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ABB develops In Line Coloring system for lubricant manufacturing

ABB Process Engineering (Cellier) has brought to the market a new In Line Coloring system that removes the need for segregating dyeing processes from mainstream production. The system, developed for bulk loading and aimed initially at the lubricant market, replaces traditional batch-based production dyeing with an in-line process that allows dyeing to take place at the last stage of the process.

In doing so, operators no longer need to store dyes in separate tanks or assign independent assembly and transportation lines. As a result, these assets can be repurposed to create extra production capacity and flexibility.


Dyeing of lubricants is generally deployed for standardization, regulation or end use identification purposes. It has been adopted stringently by the automotive industry to help identify different components in manufacturing and assembly of cars.

With the global automotive market expected to reach 122.83 million units by 2030, the demand for colored lubricants is also expected to increase exponentially.

Increased global demand has meant we needed to increase our production volumes. It became clear that we needed a more efficient process to ensure accuracy, speed and safety of the dyeing process. ABB worked closely with us to create that solution, and as a direct result we have been able to create more capacity at our facility by freeing up the storage tanks and production lines previously assigned for dye processing.

—Aurélien Allaert, Plant Engineering Manager, Shell

The In Line Coloring system will also ensure accuracy and reliability of dye dilution and dosage levels, fully automating the process and removing the need for operators to manually handle solvent dye raw products, which have a high level of toxicity and can be harmful to health.

In most plants, due to the ratio of products to be colored remaining relatively low, dilution and dosage application of dye is handled by operators themselves. The outcomes can be unpredictable and unreliable, and it is impossible to know if accurate dosing levels have been achieved until the product is received. Our solution fully automates the dye process and incorporates micro-dosing Coriolis mass flowmeters, which provide operators with precise dye injection measurements per gram of product.

—Samuel Dessolin, Global Segment & Product Manager Blending and Formulation Solutions at Process Engineering, ABB Process Engineering (Cellier)

ABB’s first In Line Coloring system is already in operation for bulk loading at Shell’s Nanterre facility in France. Thanks to this proven design, a range of fully standardized packaged solutions is now available for new facilities or conversion of existing assets.


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