When young Carl Bechem (1806-1891) served his apprenticeship in a textile company in Elberfeld*, the industrial revolution in this sector was already under way. Bechem experienced the technical progress first hand and realised the importance of mechanisation and the need for lubricants.

In 1828 he moved to Hagen, a transport hub of increasing importance in the dynamic Ruhr district, and a short time later founded his lubricant plant.
Today BECHEM is a family-owned company managed by the sixth generation with worldwide presence through subsidiaries, joint ventures and sales partners. With a traditional outlook of ‘value for customer’ with focus on evolving technologies, BECHEM is geared up to meet the challenges of future.

Timeline of BECHEM History

1834 – 1840

At about the time, the German customs union was formed with the abolishment of trade barriers, the young entrepreneur established the first German oil plant in 1834 with vegetable resource as the main raw material.

1835: Start of the first railway in Germany. Very soon the railway organisation becomes BECHEM’s first important key customer.

1840: The wire drawing plants in the Altena area are key customers for BECHEM.

1870 – 1909

1870: Carl Bechem develops first mineral-oil based lubricant products; with technical know how, Bechem pioneers manufacturing of lubricants in Germany.

1895: As one of the first German companies BECHEM produces lubricants according to the “Stauffer greases”.

1909: BECHEM acquires the brand “Staroil” which is successfully used in the flying machine motors of the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH, e.g. type Z II and Z III.

1920 – 1948

1920: Range of BECHEM lubricants enhanced after feedback from Field Engineers and Customer’s technical requirements.

1930: Cooperation with the ball bearing plants in Schweinfurt. W 16, KS-28 and SN-28 are notable ball and roller bearings.

1948: As first German company BECHEM produces lubricating greases for most modern Timken roller bearings.

1952 – 1974

1952: BECHEM moves to its new facility in Hagen-Vorhalle, which is the current Global HQ

1973: BECHEM supplies broaching oils for the production of the Saturn transport device, Saturn V set for the Apollo spaceflight programme.

1974: BECHEM develops the first polyurea greases for lubrication points subjected to high temperatures in steel industry.

1981 – 1993

1981: Introduction of the seawater proof high-performance grease High-Lub SW 2.

1986: With the Avantin series BECHEM gets involved in the field of fully synthetic coolants for metal working.

1993: Berulit 935 forms the basis of the development of successful coating media in semi-hot forging.

1994 – 2005

1994: BECHEM supplies environmentally friendly rail lubricants for the Eurotunnel project.

2003: Global expansion is continued with own production facilities in China.

2005: BECHEM introduces a complete range of anti-friction coatings for automotive applications.

2010 – 2012

2010: First serial application of microcapsule technology in anti-friction coatings.

2011: Together with the Fraunhofer Institut IVV and the TU Braunschweig BECHEM wins the German Raw Material Efficiency Prize.

2012: The Fraunhofer team is awarded the Joseph-von-Fraunhofer prize for the development of the coolant Berufluid together with their industrial partner BECHEM

Frequently Asked Questions

You can find all answers here if you need them

Greases are made by mixing a solid material, called a thickener, with a base oil and property enhancing additives; but it’s the oil that forms the lubrication film. For better understanding, grease thickener can be thought of as a sponge saturated with oil. Moving parts squeeze the oil out of the sponge like thickener for forming the lubrication film. Typically, the base oil constitutes the largest proportion of grease weight at about 80-90%, followed by thickener at 10 to 20% and additives under 10%.

Dropping point of a lubricating grease is an indicator of the heat resistance of the grease. and is the temperature at which the grease is no more a thickened lubricating medium. The dropping point indicates the upper temperature limit at which a grease retains its structure, not the maximum temperature at which a grease may be used.

Few greases have the ability to regain their original structure after cooling down from the dropping point.

The most important feature of a grease is its consistency. A grease that is too stiff may not get pumped into areas requiring lubrication. While a grease that is too fluid may leak out. Grease consistency depends on the type and amount of thickener used and the viscosity of its base oil. A grease consistency is its resistance to deformation by an applied force.

The measure of consistency is called penetration. Penetration depends on whether the consistency has been altered by working. Standard test procedures established by American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM) and accepted by industry are ASTM D 217 and D 1403, measure penetration of unworked and worked greases.

The NLGI has established consistency numbers ranging from 000 to 6, corresponding to specified ranges of penetration distance of the standard cone into the test grease. Table below lists the NLGI grease classifications along with a description of the consistency of each classification.

Viscosity: It is a measure of resistance to flow of a lubricating oil.

Viscosity index: It is defined as rate of change of viscosity with respect to temperature.


  • It is the most important property which determines the performance of lubricating oils under the influence of temperature
  • A lubricating oil should have sufficient viscosity to retain a lubricating film on the surface
  • On machine part moving at slow speeds under high pressures, a high viscous oil should be used as it better resists being squeezed out from between the rubbing parts.  Light oils can be used for lower pressures and high speeds.
  • It is not possible to maintain a liquid oil film between two moving or sliding surfaces if the viscosity is too low and hence excessive wear will occur.

The pour point of an oil is the minimum temperature at which the oil turns into semi solid and almost losses its flow characteristic. At low temperatures, the viscosity of the oil will be very high, causing the oil to resist flow. This is important in equipment that operates in a cold environment or handles cold fluids.

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