In my latest blog article, Choose right engine oil to prolong the lifespan of your engine, I described the engine oil’s components, how to choose the right engine oil and how the engine oil improves the durability of your engine. In this follow-up article, I will describe oil upgrades, why they are done and how an upgraded engine oil can help improve an engine’s performance as well as reduce harmful exhaust emissions.
Improve the engine’s performance with an upgraded engine oil
In marine and industrial businesses, it is important to keep the production going and meet the strict emission legislation. To be able to live up to the tough requirements it is crucial to maintain and improve the performance of your engine. That means keeping all the engine’s components updated, including the oil.
Maintain the engine oil’s properties and viscosity
If an engine oil doesn’t live up to a certain standard, an upgrade or re-specification can be required. This improves the oil in many ways. An upgraded oil helps improve engine performance generally, as well as prolonging engine life through maintaining its qualities over a longer period of time. An oil upgrade can also be a good option if the oil loses its properties quickly such as changes viscosity, or if the additives in the oil are used up so the oil doesn’t protect the engine as it should. An upgraded oil can be an important factor for an engine to meet emission legislation. In addition, upgraded engine oils help to maintain the function and maintenance of the engine by keeping it clean and keeping fuel consumption at an optimal level.
New types of additives are added to achieve the wanted oil upgrade
When upgrading an oil, different amounts or new types of additives are added to give a product formulation that is designed to meet higher demands and requirements. It might be as simple as changing the amounts already used, or a redesign of the whole additive package to achieve the desired specification.
Volvo Penta’s process of upgrading an existing oil consists of several different stages, where each stage is depending on the result of the previous one. In the first stage, a specification is made of what result we want to achieve and how to get there. The next step is to have the additive suppliers work out what kind of mixture might give the properties we are looking for and then to prepare a package of additives. After receiving the additive package mixed in a fully-formulated lubricant we conduct thorough investigations on the end-result by testing the engine oil for thousands of hours in a large number of engines. There are a relatively small number of engine manufacturers that form the baseline performance tests for the lubricant industry, and Volvo Penta is one of them. This process, from idea to finished upgrade, can take between 6 and 10 years.
The most common reason for upgrading an oil is the environmental aspect. Therefore, we conduct upgrades whenever new emission legislation is released. The legislation contains rules about, for example, the release of particles like soot, gases or carbon dioxide from the engine exhaust, which can be reduced with an upgraded oil.
Volvo Penta releases the new upgraded engine oil VDS 4.5
In April, Volvo Penta is releasing a new upgraded engine oil. It is called VDS 4.5 and is an upgrade on the previous VDS 4 oil that was specifically designed for low emission engines. VDS 4.5 is intended to improve the durability of the oil so it maintains its properties for a longer period of time. There is a large demand for this upgrade from professionals working in both industrial and marine businesses.
Additives that are friendly towards the environment and the engine
The challenge of upgrading oil is to maintain a balance between adding additives that are friendly towards the environment but at the same time are good for the engine and its components. Sulphur, for example, can give good results for the engine performance, but does not live up to the requirements of emission legislation. To maintain the balance and find suitable additives, it is necessary to involve both the designers of the engine as well as the lubricant formulation.
Future lubricants will focus on low fuel consumption
The ongoing development towards a more environmental-friendly engine industry will affect what type of engine oil that will be applied to engines in the future. At Volvo Penta, we take part in the development of engine oils by continuously monitoring the performances of both our own engines as well as engines from other engine manufacturers. We are also looking into the possibilities of using online monitoring to learn how the equipment is used in order to improve the lubricants in the future. By combining data from oil analyses with information on how the engine has been operated we can improve both the design of the engine and the engine oil.
The next generation of engine oils will be something quite different. The main concentration in the future will focus on energy efficiency and low fuel consumption. The best way to achieve that is by reducing the engine oil’s viscosity, which will require a new type of engine design.
We care about your business and helping you maintain high uptime and keep costs down. Therefore, we have made engine oils our specialty in order for your engine and its components to be well taken care of.
This was the second and last part in my article series about engine oil. I hope you enjoyed reading the articles and that you learned something new about the subject. Feel free to visit our website or contact me if you have any questions. And don’t forget to like, comment and share the article in our social media channels.