Jan Trocki, ATIEL Technical Council chairman, presented two papers during the 5th Asia-Pacific Base Oil Conference and 17th Fuels and Lubricants Conference, held in Singapore in March 2011.
In his presentations he outlined the role of the European Engine Lubricants Quality Management System (EELQMS) and ATIEL Code of Practice in maintaining the quality of engine lubricants and the credibility of performance claims made for them.
It is the first time that ATIEL has been represented at a major Asian industry conference. "Our participation in this conference was an opportunity to promote the value of the ATIEL Code of Practice to Asian lubricant formulators and marketers, and to highlight its key role in providing quality assurance for both OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and consumers." says Jan.
"There are an increasing number of vehicles being exported to Asia by European (ACEA) manufacturers, requiring wider availability of appropriate, high-quality lubricants. While many lubricants in the region, and particularly in the aftermarket, claim to meet ACEA standards, there is little evidence of adherence to the EELQMS or conformance with the ATIEL Code of Practice."
Only lubricants produced in accordance with the ATIEL Code of Practice, a fundamental part of the EELQMS, can legitimately claim to meet the performance requirements of ACEA's specification sequences.
He believes the issue is less about lubricant quality or misleading marketing, and more about lack of awareness. "In many cases formulators may have met the lubricant quality standards but have not followed the processes outlined in the Code of Practice that provide the necessary auditable assurance."
Increasingly, Asian formulators have adopted American Petroleum Institute (API) specifications in the absence of a region-wide quality system, but these don't cover all applications, including light-duty diesel engines, and may not always be fully aligned with ACEA requirements. Light-duty diesel engines are now common in Europe and likely to be fitted in an increasing proportion of vehicles exported to Asia.
Jan sees no technical reasons why Asian formulators and marketers targeting the ACEA market could not fulfill obligations under the ATIEL Code of Practice. "We need to continue our engagement in the region in order to increase awareness and understanding of its role and importance in maintaining the credibility of lubricant performance claims," he says.
"Our participation in this conference provided a great forum to reach a wide cross-industry audience, and to encourage more lubricant marketers to become signatories to the ATIEL Code of Practice."
Download Jan Trocki's presentations:
The EELQMS was established in 1996 through the collaboration of European vehicle manufacturers, engine test developers, and lubricant and additive suppliers, to maintain quality standards in lubricant development and testing. It covers the processes used in formulating, blending and testing lubricants, and the systems used for reporting and auditing performance claims.
The ATIEL Code of Practice is at the core of the EELQMS and accepted industry-wide as best practice for the development and manufacture of engine oils that conform to ACEA's specifications. It is a voluntary code that requires signatories to sign letters of conformance as declarations that they are following the development, blending, testing and auditing processes prescribed by the code and the EELQMS.
Some 80 companies marketing lubricants that meet ACEA specifications have signed letters of conformance to the ATIEL Code of Practice, including most of the leading multi-national oil companies.