Abe Lincoln

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American Roots: Abe Lincoln & Agriculture

On May 15, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation creating the United States Department of Agriculture.  The former president valued agriculture as “the largest interest of the nation” and, thanks to his vision, he was able to lay the foundations that govern agricultural policies today.

An Agricultural Background

The 16th President and one of America’s Founding Fathers, Abraham Lincoln is known for many milestones during his presidency. However, one crucial aspect of his life, which shaped his visions for the America of the time, was how agriculture and rurality played such an important role in his life.

Lincoln’s background was on the Western frontier.  He lived with his family on acres of land used for pioneer exploitation, in comparison to settled cultivation.  Lincoln was born in a log hut in Central Kentucky, but it was no woodsy fairytale.  As a child, he grew up on a 30-acre farm where only half could be cultivated due to the natural landscape and geography characterized by hills.

Upon realizing that this lifestyle was not sustainable, Lincoln’s father moved the family to 160 acres of marshland in southern Indiana, where he later developed acres of corn, wheat, and oats.  A young man himself, Lincoln was hired to work the farm and other tasks until he was ready to set out on his own.  There is no doubt that this quality of life shaped the man into who he became as President of the United States.  As he moved forward on his journey, Lincoln continued to shape frontiers and became a country lawyer.  Given his experience and background, he became a figure that represented farmers and small-town democracy.

As his career furthered, Lincoln never strayed too far from his roots. He would attend state fairs and endorse them as places for bringing the community together, furthering discussions of how to improve agriculture throughout the country.  Gifted with an innovative mind, Lincoln learned from his years of observing the field and would offer his wisdom on how to steer agricultural technology.  One example is how Lincoln commented on the potential efficiency of using steam plows in contrast to horse-drawn machines.

The Early Stages of the USDA

Once he became President, and two and a half years after he signed on the creation of the USDA into law, Lincoln referred to the newly created Department as “The People’s Department”. This significant statement echoes the great value that American citizens put into farming and agriculture, and how working the land is the basis of economic and social development for communities all over the country.  This moment in our political history allowed for great strides in agricultural development and significance, touching the lives of the citizens and improving their quality of life even today.

In his speech, Lincoln’s stated: “The Agricultural Department, under the supervision of its present energetic and faithful head, is rapidly commending itself to the great and vital interest it was created to advance. It is precisely The People’s Department, in which they feel more directly concerned that in any other. I commend it to the continued attention and fostering care of Congress.” He later appointed agriculturalist Isaac Newton as Commissioner of Agriculture.  Newton had been a model farmer who worked as chief of agriculture in the Patent Office, who shared the same values and a close friendship with the President.

Committed to education and his values that farmers’ interests were the interests of the country, Lincoln pioneered for agricultural reform and different structures of labor management and landowning.  To quote, he said: “…no other human occupation opens so wide a field for the profitable and agreeable combination of labor with cultivated thought, as agriculture.”  Staying true to his beliefs, Lincoln continued to advocate as a nominee of the Republican Party in 1860 and would work towards many proposals’ fruition.  Alongside the creation of the federal Department of Agriculture, other motions included the demand for homestead measures, federal aid in the construction of the railroad to the Pacific Ocean and grants to fund federal land as spaces for higher education in engineering and agriculture.  Lincoln was, in all senses, a pioneer of his times.

Moving Forward

In 1862, about half of Americans were either living or working on farms. Today, that statistic has drastically dropped to 2%, mostly due to the massive move into city and the new technologies, industries, and increased access to education that defined the later part of the XX century.  Despite this shift, the USDA has continued its role of improving agriculture, food, science, natural resource conservation and economic development, maintaining Lincoln’s legacy and hopes for the future.  In 2012, the Department celebrated its 150th and continues to move forward into the challenges and significant advances that have revolutionized agriculture in the XXI century.

Honest Abe was known for his humility and for valuing the hard work of the laboring class. As a company, here at VISCOSITY, we share those same values, following the vision of always working in fluid motion to provide the solutions that our customers need. Visit our About Us section to learn more about our company and get all the premium products we have designed especially for your heavy-duty equipment.

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National Gardening Month

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The Seed Once Sown: National Gardening Month
As the warm weather makes its way north, there is more sunlight in the sky, and green leaves begin to sprout across the land. With springtime now upon us, what better way to celebrate it than through gardening?
With the birds chirping in the morning, bees buzzing in the afternoon, and flower buds blossoming all over, now is the time to break out of the winter blues and get outside. As Gertrude Jekyll, a famous horticulturist and garden designer once said, “the love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.” Earth Day is celebrated worldwide on the 22nd, but what many people do not know is that April is also National Gardening Month. This period grants us an excellent opportunity to celebrate what we love: the fresh air and outdoors, sinking our hands into the soil, the sights and smells of springtime that surround us in a garden full of fresh fruit, veggies, and herbs.
How did it begin?
For centuries worldwide, after enduring long and harsh winters, traditions to welcome spring have been observed to celebrate rebirth, renewal, and growth. The Spring Equinox is marked on March 20th, as the sun crosses the celestial equator moving north and bringing with it warmth, abundance, and longer days.
The origins of National Gardening Month in the US can be traced back to President Ronald Reagan when in 1986, he declared the first National Gardening Week. Later on, the National Garden Bureau non-profit continued to sponsor the project, pushing to “educate, inspire and motivate people to increase the use of plants in homes, gardens, and workplaces.” In 2002, this week-long observation was extended to the entire month, highlighting the importance of gardening in our lives. All across the country, there are gardening-related events, educational activities, local plant sales and swaps, horticulture seminars, and more for all who wish to get their hands dirty and enjoy a sunny day out.
Why is gardening so important?

