API Invokes Provisional Licensing

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The American Petroleum Institute invoked provisional licensing for a key bench oxidation test for ILSAC GF-6 and API SP, along with additional current standards, citing a backlog of testing in advance of GF-6’s May 1 first-licensing date.

Announced in an April 1 news release, the provisional licensing invocation allows engine oils meeting other requirements to obtain approval for meeting the specifications in question without having to pass the (Romaszewski Oil Bench Oxidation) test.

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“API will grant a provisional license or licenses to an applicant if the candidate engine oil meets all API licensing requirements except for the Robo test,” API stated in the news release.

ASTM D7528 is the standard method for bench oxidation testing of engine oils by Robo apparatus, which is one of several bench tests for motor oils licensed for use in passenger cars. The test measures an oil’s ability to maintain low-temperature viscosity after aging. The method simulates the aging of oil samples then measures increases in kinematic and mini rotary viscosity to gauge the oil’s tendency to thicken because of volatilization and oxidation.

API’s statement does not mention any requirement for license applicants to provide evidence suggesting that their oil would have passed the Robo test. Provisional licensing declarations sometimes include such requirements. Last week’s declaration does state that companies obtaining provisional licenses will have six months to pass the Robo test once provisional licensing ends. The invocation sets the provisional licensing period to run through Aug. 1, at which time API will review conditions and decide whether to extend the period.

The provisional licensing invocation applies to applicants seeking licenses for ILSAC GF-6A; ILSAC GF-6B; API SP with Resource Conserving; API SP with SN Plus; ILSAC GF-5; API SN with Resource Conserving and SN Plus; API SN with Resource Conserving; API SN with SN Plus; and API SN.

In November 2017, the API Lubricants Standards Group approved the adoption of SN Plus, a new classification that may be used in conjunction with API SN and API SN with Resource Conserving.

GF-6 is North Americas’s next light-duty engine oil specification from the International Lubricant Standardization and Advisory Committee. Nine to 12 months after the May 1 first allowable use date, ILSAC GF-6 will be mandatory for all light-duty engine oils bearing the American Petroleum Institute’s starburst trademark. The new spec was divided into two – ILSAC GF-6B for SAE 0W-16 oils and GF-6A for other legacy viscosity grades. API SP includes all of the ILSAC requirements and at the same time provides performance requirements for oils that do not fall under ILSAC-member recommendations.