lubricants sector in the coming years.

These conclusions send a clear and concrete message to both ends of the value chain. On the one hand, it aims to make OEMs aware of adapting the technical requirements to the changing environment of the sector and expanding the sustainability criteria beyond an imprecise and incomplete quantitative number such as the carbon footprint per product. On the other hand, it encourages suppliers of raw materials that are disruptive and innovative to offer ingredients to the sector that offer performance and sustainability in equal measure.

During the event and the different presentations, the commitment of the sector and its adaptation to new technologies such as drones used for the agricultural sector, e-Driveline fluids, batteries, digitization, and technological solutions/proposals that add value to sustainability, became even more evident.

The event will celebrate its second edition in April 2024, pretending to be a showcase for discussion, learning and awareness for the sake of innovation and sustainability in the lubricants sector, and in this way alternate with the TAE, the other local reference event.

April 2023.

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