With the difficulties brought along with the pandemic, a decline in national and global health was seen across the board. National Gardening Month is the perfect excuse to remind us that we can each play a role in taking care of ourselves and our surroundings.

As mentioned in a previous blog entry, there are over 2 million farms in the US, and about 96% are family-owned. Farms are a crucial aspect of American culture, but what about smaller projects? Here at Viscosity, we understand that small actions make a genuine difference. Whether it’s large-scale agriculture on farms, the neighborhood community plot, or small potted plants on the balcony, gardening offers plenty of benefits to individuals, as well as the collective community and the environment.

A healthy pastime
Gardening has innumerable benefits, whether you look into the science or spirituality behind it.
Farmers understand better than anyone that we are all part of the same team to nurture growth and contribute to our planet’s biodiversity and health. Gardens create homes for insects and animals of all kinds, aiding in maintaining natural lifecycles and environmental balance.
Aside from the many nature-related benefits, gardening gives our bodies exercise, promoting heart health, and lowering blood pressure. It also allows us the opportunity to absorb vitamin D, which many are lacking after months of winter, plus weeks of quarantine. Surprisingly, gardening has also been shown to delay the onset of dementia as it activates focus and concentration, kickstarting brain function.
People tend to be calmer and happier when spending time outside surrounded by nature. It has even been studied that digging in dirt relieves stress and improves mood. It could be due to microscopic non-pathogenic bacteria with high serotonin levels (commonly known as the happy hormone) that are abundant in soil. This means that with less anxiety and stress, gardening adds years to your life.
Furthermore, after having experienced more isolation and food insecurity due to COVID-19, it’s vital to mention the power gardens have to bring people together. There was a boom in community gardens throughout the pandemic, allowing access to fresh produce to those who might not have it, especially in urban environments. This also gives people a sense of agency over their food sources. Community gardens serve not only to grow foods but also to cultivate social support and emotional well-being.
And let’s not forget that growing a garden can also be a relief on your wallet. With the rising costs of fresh produce, investing in gardening tools and supplies sooner than later can be a great way to cut costs at the supermarket, all while maintaining well-rounded health.
Whether it’s a shared space to tend plants and soil or just sharing seeds and cuttings with neighbors and friends, gardening has been a staple part of our survival as a community, as well as a healthy way to reconnect with our world and our roots.
Spring forward!
Now it’s time to celebrate! For small growers out there, you might consider a decorative, ornamental garden or something practical and easy, like growing herbs for your kitchen. Even growing just one cherry tomato plant or sprout of oregano can be the satisfying hobby you never knew you needed.
Gardens can be multipurpose, where you grow and prepare your own farm-to-table recipes, or where you create a relaxing place to meditate or enjoy a picnic; they can even become new habitats for pollinators and seasonal birds, adding harmony in an environment that is constantly changing.

In some places around the country, the climate might not yet permit everyone to get out right away, but with the changing weather promising good growing seasons to come, it is time to begin preparing the ground. A good study will allow you to pick a project that fits into your schedule and your land. Once you have decided what kind of gardening projects you wish to embark upon this year, gather your materials and spring forward with your friends and family. Remember to be patient and celebrate the sometimes slow growing process.

Working the ways of the land is done year-round, each season offering a new task or project out in the field, and here at VISCOSITY, we have everything you need so you can do it all with the best protection at all seasons. Whether you work big or go for something smaller, there is no time like the present to get started – enjoy National Garden Month!

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Rollover Protective Structures

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Rollover Protective Structures
Riding a tractor is an activity that is deeply engrained in a farmer’s everyday life. Movements become mechanical, and muscle memory allows the equipment operator to handle the motions with ease. Safety precautions paired with experience in front of the wheel reduce operational risks and errors to a minimum. However, accidents can happen even to the most seasoned drivers. Having a piece of equipment functioning correctly, well maintained, and properly fitted with all security implements required by regulators is crucial to reducing the risk of severe injuries and fatalities.

One of the most prevalent accidents occurring within farms is rollovers. And to keep drivers safe, two vital pieces are a must have in every tractor: seatbelts and Rollover Protective Structures.

What is it?

Rollover Protective Structures, also known as ROPS, are generally described as steel structures that shield operators from injury. It works as a roll cage system, framing the driver seat area and creating a protective zone for the operator when the equipment experiences a rollover accident. When using a seatbelt, ROPS have a 99% effectiveness in preventing severe injuries or fatalities. 

