Sustainability, digital technologies, and supply chains are impacting numerous market segments in various ways, including the tribology and lubrication industry.
According to Hong Liang, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University, and newly elected president of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE), supply chains are a more immediate challenge facing the industry. Not only are manufacturers working to deliver product to customers in a timely manner but also address the issue of there not being enough raw material to produce lubricants.
She said the industry is finding ways to collaborate on development efforts and localize production as a means of overcoming these supply chain challenges.
Longer term impacts on the industry include vehicle electrification which is already bringing about the need for more lubricant options to aid with thermal management and other lubrication needs said Liang. She said the industry is moving fast to help provide the lubricants required in these new vehicle types which is beneficial for both the industry and its customers.
Computation, robotics, and other related digital technologies are coming into play for the tribology and lubrication industry as well said Hong. “We are in an [era] that is actually quite exciting,” she said.
These and other trends are bringing about new development and learning opportunities, and in some ways helping the industry to advance beyond what may have been possible in the past.