Greasing Up Grain Trucks with Soy
July 11, 2022 Ohio Soybean Council
By Madi Layman, OSC Communication Coordinator
Formed in 2019, Gear Head Lube set out to create an innovative and driver-friendly grease for tractor trailer fifth wheel lubrication. Gear Head Lube chose soy for its biodegradable and superior lubrication properties. With the support of the Ohio Soybean Council and Airable Research Lab, Gear Head Lube successfully marketed a product that is user friendly, environmentally friendly and soybean industry friendly.
Gear Head Lube developed soy-based dry pads that can be used to grease the fifth wheel of a tractor trailer. The grease is made from domestically produced soybean oil and is formed into a dry three-inch square. This pad is then placed on the fifth wheel surface and when the weight of the trailer is lowered onto the fifth wheel, the pad is crushed and morphed into a semi-solid grease. The turning of the truck and trailer spreads the grease, doing the work for you without the mess.
In addition to a mess-free product the pads offer positive environmental impacts. The grease is made of a high percentage of soybean oil, making it environmentally friendly and renewable.
“The fifth wheel of the tractor trailer is an exposed exterior surface. And sooner or later, everything that is used on that fifth wheel is going onto the roadbed. From the roadbed it’s going onto the roadside and into the groundwater,” said Brian Walker, Gear Head director of sales, marketing and business development. “There is a substantial benefit to having an environmentally friendly, biodegradable product for this application.”
This is a big plus for farmers as they lower the risk of contaminating their soil with traditional fifth wheel greases. It also appeals to fleet owners as they look to reach their environmental initiatives.
There are about two million tractor trailers in the U.S. and Canada. Assuming that each tractor trailer is lubricated once every two weeks on average, that makes for a great market opportunity. Gear Head Lube’s team views the U.S. market to have the potential for tens of millions of their grease pads every year. That accounts for about six million bushels of U.S. soybeans. This will drive a demand for about two million gallons or more of soy oil per year.
“We would like to say how much we appreciate the support we got from the Ohio Soybean Council,” said Todd Whiting, Gear Head Lube director of product development. “We have been using funding for marketing and it has been so valuable to us.”
The Ohio Soybean Council and Airable Research Lab support companies like Gear Head Lube to market sustainable, soy-based products, which increases demand for soybeans and soybean oil.
Gear Head Lube was awarded the Heavy Duty Trucking Top 20 Products of 2022 award for this unique and impactful product. Their fifth wheel grease pads were showcased during the 2022 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The product is currently available for purchase at www.gearheadlube.com.
For more information on how Airable Research Lab and your soybean checkoff are marketing innovative soy-based products, visit AirableResearchLab.com.