Published:  12:34 AM, 13 June 2018

Lubricating oil market trends and challenges for Bangladesh

Lubricating oil market trends and challenges for Bangladesh

Engine oils are made as per standard specification for particular uses. It is mentioned that specification does not indicate the performance of oil. There are many engine oils that's are poor quality under the same standard specification and put on the market for reasons of ignorance or greed of business.

Unfortunately, good quality and poor quality engine oils both lookslike same in physical sight. It is very difficult to justify the quality of oil at sight or without reliable information or practical uses.

The automobile makers are recommended engine oil based on minimum performing level to top performing oil or set by specification/viscosity grade. It is very difficult for owners to choose good performing oil from specification or viscosity grade because different lube oil blenders makes oil from secret formulation.

The performance of oil also vary based on formulation and know-how experiences. On the other hand, the automotive and heavy duty diesel industries are going through a period of rapid change. The key trends and challenges in lubricant formulations are these main factors such as emission regulations, extended ODI (Oil Drain Intervals) andfuel economy.

Emission regulations vary with OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) but involve with combination of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), without or with external cooling, diesel particulate filter (DPF), selective catalyst reduction (SCR), caterpillar use proprietary ACERT TM system.

Different approaches lead to specific lubricants needs.However certain trends are common to most diesel powered engines such as engine lubricants, higher soot loading in the oil due to EGR, restrictions on SAPS (Sulphated Ash, Phosphorus and Sulphur) to protect after-treatment devices.Soot from Cooled EGR engines is unresponsive to conventional dispersantsadditives but itis required new technologically advanced additives.

Phosphorus is fully cognizant of the impact of on catalyst efficiency in gasoline powered vehicles.Sulphur is largely eliminated from diesel fuel in developed markets but we arestill using 0.5%wt sulphur in diesel oil. The widespread use of Group II and III base stocks, focus on sulphur content is now on the additive systems.

Metal detergents or TBN are metallic salts of organic materials such as sulphonate, phenate and salicylate - Some also contain metallic carbonate core to impart basicity oracid neutralization, the common metals are calcium and magnesium used a complex.

Detergents play an important role in providing essential piston cleanliness and acid neutralization capability.Correct choice of TBN additives plays animportant role in reducing ash and sulphur.There are around 60 % of engine oilsmarket in Bangladesh are poor quality oil which contain non-standard metallic detergent or no additive.

Extended drain oils have broad appeal to optimum use of natural resources, cost of ownership - reduced downtime for fleet operators, reduced cost of disposal and reduce environmental impact.A good quality oil can only do this benefits.

Extended ODI Oils are formulated with certain viscosity modifiers (VM) or polymer. A variety of polymer types are used commercially, each having a different balance in cost-performance characteristics.

There are hundreds of non-standard engine oils are available in our market those are claiming high ODI oil but its uses poor quality additive packages. In this case, extending the time between oil changes can dramatically increase the risk of lubrication failure.

Fuel efficiency (FE) has been an important consideration for the vehicle manufactures for escalating fuel costs in the automotive as well as the heavy duty diesel engine industry.

Large share of the fuel economy gains will accrue from innovations in engine/hardware designs. However, lubricants can also play an important role in minimizing energy losses in the engine by reducing friction. In general, only 12 percent of fuel is used to drive a car's (see picture). We can save around 6 percent frictional losses from FE oils.

Lower viscosity or thinner oils have been created to meet demand, moving over a short period of time from 20W-50 and 15W-40 to 10W-40 and 5W-30 - and now into the 0W category.

Most of Japan cars manufactures already approved 0W-20 oils for gasoline engine and5W-30, 5W-40, 15W-40for Heavy Duty (HD) diesel engines.Further reductions in viscosity will need careful attention both from engine designers and oil formulators.

Toyota Prius C service manual says recommended oil viscosity 0W-20.Most of the manufacturers recommend using synthetic oil with a thickness range of 0W-20/5W-20 for hybrid cars. On the other hand, traditional cars are running with 5W-30/10W-30/0W-40/5W-40/20W-50viscosity grade depends on operating temperature range.

Challenges for Bangladesh: There are around 3.4 million registered vehicles (BRTA/March 2018), around 63 percent of them are traditional old models which support high viscous oil only.

The new modified design/hybrid cars are starting to import since early 2015, which is now around 68 percent of total vehicles import;engine oil recommends in viscosity range such as 0W-20/5W-20/5W-30/10W-30.In traditional engine recommends5W-30/10W-30/0W-40/5W-40/15W-40/20W-50. However,Engine oilselection is based on ambient temperature.

Be careful!Before using lighter viscosity oil such as 0W-20 in your car although it is recommended by maker, considering running ambient and fuel condition in Bangladesh. High ambient heat or a defective cooler can drive down viscosity suddenly.

In this case, there is a big chance of lubrication failure for lighter oil.On the other hand, contaminant/adulterated fuelsare common in Bangladesh, fuel dilution, adulterated portion of fuel and chemical contamination (solvents, refrigerants, natural gas, coolant etc.)

can all result in a sudden drop in viscosity. In the case of natural and synthetic esters, water may disassemble the ester molecule to sharply reduce viscosity by a chemical reaction called hydrolysis, again concert for lighter oil.

Every hybrid powertrain configuration such as series, parallel and series-parallel -full synthetic motor oil provides exceptional performance and protection for all hybrids. It has to be carefully monitoring engine/oil running hours considering traffic.

Worst traffic in Dhaka, in recent statistic says vehicles moves normally 10-15km/hr and pick hours it goes down to 5-7km/hr. It is noticed that without speed, oil films are not producible.

This is why it's often said that each time you start your car or truck, you are causing mechanical wear equivalent to 500 miles of driving. Starts, stops, coast-downs, slow speeds and reverse-direction part movements are all oil film/viscosity starvation events.

Vehicle owners should be careful before choosing synthetic oils becauseso-called synthetic engine oils are flooded in the Bangladesh market.In case of lube purchasing, majority owner's takes advice from retail shop but in this case there is a big chances of miss appropriations.

Choosing the right oil not only depend on maker's recommendation but also depends on car type, car age and driving environment and fuel quality. The use of good quality fully synthetic / mineral oils can support efficiently and help to improve fuel economy by decreasing engine friction.

In Bangladesh, fuel adulteration and traffic cannot be managed over the night without proper plan of government but we can choose right oil form right place which can save million dollars.

The writer is Deputy General Manager, MJL Bangladesh Limited. He has more than 11 years' job experiences in petroleum downstream products (Lubricants) in industrial sector in Bangladesh.

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