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Patterson Industries Canada Forms Alliance with WAVEtek USA to Bring Microwave Grease Making Technology to the Market

A perfect combination of traditional quality-built grease processing vessels and state of the art microwave power. Possibly the start of one of the most impactful changes in manufacturing grease. 

All-Weld/Patterson Industries Canada, a world leader in designing and manufacturing grease processing equipment announces an alliance with Environmental Lubricants Manufacturing (ELM)’s WAVEtek division. The alliance aims to bring microwave grease making technology to the worldwide market.

The process for making grease has been well established for centuries and although there have been improvements over the years, the process remains fundamentally unchanged. A grease thickener is produced by saponifying/cooking raw materials in a heated reaction vessel (kettle) and then blended with base oil and functional additives into a finished grease. Heat is an integral part of the process and the intense heat necessary to drive the reaction often requires jacketed vessels that typically use thermal fluid. This means the thermal fluid heats the vessel in order to heat the product.

According to Dr. Lou Honary, President of ELM / WAVEtek, “The microwave processing is uniquely different and markedly more efficient because it directly heats the product inside the kettle. Although the reaction and blending still occurs in the kettle, the microwaves directly excite the molecules in the materials and uniformly heat the product inside the vessel. The process significantly improves the rate and efficiency of the reaction, reduces processing time by up to one third, and enables greater control over the reaction, thus perfecting the ‘art’ in grease making.”

ELM pioneered the process in 2008 when it applied microwaves to standard metal grease kettles to drive the reaction. While ELM is known for processing biobased greases that readily respond to microwave energy, the majority of grease producers manufacture petroleum-based grease. To address this need, ELM has developed and patented technologies to process petroleum greases using microwaves. Dr. Honary says, “Partnering with a world leader in the grease industry in Patterson, is a vital step in the worldwide adaptation of this technology to manufacture greases.” 

Patterson Industries Canada has over 100 years of experience in supplying industrial processing equipment to all sectors of industry globally. All-Weld acquired Patterson in late 2012.

Scott Dunsmoor, P.Eng. – All-Weld / Patterson President says, “We have been intrigued by Dr. Honary’s exciting path of introducing microwave technologies into the production of industrial greases. Our kettles have been used by our customers with dependability and results, with many kettles having over 30 years of continuous service. The master producers of industrial greases know precisely how to work their traditional kettles to produce quality products. Offering a new state of the art alternative method of grease production is exhilarating as we introduce new technology into this industry. The expectation of significant cost savings will offer our customers alternative solutions for new installations or capacity expansions. We have partnered with quality people at WAVEtek and our customers will become the beneficiaries.” 

Neil Vickress – Patterson Industries Canada Division Manager added, “We have developed our first prototype kettle for final testing of WAVEtek’s Microwave Technology. We will be engineering many different modular solutions for various batch capacities including Lab Scale, Pilot, and Production sizing – similar to our traditional kettle designs. However, each of these Patterson/WAVEtek modules are also expandable, as a single microwave source can be designed to service multiple kettles. Our scope of supply for this new line of Patterson equipment – powered by WAVEtek, will include in-depth instruction and process assistance. We want to ensure that our customers are able to be up and running efficiently and with confidence.” 

Exciting times lie ahead for the grease industry, and for the Patterson/WAVEtek team. The journey will be guided by the quality and engineered design that is built on a century of experience and performance.

About Patterson/All-Weld: Patterson Industries Canada – Division of All-Weld Company Limited has history dating from 1920 in the supply of custom steel industrial processing equipment for a wide variety of industries worldwide. When All-Weld acquired Patterson in 2012 the transition with respect to experience, design, and quality was seamless for their Patterson customers. Our customers rely on our in-house engineering, material processing, machining, fabrication, and quality assurance with great confidence. www.allweld.ca/ 

About ELM: Environmental Lubricants Manufacturing, Inc. was founded in 2000 by Dr. Lou Honary Professor and Director of The University of Northern Iowa’s National Agriculture-Based Lubricant Center (UNI-NABL) and the University of Northern Iowa Research Foundation. ELM has over 40 biobased lubricants and greases that had been developed at the UNI-NABL Center Today, ELM is licensed from UNI for the use of this microwave technology and has two pending patents for the use of this technology for petroleum grease products. www.elmusa.com

About WAVEtek: WAVEtek Process Technology, LLC, is a wholly owned subsidiary of ELM as was formed to focus on commercialization of ELM’s microwave-based processing technologies. The company operates within a separate space inside ELM and collaborates with other leading suppliers of microwave systems and components under direct supervision of ELM experts.

For more information, please contact Neil Vickress – neil.vickress@allweld.ca 

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