ROPS are available as:

  • Two-post ROPS: the most common type, two-post ROPS are mounted on the back axle of the equipment. They can be fitted vertically or slightly tilted. Some foldable alternatives are available to work on certain types of low-clearance zones, such as orchards and vineyards. 
  • Four-post ROPS: aside from having frames mounted on the back of the tractor, there are also frames mounted in the front. Some models have posts mounted at the top of flat-top rear fenders, which have been specially reinforced to this end. 
  • Enclosed cabs: the cab structure shields the operator completely, acting as a ROPS. The design is usually installed by the manufacturer directly. 
Equipment can also be fitted with Falling Object Protective Structures (FOPS), made of fiberglass or steel, that can be attached to two-post or four-post ROPS. FOPS act as a canopy or roof and keep the operator safe from falling objects or debris while also shielding them from weather and sun.
Homemade ROPS are strongly discouraged, as they do not fulfill standard regulations for protection and can result in an even more serious situation. If your equipment does not have ROPS, retrofit kits are available to be installed by professionals. These kits generally include a seatbelt for extra safety. If your vehicle does have ROPS, modifications to the structure, such as welding or cutting, are not recommended, as they may damage its integrity and effectiveness. ROPS are certified by regulatory entities such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), among others, who oversee and test security, resistance, performance, materials, and other product characteristics.
Risks of a rollover
Even though ROPS prevalence is increasing in the US, rollovers accidents remain the leading cause of fatalities and serious injuries within the agricultural sector. Estimates show that around 96 people die every year due to side and rear overturns, noting that 80% of these accidents happen to experienced farmers. Some of the most common injuries sustained during a rollover situation are various degrees of brain injuries due to impact, spinal and crushing injuries associated with vehicles falling on top of operators, electrocutions, burns, cuts, lacerations, bruising and broken bones.
Handling a tractor is not the same as maneuvering a regular vehicle. Its base of stability and center of gravity differ from a passenger car, depending on model, weight, and dimensions. They include features that have been specifically designed to prevent rollovers but driving defensively and responsibly, following load limitations and balancing requirements, can save time, money, pain, and, above all, human lives.
What is being done today?
As mentioned before, ROPS are becoming more common for agricultural machinery. However, as old models continue to be present on the fields, the risk of a rollover accident with fatal consequences remains an issue, adding to the high number of associated annual deaths. With this in mind, organizations such as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are pushing initiatives such as CROPS (Cost-effective Rollover Protective Structures). CROPS aims to increase the use and availability of ROPS systems, especially for older equipment for which ROPS models are unavailable, allowing farmers to equip their tractors with built-on ROPS and seat belts at a lower cost.
Other retrofitting incentives, educational programs, and social marketing initiatives organized by groups and institutions are shedding light on the dangers of overturning accidents and helping farmers access and install ROPS into their equipment through rebates for purchasing, shipping, and installing ROPS kits.
VISCOSITY’s part

Security and protection are vital in all workplaces, and the agricultural industry is no exception. At VISCOSITY Oil, we care for our employees and collaborators by adhering to our HSE policies and internal safety practices. For our products, we have worked tirelessly for 130 years to provide solutions that keep equipment on the move with excellent protection by formulating products that exceed industry standards and fulfill heavy-duty requirements for optimal performance. These are VISCOSITY’s contributions to keeping vehicle operators and equipment safe, but the rest is up to you! Follow your manufacturer’s advice on when and how to tend to your equipment both inside and out, and make sure you adhere to industry recommendations so you can keep working safely in fluid motion.

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Know our People: David Journeault

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Know our People: David Journeault

We build the business proposition value with our brand.

I grew up in Quebec, the French part of Canada, and I’ve been living and working here almost all my life. I’ve been a Territory Manager for VISCOSITY for six years; during the first two years, I was the only TM for Canada, but then around 2019, I began mainly covering the eastern part, particularly Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes.

I found the company online when searching for a job position in the summer of 2016. I had previously worked in other lubricant and oil companies, so I knew the business. VISCOSITY made me an offer after a face-to-face interview at Montreal in October that year with the company’s CEO and my fellow TM Matt Pflieger—now covering Western Canada—and I gladly accepted.

At the beginning of my career here at VISCOSITY, my responsibilities were different; we provided product information and industry training to our OEM clients, building strategies to grow their business. Now my role is more direct. Besides providing our clients the same informative support and helping with their business strategy, I focus on specific accounts—whether existing or new ones I take the initiative to contact myself—, to look further into their oil requirements and provide recommendations for their particular equipment models. The bond with our partners is different, but I’ve maintained excellent relationships with dealers and still have great reception from them. They are not limited with our solutions: we can provide products that go with many different types of machinery, so that’s the kind of meeting I’m having with them now and will continue having in the future. After all, we build the business proposition value with our brand. Implementing the current structure and the new way of doing things takes time, but our value product package now covers more ground.
Traveling has been part of my life for about 21 years and has become my daily routine. I move around on my own, driving primarily in Quebec and flying to Ontario. COVID made it very challenging; every province is different, so I had to adjust and adapt my schedule depending on the particular policies. Travel restrictions had also kept me from traveling to the US for face-to-face meetings. Regardless of the situation, we have weekly meetings with the team, and I’m always able to reach out to other TMs on the phone if I need some information or discuss something with them.
I have a small family. I have a younger sister, and I’m very close with my parents, so I keep in contact with them every day. I have two sons, ages 12 and 14, who are fascinated by technology and construction. One is more into animals, though, and is looking forward to becoming a veterinarian; my second son leans more into construction.
When it comes to hobbies, I’ve done a little bit of construction; I work on some small projects every once in a while. I’m very keen on mechanics, and I worked as a diesel mechanic when I was younger. When I started at VISCOSITY, I participated in some combined clinics in Saskatchewan, Alberta, because I wanted to understand how a combine works, its performance, and its issues. I’m now focusing on electric cars and understanding more about the technology and the type of lubricants they’ll be needing to function correctly, especially around cooling devices for batteries, gear oil for the transmission, and grease for generators and bearings. I’m also passionate about motorcycles; I used to own some motocross, and I also own a Harley Davidson. I’m rebuilding old bikes from the ’70s, so I put them apart and then put them back together, repaint them, and deal with the engine and the transmission. Learning about how they work and reading up on them is very interesting to me. I always want to learn more when it comes to mechanics.

