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Case Study - Improved Rollercoaster Lubrication

Molykote BG-20 High-Performance Case Study

MOLYKOTE® greases are specially formulated to solve specific problems.This case study will show why Molykote BG-20 was recommended and what specifications it has that make it the right lubricant for the application.

In this case study, we'll explore the problem that Six Flags Great Adventure and its supervisor of maintenance, John Kushyk, faced for their 3,600 foot long rollercoaster, The Scream Machine. 

Prior to their 1998 season, Kuschyk began searching for a more cost effective and readily available lubricant that would continue to meet Six Flags' high performance requirements and their application. They took the issues that they were facing to their supplier contact where based on their application and what was needed, Molykote BG-20 High-Performance Synthetic Grease was recommended. 


Problem: Costly Maintenance

Needing to be constantly lubricated to ensure safety and a fast smooth ride, the current method for keeping the rollercoaster and its parts well lubricated was becoming costly. Their current process at the time, for the 11 year-old coaster, was to soak the wheel bearings of the rollercoaster in an oil bath to keep them lubricated. This method however resulted in the oil caps to fly off on occasion allowing oil to escape the bearings.

Another method Kuschyk utilized was to seal the caps and to replace the oil with grease manually via pump or gun through fittings and bearings located in the wheels' hub. With this method however, the grease would need to be replaced every seven to ten days to replace any grease that had leaked out during that time period. This method became costly since the grease that was being used for this application was, according to Kuschyk, was "very expensive". An alternative grease that is more readily available, be more cost effective, while still meeting Six Flags' performance regulations needed to be looked into. 

The Solution: MOLYKOTE® BG-20 High-Performance Synthetic Grease

In order to meet the high temperature range, cost efficiency, and performance capabilities, the suppliers working with John Kuschyk suggested MOLYKOTE® BG-20 High-Performance Synthetic Grease. The product was more readily and locally available while also being a fifth of the cost of the lubricant that Kuschyk was currently using. MOLYKOTE® BG-20 is a polyester grease with a lithium complex thickener which combines the wide temperature range of a silicone grease (estimated to be from -45°C to 180°C or -50°F to 360°F respectively) and the high load-carrying capacity of a typical solid lubricant-containing organic grease. The advantages of utilizing such grease is that the grease is able to withstand extreme pressure or speeds, and wide temperatures, which fits what is needed for the Scream Machine. 

To ensure the product was what they were looking for, Kuschyk slowly phased the MOLYKOTE® BG-20 grease into their system. In the 1998 season, MOLYKOTE® BG-20 was used on half of the wheel bearings for the 7-car train. With no failures or drag noticeable on the the wheels, Kuschyk applied the product to the rest of the train for their 1999 season. 

Why Molykote BG-20 Grease?

Made up of synthetic polyol ester (POE), the MOLYKOTE® BG-20 Grease, an NLGI Grade 2 grease, is ideal for lubricating and protecting bearings that are under medium to heavy loads. While under heavy loads, most rollercoasters have an average RPM of 4000 rotations per minute. At high rotational speeds along with exposure to environment, a broad range of temperatures would need to be adhered to. MOLYKOTE® BG-20 Grease is able to perform between -45°C to 180°C or -50°F to 360°F respectively, making it the perfect grease to withstand the hot summer days, cold rainy nights, and everything in between.

With its long term lubrication properties due to low oxidation and oil evaporation, and broad operating temperature, the MOLYKOTE®BG-20 High Performance Synthetic Grease is an ideal choice for rollercoaster applications. 

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