Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Development of Ultra-Pure Rotary Valve Oils

We have been thinking about new products at Ultra-Pure Oils for quite some time. Every now and then, we are asked if we make rotary valve oils. Ultra-Pure Professional Valve Oil works great on the rotor surface (a few drops down the slide tubing), but we did not have the thicker oil needed for the bearings (also called spindles) and the even thicker oil for the mechanical linkages.

Well, a few months ago, a very important customer asked us to develop these oils and we did quite a bit of research. We asked horn professionals and top brass technicians what they recommend. They all pretty much agreed that it takes three distinct oils to lubricate the rotary valves, and they all liked Ultra-Pure Professional Valve Oil as the rotor oil. They gave us the most valuable suggestions on how to oil these delicate valve mechanisms. This diagram, modified from the Paxman website gives a good overview.

Oiling Rotary Valves / Oiling Rotors



It also took us some time to find the best way to package these new oils! Rotary valve bearings and linkages have to be oiled in tiny spots, with only a few millimeters clearance. So you really need a needle tip or a very long plastic tip to do a good job. There are very few choices for needle oiler bottles, but we found a good source. We had to wait for samples and then had color choices to make. We turned to our friends on Facebook (what are friends for!) and asked for their suggestions. Red and Blue were the favorites! The company I worked with even made us a custom color of blue which we appreciated very much.

We had to design new labels and we even bought a label applicator machine to make things easier.
This cool manual label applicator is from easylabeler.com, and we highly recommend it. It is built to last and makes quick work of applying labels to round bottles. Our labels are completely oil-resistant and come from Lightning Labels.


Of course, the development of the actual oils was the primary challenge. At Ultra-Pure Oils, all our oils are synthetic, non-toxic and odorless, so these new oils also had to meet this requirement. Once we found the oil and tested it, we knew we had a winner (I'm not going to show the designed experiment with all the blends and trials, but they were extensive and took several weeks to complete).  I have a nice rotary trumpet from J. Scherzer but the valves tend to "freeze" after sitting in the case for 2-3 weeks. So  I cleaned the valves completely and applied the new oils. Three weeks later -- if I press the valve levers ever so lightly, I can feel the valves move absolutely freely and easily. No sticking! This never happened before with this horn! Players are going to love this stuff!


Finally, the products were all done. Bottles, labels, and oils arrived in bulk, and I had pre-orders to fill. You can find them now at our web store and on ebay!

Ultra-Pure Light Bearing Oil (for the top and bottom bearing or spindle) and Ultra-Pure Linkage, Lever & Key Oil for all the mechanical levers, linkages, ball joints, hinges, keys, triggers, etc. If your bearings are worn, use the heavier Linkage, Lever & Key Oil. And if the rotors are worn, use the Light Bearing Oil instead of Ultra-Pure Professional Valve Oil on the rotors.  Use the Linkage, Lever & Key Oil on all woodwind keys (use very sparingly on woodwinds).

The Light Bearing Oil also works great on "classic" cornets and trumpets where the valves are quite worn and leaky. This thicker oil is just perfect for sealing the space between the valve and the casing.

Welcome to the Ultra-Pure family, guys!


Visit our website at http://www.ultrapureoils.com/ and take a look around!

Update 2/23/2017:  Our bottles have changed a little over the past few years and now we use long plastic tips on the Light Bearing Oil and the Linkage, Lever & Key Oil.  Both these bottles now have child-safety caps to meet the strictest regulations for light oils.  The Ultra-Pure Professional Valve Oil label now says "for Pistons or Rotors".   We also upgraded our label equipment to an electric label applicator for much faster labeling (1200 bottles per hour).

Ultra-Pure Oils makes fine lubricants and accessories for musicians. Shop Ultra-Pure for trumpet valve oil, trombone slide oil or lube, tuning slide lube or grease, rotary valve oil, key oil, trumpet or trombone care kits, cork grease, microfiber polishing cloths and more!