David Journeault has been part of the VISCOSITY Oil Family as a Territory Manager for Canada for six years. As a French speaker, David fulfills the role of mediator and translator when the rest of the team visits Canada. His knowledge and language skills are a tremendous help to get information to dealers that fit their language and needs, providing excellent service to all his clients.

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Power Take-Off: Keeping Operations Moving Means Keeping Everyone Safe

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Power Take-Off: Keeping Operations Moving Means Keeping Everyone Safe

Adding implements to agricultural machinery is an affordable way of utilizing existing assets
rather than purchasing a new one for a single purpose. Tractors are fitted with various tools, such as
loaders, blades, balers, and box rakers, among the many choices available. However, some add-ins do not
have an engine to function. So, how can they be powered?

Power take-offs, also known as PTOs, are necessary to transfer mechanical power from the engine
to the implement. PTO shafts can be directly connected to the transmission and require releasing the
tractor clutch to begin functioning. They can also work using a two stage-clutch, by pressing halfway to
disengage the transmission and fully to disengage both the transmission and the PTO, or independently
through a separate clutch. Its main components are usually an internal and external yoke, a universal
joint, a safety chain, and a safety shield. Measurements vary, so purchasing the right one for your
equipment is crucial to optimal performance and proper attachment.

Speed and dimensions are standard for PTOs based on ISO regulations. PTOs rotate per the
tractor’s engine speed, moving between 540 and 1000 rpm; some newer models move at an even higher
rate, in tune with the equipment’s horsepower. This increased rotation speed can ensure proper
functioning, but it can also become a dangerous hazard risk for the user.

The Dangers of Entanglement

PTOs are an effective tool that allows the equipment to perform multiple functions with minimal
intervention. However, they can also become a dangerous safety hazard if not handled properly, causing
severe injuries, amputations, and fatalities. Improper, ineffective, or absent shielding or protection
around the PTO significantly increases the risk of entanglement, exposing users to a piece of equipment
that can be engaged and rotating at a dangerously high speed.

Most hazard cases are attributed to hair, clothing, and limbs being caught by the spinning
mechanism. As a result, one of the main safety precautions any farmer or operator must take is to avoid
loose hair or clothing when working around equipment with a PTO attached, even when the tractor has
been turned off. The speed at which the PTO rotates leaves almost no reaction time, so making sure the
mechanism has been fully disengaged is vital to avoid accidents.

Accidents can also occur when shafts become disconnected from the tractor while the PTO is
engaged and rotating. This situation can occur when the shaft has not been securely hitched, or some
parts become uncoupled or break. The result is a piece of heavy metal being swung and breaking apart
from the connecting base, ejected at high velocity. The loose part can either impact the equipment
operator directly or anyone in the vicinity.

The importance of PTO maintenance

PTOs are often overlooked during maintenance and are usually considered after internal and
engine components. This is a grave mistake, one that, as we have noted before, can cause irreparable
damage to the equipment and to operators. Thus, following the manufacturer’s recommendations is
essential to establish a correct PTO maintenance schedule according to horsepower, usage, and model
dimensions

A regular visual check can make a difference, especially when the PTO has just been fitted. The
device must be securely installed and adequately bolted, with the correct backlash between transmission
and PTO. Making sure there are no leaks or signs of wear, alongside a physical revision after certain usage
hours, can significantly impact risk prevention and performance assessment based on power
requirements.

Premature bearing wear is one of the leading causes for short functionality periods for PTOs,
generally associated with improper lubrication and excessive belt tension. Therefore, operators and
workers must know and work around the most appropriate tension depending on the equipment model
and conduct regular greasing, considering its daily strain and use to adjust if necessary. Additionally, a
more thorough, long-term maintenance plan is crucial to ensure its performance and safety. Maintenance
intervals for PTOs can be determined following the respective OEM recommendations and conducted
along with regular engine and transmission schedules for a more comprehensive and complete
assessment.

Aside from the proper maintenance, quality products can positively impact vehicle performance,
allowing you to work safely, with strong and reliable solutions formulated to protect your equipment. Our
Tutela® line of greases has been specially designed to withstand high temperatures and provide thermal
stability, protecting the PTOs against friction, overheating, and wear. These features will help increase
performance and, most importantly, reduce the risk of downtime and accidents due to material
exhaustion, ensuring production stream and a safe working environment for everyone involved.

You can learn more about Tutela ® Greases and our extensive line of specialized solutions by
visiting your products section, or you can ask your local dealer for our portfolio. Contact us and keep
moving forward with the expert formulations we have designed for you! Work safe and get the best
protection with VISCOSITY Oil.

