Boss of the UK-based additives producer calls on the industry to remove specification complexity.
A brighter future for lubes? Image: Infineum
In a recent Insight paper posted on the independent producer's website and entitled Time for a time out, CEO Xavier le Mintier calls on the lubricants industry to take a look into the future and change its mindset towards creating more innovation and waste less time on unnecessarily complex specifications.
Mintier states, "To deliver against the challenges of tomorrow, we must change the current specification systems - and at this point incremental steps really won't be enough."
While recognising the need for complexity in the development and production of lubes and additives themselves, he argues that API, ACEA and ILSAC specs and specific OEM engine lube requirements have potentially created an over-weight, out-dated system.
He adds: "We are now applying 40+ year old processes to an environment that has completely changed. It is time to challenge whether the outcome of years of incremental change is truly delivering on current key stakeholder requirements, and delivering value to the end user. It is obvious to me that these specifications and the way they are developed is now becoming unwieldy and unfit for purpose and that the processes behind them need to be more efficient and effective, which is something we [the lubricants industry] should collectively work on."
He cites the drive towards greater fuel economy and reduced emissions, along with increased categories, tests and parameters as key contributors to the problem, evidenced by delays in an approving specifications such as ILSAC GF-6 and the now further split PC-11.
Mintier's solution? "A cross-industry committee comprising senior-level stakeholders in oil, OEM, additive and testing organisations from around the world. Its remit will be to step back and take a holistic view of the current systems, identify where harmful complexity can be removed, set a vision for what we need to achieve and make sure future actions and decisions are converging towards it." Naturally, Infineum is set to be the driving force behind this new mindset with Mintier leading the way to a less complex lubricants world.