View From the Bridge May 18

The drive to constantly improve is always a pleasing subject.  We have regularly noted in View from the Bridge that the lubricants industry has a critical role in assisting OEMs to achieve constant technical refinements; not just in vehicle engines and components, but across all engineering and manufacturing sectors - from marine to mining and food production.

While some of these developments are enforced by tightening regulations, many are simply a determination by lubricants and equipment manufacturers to create more efficient, durable and sustainable products.  Achieving this requires continually-evolving test processes and there has certainly been plenty on this subject in the news recently.

On the positive side, the US SN Plus roll-out and the start of the European ACEA sequence revisions will help give further clarity to lubes makers and their marketing divisions in the formulation and sale of new products.  However, when it comes to finalising the new ILSAC GF-6 standard, a desire for engineering rigour may put the spec even further behind schedule as lubes and OEM experts struggle to agree a fit-for-purpose replacement for the IVA test (part of the overall specification process).

Whatever the GF-6 outcome, it's evident that significant amounts of investment are being poured into improvements by both the lubes and auto industries - particularly when it comes to emissions reduction.  It was, therefore, puzzling to read the EPA's announcement of its relaxation of US vehicle CO2 standards for 2022-25 vehicle production.

The EPA's latest pronouncement would appear to be at odds with the global direction of travel in reducing emissions and appeared not even to have unanimous support from the car makers this repeal was aimed at.  However, it does seem to reflect the direction of the North American markets, after Ford's surprising news that it will stop selling all but two passenger cars in N. America in favour of SUVs and Trucks.

Finally, interesting statistics from UK motor industry trade body the SMMT revealed that over the past decade, vehicle sales to women has grown significantly, with female owners now making up one third of the nation's car owners.  In all some 1,500 different model ranges were also identified in the UK's increasingly diverse car parc.

The continual improvement in lubes specifications and increased number of vehicle models across the world means keeping up to date with lubricants specifications is a challenging task. Thankfully, OATS is constantly working to keep lubes producers and OEMs up-to-date with the latest changes.  So, to understand how OATS products and services could help your organisation, or to discuss any items in this our Bulletin, simply contact us via e-mail.

Peter van der Galiën and the OATS team.