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Spindles: a cotton-picking essential

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Spindles: a cotton-picking essential

The cotton-picking industry is one of the most important economic activities in the
US today, with the country being the third-largest exporter of cotton after India and China.
It is a tricky crop to harvest; production heavily relies on climate, water, and pest control,
with a maturity period of around 160 days on average, depending on location.

Nowadays, there are two basic options for harvesting equipment: cotton pickers
and cotton strippers. Both are designed to fulfill the same function, but the operation
method and picking results differ. Cotton strippers are primarily used in areas where
repetitive picking is nearly impossible, allowing only a single harvest, primarily due to
weather conditions. The stripper pulls the entire boll out or cuts it close to the ground,
taking the cotton, the stalk, and any debris, even if it’s still closed and not ready for
harvest. Later, a different machine will separate the cotton from the other materials.

Pickers are the most common, allowing for multiple harvests as the bolls begin to
mature. The equipment will enable farmers to harvest only the opened bolls through
moisturized prongs or barbed spindles rotating at high speed; later, the cotton is removed
by a counter-rotating doffer and then blown into a basket that collects it for baling. This
method is softer and less invasive, picking up between 95% and 98% of the total field
production.

The Picker Spindle Road

The cotton industry had its initial expansion in early 1800, becoming the most
prominent export. This growth happened partially due to slave labor, which has
unfortunately become synonymous with the activity even to this day.

Due to the American Civil War, significant technological advances for cotton
equipment arrived late. With the help of his brother Mack, John Rust is credited with
developing the first models of a mechanized cotton picker in the early 1930s. Even though
Rust machines did fulfill their purpose, they were expensive and deficient. Adding to the
already tough market, industry developments were delayed due to World War II, which
shuffled manufacturing processes towards war efforts.

After the War ended, companies began to center their attention on the fields again,
developing better, mechanized picking systems often based on the Rust’s models.
Improvements aimed to pick the fibers better and reduce clogging, although the number
of cotton rows to pick often amounted to one at the time. As positive as this development
may sound, the mechanization of agricultural operations is often cited as one of the
causes of the Second Great Migration, which forced hundreds of workers to move to
urban areas to seek employment and better conditions.

After the 1950s and into the 1980s, the commercialization of mechanized pickers
started to gain greater traction, with models that incorporated better shapes and more
functional tools, adding steel frames and more efficient row systems. Later improvements
and better technology have turned the equipment into the practical piece of machinery
that is today

Keeping the Spindle Rolling

As the cleanest and most efficient method, picker spindles are essential pieces of
equipment that must be kept in optimal condition to perform well. They are complex and
require training and skill to be properly operated and maintained. Spindles are prone to
wear and rust, and they can lose sharpness with use, impacting other parts of the system.
They must be sharp, clean, and correctly assembled for optimal operations and to reduce
the risk of damage. It is crucial to inspect the equipment thoroughly, verifying the row unit
tilt, and adjust if necessary. Doffers and moistening systems must be adjusted and
checked for wear and debris, and plant lifters should be operating at the right level for
guidance. Follow the manufacturer’s manual and professional expert advice to perform
preventative maintenance and repairs to the equipment.

VISCOSITY Oil has been developing optimal formulations for over 125 years,
adapting to the industry as mechanical and technological advances keep changing the
agricultural industry dynamic. We have designed a specialized product to help cotton-picking operations, adding protection, and keeping parts clean for optimal performance.
TUTELA® Spindle Cleaner keeps your picker safe against wear, debris, residues, and
contaminants that may hinder its functionality, reducing wrapping, and staining. Avoid
rust, corrosion and keep your equipment clean for the best operation during the cotton
harvest season. Browse our line of products and continue working in fluid motion with
VISCOSITY Oil, formulated for ALL.

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Hydraulics: The Science that Keeps Equipment in Motion

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Hydraulics: The Science that Keeps Equipment in Motion

Innovation and technology are often thought of as modern ideas associated with
concepts such as robotics, genetics, and information technology, to name a few.
However, innovative ideas and advancements have been occurring since the beginning
of human civilization. We have assimilated the great inventions of old into our daily lives
and routines without even noticing, and this is also the case with hydraulics.

Derived from the Greek hydraulikos (water organ), hydraulics has played a
significant role in the technological advances that have allowed us to do more with much
less effort. Irrigation, aqueducts, and turbines were all built following the principles of fluid
mechanics. In practice, hydraulic motion aligns with Pascal’s Law, which states that when
applying pressure to an incompressible fluid within a confined space, said pressure would
distribute evenly in all directions. In mechanical equipment, this pressure can be applied
by a piston exerting compression over oil contained within a cylinder; this force will
multiply and affect a receiving object, like a secondary piston, even if it is heavier or larger
in size.

How does hydraulics work?

Equipment in the days of the Industrial Revolution was mostly powered by steam,
which had its highest peak around the construction and operation of the railroad. Hybrid
solutions began to emerge soon after, integrating cable hydraulics to steam engines to
enhance efficiency. Innovators such as William Armstrong with the hydraulic accumulator
and Harry Franklin Vickers with the first hydraulic steering system, pushed the advances
that shaped the industry, allowing operators to perform more precise and heavy
workloads with minimal effort in lesser timeframes.

