Ecosafe Plus – a fire-resistant hydraulic fluid introduced for use in high-pressure systems

Ecosafe Plus is a fire-resistant biodegradable hydraulic fluid (HFC, 18046), with an innovative formulation that is completely glycol-free, allowing easy disposal and is environmental sustainable.

“Actually, Ecosafe Plus is a revolutionary product, because it combines the advantages of a HDFU, which are biodegradable, high temperature resistance and good lubricity, with the advantages of a water-glycol based HFC, having no fire point. Due to these parameters and characteristics, Ecosafe Plus is the ideal hydraulic fluid for non-ferrous metal foundries,” says Alexander Saam, Managing Director of Silca South Africa (Pty) Ltd, the local agent and distributor in Sothern Africa.

“Hydraulic fluids are the medium by which power is transferred in hydraulic machinery. The products based on oil and mineral oil form the most common class of hydraulic fluids. The main advantages of this class are the low cost and the wide variety of viscosity grades available. On the other hand, they may constitute a hazard because of their flammability and of their negative environmental impact. Moreover, their non-completely defined chemical composition may represent a disadvantage. Their performance can be improved by the addition of additives to ensure lubrication, oxidation stability, corrosion protection and a long life-time for both the fluid and the system components,” continued Saam.

“The synthetic hydraulic fluids are viable alternatives to mineral oil, especially for particular applications, such as those that require a higher operating temperature. Synthetic fluids may be used in specific technical applications. In fact, they offer a greater range of operating temperature, as well as improved stability and environmental sustainability. Because of their more advanced technology, synthetic fluids present higher costs.”

“Another particular class of hydraulic fluids is represented by non-flammable fluids. A danger exists whenever a hydraulic system is located near a heat source, such as hot surfaces, molten metal and open flames. Because of vibration, pressure, and temperature variations of the surrounding environment, a breakage may occur, resulting in contact of the hydraulic fluid with such sources of ignition. The non-flammable fluids are used in applications where the risks listed above exist. Their properties of non-flammability are given by the chemical nature of the base and by the water content. Maximum protection is achieved thanks to the water-based products adequately enhanced to improve lubrication, anti-corrosion and anti-microbial properties.”

“A wide selection of hydraulic fluids with varying degrees of resistance to fire and heat are available. The hydraulic fluids are classified according to ISO 6743 as HFA, HFB, HFC and HFD. The HFC class fluids contain approximately 35-45% water, in which are dissolved glycol as antifreeze, thickeners to provide viscosity, anti-wear and anti-corrosion additives packages. They show excellent fire-resistance, minimum change in viscosity with temperature, high stability over the time, and outstanding performance even at low temperatures. The performance can be modulated with the choice of appropriated additives. It is very important to control the evaporation rate for temperatures above 60°C, in order to avoid an excessive loss of water and cavitation phenomena.”

“In this work, Foundry Alfe CHEM has developed and tested Ecosafe Plus, which represents a breakthrough in the class of non-flammable hydraulic fluids. Ecosafe Plus is a fire-resistant biodegradable hydraulic fluid (type HFC and Viscosity Class ISO 46). Ecosafe Plus is particularly suitable to be used in hydraulic circuits located near sources of heat, due to its complete non-flammability and guarantee of safety in case of fire. The Ecosafe Plus formulation is based on a mixture of polymers and biopolymers, and it is glycol-free (monoethylenic, diethylenic and others).”

“Compared to traditional water/glycol based HFC hydraulic fluid, Ecosafe Plus allows for easy disposal of the exhausted fluid and environmental safety. In addition, Ecosafe Plus has a greater compatibility with most of the seals and the elastomers normally used in hydraulic plants compared to traditional water/glycol fluids thanks to its glycols-free formulation. It introduces a technological innovation due to its excellent performances combined with high environmental sustainability, non-flammability, and excellent performances during laboratory tests and during operation, high lubrication and resistance, high biodegradability, raw materials from renewable sources and auto-sustainability. The product has been subjected to various tests, carried out by accredited laboratories, in order to evaluate and confirm the excellent properties, i.e. non-flammability, biodegradability, environmentally sustainable disposal, compatibility with elastomers and lubrication.”

