By Tom Curtis
President, Lubrizol Additives
American Petroleum Institute. The primary oil and natural gas trade association in the United States. API operates a voluntary licensing and certification program that allows engine oil marketers to use the API Engine Oil Quality Marks if their products meet specific requirements. SN Plus, the critical supplement to International Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee. A collaboration between the American Automobile Manufacturers Association (AAMA), Chrysler, Ford, GM, and the Japanese Automotive Standards Organization. ILSAC GF- engine oil specifications target fuel economy, emission system protection, and enhanced engine oil robustness. GF-5, saw first license on May 1.
It is already an unprecedented response to a major engine issue facing everyday vehicles—and it’s a positive step. But one additional noteworthy first for this new spec supplement was the American Petroleum Institute’s (API’s) allowance for oil marketers to begin promoting these products prior to the May 1 first license date.
Oil marketers can, and should, take advantage of this opportunity. And as an industry, we should further investigate how and why the Low-Speed Pre-Ignition. Uncontrolled combustion that takes place in the combustion chamber prior to spark in gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines. and API SN Plus development process can shed light on new paths forward for the lubricant industry.
We’ve been clear about our desire to see change in the industry model—and LSPI can serve as an example. Consider the chain of events that led us to the current point:
- ILSAC GF-6 request is initiated in 2011.
- Initial first license date targeted for 2015.
- Development of seven brand-new engine tests causes delays; first licensing continually pushed back (presently anticipated in 2020).
- New engines continue to expose LSPI as a glaring problem that must be addressed; OEMs initiate emergency request for API SN Plus.
- API SN Plus approved, developed and licensed within a year.
And as of May 1, we have fully licensable lubricants that meet today’s demands. We also have the opportunity to market new products without having gone through a complete reformulation to comply with a completely new specification.
Imagine if the new specification process worked this way every time. If we decouple new necessary test development from the rigors of new spec development, we could take advantage of the opportunities to introduce new products and seize greater value far more frequently.
That’s the opportunity we have with LSPI performance today. And it’s an example of how we can seize greater value in our industry.
Our view: It’s time to get moving on delivering LSPI solutions, and it’s not appropriate to wait for ILSAC GF-6. The relevance of our industry depends on it. OEMs and drivers require these solutions today, not tomorrow.
And by taking advantage of newly available additive technology, oil marketers have the opportunity to differentiate. Don’t forget the importance of choosing a partner with a broad range of LSPI solutions for your evolving portfolio.