The mathematical equation to explain the force resulting from a hydraulic process
follows the aforementioned Pascal’s Law, in which force equals pressure PSI (pounds
per square inch) times the area. Using this formula, advancements in electronics and
horsepower management have increased the level of precision for heavy equipment.
However, the primary operating mechanism follows a relatively standard chain of motions,
allowing the equipment to receive constant power flow and, as a result, perform the
functional end for which it was built.

The main components of any hydraulic system are the reservoir, where the fluid is
contained; pumps (piston, gear, or vane pumps), electric motor, actuators (such as
hydraulic cylinders or motors), filters, valves, and hoses. An electric motor powers a small
master pump during the process, which pushes a minimal amount of fluid within a
reservoir and compresses it. This applied pressure moves the liquid through a control
valve with sufficient speed to affect a secondary larger pump within an actuator. This
allows for a resulting amplified force capable of moving, lifting, and carrying heavier loads.

One very easy way of exemplifying how hydraulics work is to take two syringes,
one of which is filled with water, connected by the end through a small hose. When
pushing the plunger of the one containing liquid, water will flow at a high speed through
the hose into the second empty syringe, filling it with enough force to push its plunger out.
Once this second syringe has been filled with water, pushing the plunger again will
pressure water back into the first syringe with the same effect.

Why is it essential for the Construction and Agricultural Industries?

Today hydraulics continue to power heavy-duty equipment in increasingly
sophisticated ways, from a simple break mechanism to powerlifting, and play a
fundamental role in many industrial processes at varying degrees of complexity and
strength. Their impact on agriculture and construction has been significant in reducing
manual power requirements, injuries, costs, and downtime, increasing effectiveness for
better results. Hydraulic equipment is reliable and can be controlled by an operator
through a joystick for ease of use. As such, excavator, trenchers, dozers, cranes, loaders,
tractors, sprayers, irrigation systems, balers, and many others still operate under these
mechanisms, which require proper maintenance to ensure their integrity and avoid
malfunctions that could impact production and safety. We have mentioned before about
the importance of maintenance for agriculture operations, and the same applies to
construction equipment that is exposed to extreme working conditions. Hydraulic systems
must be clean, unobstructed, and properly maintained so the work requirements are
fulfilled.

Our TUTELA® Hydraulic Fluids are some of the many solutions VISCOSITY Oil has to
offer. Tutela provides the necessary protection against temperature, varnish, wear, and
sludge, allowing the pieces of the hydraulic system to operate at optimal conditions.
The TUTELA® PREMIUM 46HVXtra Duty and the ISO 3246 & 68 formulations have been
designed to enhance durability and prevent corrosion and cavitation, with industry-level
sheer stability. Learn more about our Tutela Hydraulic Fluids and all our solutions in our
product page and continue working in fluid motion with VISCOSITY Oil, experts in heavy-duty
equipment protection for over 125 years. 

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3.--Blog-Front

Family Farms: The Core of the American Economy

3.-Blog Internal

Family Farms: The Core of the American Economy

There are over 2 million farms in the US and about 96% of them have one key thing in common:
they are owned by families.

According to the 2017 Census on Agriculture released by the National Agricultural Statistics
Service of the US Department of Agriculture, 88% of these family farms are small, and their gross cash
farm income (GCFI) is under $350,000. Most small farms are in the South and New England states, while
mid and large-scale family farms can be found in the Midwest and the Northern Plain states. In most cases,
farming is these families’ primary occupation, meaning it is also their main source of income; however,
many require off-field salaries to sustain their business

After the Homestead Act of 1862 was signed by President Lincoln, lands were provided for new
settlers to exploit and work. Even though speculation and misuse of these lands soon became an issue,
the Act, although no longer in effect, set the basis for the rise of small family-owned farms. They
eventually grew in size and importance as agriculture became increasingly industrialized during the 20th
century. Today’s new technological advancements have altered the way family farm owners invest and
manage their lands, allowing them to optimize their processes and deliver better products to the general
population.

Stepping up to the challenges

American farms remain at the heart of the country’s economy. They are a vital market that,
although challenged by massive competitors, remains an important cornerstone to what the nation
represents. Many values are synonyms to farm labor – hard work, patience, persistence –, but one must
never make the mistake of glamorizing the daily struggles that farm owners experience. The reality is,
family farms are constantly tested due to events at the local, national and global level. Influencing factors
range from the climate to international crises, all unintentionally cascading into an immediate or long-term
concern, creating complex situations that stall production, influence markets and highlight the
delicate state some small farms are in.

However, one thing is for certain: family farms continue fighting. They have adapted to the
challenges over the last century, which have been rapid and sudden in many cases. Things people were
accustomed to fifty years ago are quite different from today’s reality, not just regarding societal issues,
but especially around areas such as sustainability and technology. Climate change and global policies have
shifted the perspective on how we can exploit and utilize our natural resources, serving as an impetus to
develop better solutions and innovations that, although aimed to improve quality of life, can sometimes
be expensive or downright alien to many who have kept working in a more traditional form. This, however,
should not be a detriment to anyone; these new tools are there to benefit the many family businesses
that continue moving forward.