Fire-resistant and readily biodegradable hydraulic fluids HFDU/HEPG
Ecosafe Plus fluids represent a significant advancement in fire-resistant hydraulic fluid technology. These fully synthetic formulations deliver performance superior to premium anti-wear mineral oils and offer significant performance and environmental advantages over other fluid options, including other synthetics. Ecosafe Plus fluids are used in industrial and mobile equipment, including high-pressure systems, hydrostatic drives, systems with servo valves, and all robotics.

Ecosafe Plus fluids are based on a very high VI, polymer base stock combined with a non-metallic additive package. Unlike phosphate ester and polyol ester (including fully saturated synthetic ester) based fluids, they do not break down when exposed to water, minimising the potential for fluid degradation and system damage. As a result, fluid change-out intervals are extended under even the most severe operating conditions.

Ecosafe Plus fluids are classified as FM Approved industrial fluids by Factory Mutual, and meet classification requirements of fire-resistant standards according to DIN/EN/ISO DIS 12922. FR-68 complies with the requirements of SEB 181 223 for the German Steel Industry (VDeH).

Performance advantages
Excellent Lubricity – Ecosafe Plus FR fluids offer excellent lubricity, for exceptional pump life under the most severe conditions. The fluids meet or exceed the pump performance of premium, anti-wear mineral oils, even at 5 500 psi (380 bar) operating pressure. Shear stability is excellent. And all three grades earn a 12-stage rating in the FZG Gear Test, demonstrating high-level protection against wear and scuffing.

Non-sludge or varnish forming – Ecosafe Plus hydraulic fluids are oxidatively stable and will not degrade to form varnish or sludge, contributing to long-term system cleanliness while extending maintenance intervals and overall service life.

“The product was invented in Italy and is patented. 95% of all HFC’s contain glycol, which is causing the negative characteristics of a water glycol product such as:

• Hazardous waste
• Maximum temperature of 45 degrees, thereafter glycol gets out of solution with water
• Reaction with paint
• Reaction with gaskets and seals, which is causing leaks
• Most importantly bad lubricity resulting in increased wear of hydraulic equipment (pumps and valves for example)

“These are the main reasons water glycol hydraulic fluids are not liked even though they provide zero fire risk as these fluids have no fire point!”

“The category HFDU is describing hydraulic fluids, based on synthetic or natural ester. HFDU oils have got a higher fire point compared to mineral oils – fire point approximately 350 degrees C. However, these fire points are lower than the surface or surroundings of a non-ferrous foundry. And: An atomised oil mist has got a lower fire point compared to the fire point declared in the standard data sheet.”

“This means, if you have a malfunction of your hydraulic system (leaking or bursting hose), a HFDU can still cause a fire because it has a fire point!”

Ecosafe Plus, besides being a water based hydraulic fluid as per category HFC and does not contain glycol as it contains polymers and poly alcohols, has the following advantages:
The characteristics/advantages are as follows:

• High biodegradability (greater 70% after 28 days)
• Has zero fire risk as it has no fire point and meets the requirements of FM approval class 6930
• Advanced lubricity due to the polymer formulation (same like a HFDU)
• Elastomer compatibility completely compatible with red silicone, white silicone, viton, teflon, EPDM, polyurethane, vulkollan and NBR

“We have been migrating existing South African clients in South Africa that previously used water glycol and mineral oil to Ecosafe Plus. The results have been excellent.”

“As a service, we assist clients during the change over procedure to Ecosafe Plus. We have got the necessary tanks, pumps and containers. Furthermore, we are monitoring the quality of Ecosafe Plus twice per annum as a free service. This means, we are taking samples from the hydraulic unit and measure the wear metals, viscosity, density, ph, conductivity and bacteria.”

For further details contact Silica South Africa on TEL: 011 825 0522 or visit