A healthier choice in every regard

Numbers can show a lot, but they cannot portray what goes on behind the scenes. At the end of
the day, statistics and data show us just a minimal part of what running a small business means, and fail
to demonstrate the nuances, struggles, and success stories that occur in the fields across the US. Family
farms are a true example of hard work and remind us of that rewarding feeling you get from a job well
done and the importance of community. They are the centerpiece of our economy; a stable agricultural
industry makes for a stable nationwide economy. However, small and mid-size family farms still require
better markets to become competitive not only at the local level but also at a regional and state levels,
depending on their production size. This growth is beneficial for all, as it pushes local exchange and
movement at a larger scale, creating revenue for the business itself and the community, while also
becoming a source of new jobs.

Increasing the quality of our food systems is also something that family farms do, an aspect that
is sometimes overlooked and directly impacts the way we purchase our produce, dairy, and meats. Large-scale
industrial production has taken over the food market, relegating family farms as a secondary source.
This issue is not only associated with the economics of supply and demand but most importantly with our
health; the chemical intervention to many products, although meant to improve their quality and
durability, still makes for a non-natural source of nutrients. Conversely, the minimal to no alterations to
food grown within a small or medium-size farm becomes a healthier choice based on organic production
and sustainable practices.

There is much to do around policies, budgeting, and resources allocation. However, the best thing
we can do as consumers to support these businesses to continue to provide the products we put on our
tables is through our own purchasing power. Choosing local produce, visiting fairs, recommending,
sharing, all create the visibility they need.

The VISCOSITY Road to the Future

Our commitment as VISCOSITY Oil will continue to be the development of better, more efficient
solutions that will impact production for the best. Our industry carries its challenges, but for over 125
years we have been able to continue working and adapting to keep providing our customers with the best
solutions for their agricultural equipment, regardless of model and external conditions. We have become
a trusted option, one that has found its niche in a field that requires a high degree of specialization,
dedication, and reliability. The partnerships we have developed through the years are just as important
as our products’ design, and this collaboration is key to achieve a deeper understanding of what our
consumers need and demand from us as we keep working in fluid motion together.

Support your local family farms and businesses and keep building the strong communities that are
the pillars of our country. Browse our products section to find the best choice for your equipment, and
remember to ask our team about our Everlub SOLUTIONS so you can continue running your operations in
fluid motion with the best quality formulations and tools. Ask your local dealer for our portfolio or contact
us directly to keep moving fast, fluid, and forward with us.

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2.--Blog-Front

Know our people

2.-Blog-internal
MICHELLE TICZKUS

“Understanding how other departments work has made us aware of how we impact each other”

I’ve been working at VISCOSITY since I graduated high school 31 years ago. I started in the finance
department when I was 18, so this has been my big-girl job my whole life. I was an accounting clerk for two
years and then I moved up to Accounts Payable. In 1997, I transferred to the Operations Department,
which was around the same time my daughter was born, and I’ve been there ever since. In my current role
is as Planner, Operations and Lead Auditor. It’s a long title, and it has many different responsibilities

I work with my friend Eileen, with whom I split up the responsibilities of the toll blenders. We work
closely with them to ensure we have the inventory to cover the customer’s orders, so they can be fulfilled
and shipped without delay. For the most part, I handle those in Minnesota, and she has contact with the
ones in Pennsylvania and Texas; sometimes they are intermixed together. We are very cross-functional;
we have been working at the company for many years, so we can support each other and help other
departments if they need it. As a Lead Auditor, a role I was promoted to on July 2021, I’m in charge of
physical inventory to make sure everything is in order, as we own some products at the toll blenders.

Working from home due to the pandemic has been an adjustment at a professional level since most
of my work is office-based. It’s been a bit difficult sometimes, of course; everyone is a little backed up, and
our lead times are somewhat longer. We know this is happening around the world, but it is hard when a toll
blender tells me they have a shortage of materials because that means it will impact our customers . We
have to find a way to make it work. Fortunately, we have a great relationship with our customers and toll
blenders, so we have been able to adjust and keep the orders flowing, serving our customers as best as
possible without significant bumps in the road. I go to the office twice a month to do some administrative
tasks, but all of us at VISCOSITY keep in touch regardless, not just as coworkers but as friends.

Everything I know about the job I’ve learned thanks to the great managers I’ve had through the
years, who’ve been really supportive and open, even though there were many things I was just starting to
pick up. As I left the Accounting Department under the great guidance of my manager (she still guides me
to this day!), I moved to Operations. I had a manager who was a very hands-on type of person. He wanted
us to think for ourselves, so we wouldn’t need to go to him every time we had a question or something had
to be done. He was constantly challenging us, giving us tests to see if we understood what we were doing.
At the time, we wondered why he was doing that but, looking back, we realized just how important and
helpful that guidance was. Understanding how other departments work has made us aware of how we
impact each other, especially since we are a relatively small company. My current manager keeps the
team on track. His guidance and leadership are helping the team move in the right direction.

Working at VISCOSITY has been a joy to me. The company is family-oriented; I have two kids,
Christina– who is a 24-year-old medical assistant, wife and mom of one–, and Joe— now 21 and a senior
at Illinois State University–, who literally grew up here. If they were sick or had a half-day from school, they
simply came to work with me. I see friends who don’t have that where they work, and I compare them to
my situation, where my kids were always accommodated. The company has always been very flexible with
family situations, and I’ve always been thankful for that. Many of the people I’ve worked with are still very
much like family to me and we know we have each other’s back and we can count on one another.

The mentality here is “everything within these four walls is your job”, so we help each other out, no
matter if it’s a simple question or a big task. That fosters learning, trust, and the strong relationships we
keep today. Regardless of the many changes that have occurred during these past few years, the
VISCOSITY team has always been able to pull through.

Even though her initial plan after graduation was to become a preschool teacher, Michelle decided
to give VISCOSITY a try and stayed at the company full-time. After 31 years, she is still a valuable part of
the VISCOSITY family and has developed her career through training and experience. Michelle spends
time at home with her husband and two dogs. She loves when her son is home from school and her
daughter visits, especially because she gets to see her soon-to-be two-year-old granddaughter Valentina.
Alongside her sister Kim—who is also part of the VISCOSITY Oil Family! –, she also enjoys taking care of
her senior family members — aka “the seniors” –, fostering strong, lasting bonds not only with her relatives
and friends, but with her VISCOSITY family as well.

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1.-Blog-Front

Unfolding Synthetic and Conventional Lubricants

Blog-Internal

Farming equipment undergoes various field conditions, from driving through dusty and rocky roads to performing in wet and extremely hot or cold temperatures. It is also frequently exposed to fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals; if the proper protection is not guaranteed, this exposure can harm the farming equipment components and eventually cause breakage. Considering the potential damage and associated costs this entails, lubrication plays a fundamental role in protecting and guarding your machinery against various failures linked to corrosion, wear, oxidation, and deposit control, among others.

Experience has taught us that there is a lot to unfold when determining the type of oil best suited for your engine. Your first intuition might have been that any oil of a certain weight would do, or perhaps you are someone who believes that price equals quality, so you play it safe and get the most expensive one on the shelf. The truth is, choosing the best oil for your engine can be tricky if you don’t have all the information. We have decided to give you a run-down on the difference between conventional and synthetic lubricants to help you avoid downtime and expensive repairs linked to lubricant misuse.

Conventional and Synthetic: what’s the difference?
Conventional Lubricants

Conventional lubricants are made with what is commonly referred to as mineral base oils, which come directly from a natural source, namely crude petroleum. Producing mineral oil is more straightforward than the process required to create synthetic, thus making the end product cheaper and more accessible than its synthetic counterparts. This process mainly consists of removing natural contaminants and impurities from the vacuum gas oil feed, which are harmful to the lubricant’s performance.

Overall, these oils perform effectively under normal conditions — those which are not too extreme in terms of temperature or field quality — and are compatible with all vehicles. For optimal performance, it is crucial to follow the manufacturers’ recommendations and make timely changes to the conventional lubricant you use on your equipment.

Synthetic Lubricants

Synthetic oils are highly refined petroleum-based lubricants that have been specially synthesized to balance their molecular composition. With a more stable chemical structure than the more diverse one found in mineral oils, these synthetic base oils provide improved performance under extremely low or high temperatures while flowing more freely than mineral oils.

Some of the benefits of using these lubricants include maximizing and improving engine efficiency — resulting in fuel savings — and extending the overall durability of the engine and providing enhanced protection against deposits. However great the benefits may be, they come with a price tag. To tackle the cost, you can choose between fully synthetic, which tends to be pricier, and semi-synthetic, which mixes mineral and synthetic oils to reduce costs while still offering some of the benefits of using fully synthetic

The VISCOSITY Oil Solution

With over 125 years of experience developing products for all manufacturer brands and exceeding industry standards, VISCOSITY Oil offers top quality engine oils to ensure your off-road farming equipment delivers the performance and production you need.

Its UNITEK line offers a series of conventional, semi-synthetic, and synthetic oils purposefully designed and rigorously tested in the field. All products are formulated with highly refined based oils and high shear stability viscosity modifiers. Here, we present three products for each need:

High-performance conventional oil formulated to provide enhanced thermal and oxidation stability, offering outstanding protection for low-emission engines. It also neutralizes corrosive acids, offers film resistance, and good dispersion of soot and deposit control.

High-performance, low-emission, semi-synthetic oil formulated to provide enhanced fuel economy with low-temperature viscosity and protection under extreme mechanical stress. This engine oil also fights against high concentration of soot build-up, providing excellent wear protection for new and older engines.

High-performance, low emissions, semi-synthetic diesel oil, designed and formulated to provide optimal soot dispersion and deposit control. It also provides outstanding thermal and oxidation stability under extreme conditions and temperatures for extended protection and durability, neutralizing corrosive acids.

High-performance, low-emission, synthetic oil formulated to offer longer oil life and durability, providing excellent wear protection under extreme conditions of cold weather, and outstanding oxidation control, dispersion of soot, and deposit control.

In the end, choosing between a conventional, semi-synthetic, or synthetic oil will depend on your budget and the field conditions in which you are operating. Before deciding on your purchase, however, you should always check and follow the recommendations of your equipment’s manufacturer to assess oil change frequency and lubricant requirements.

Browse our product section to find more details on and other premium quality solutions for your equipment! Contact us and see the many options we have so you can continue keeping work in fluid motion.

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