IFC Undertakes Third Global Spec


Three years since its founding, the International Fluids Consortium is working on base oil interchange guidelines and a registration system that will allow it to bring its first two automotive engine oil specifications to market.

The organization, formed to develop a system for global lube specs, has also begun work on its third standard, which will aim for fuel economy improvements.

The organization confirmed the status of its initiatives this week after representatives addressed the German Federal Association of Medium-sized Energy Companies’ Mineral Oil Technology Congress in July.

The consortium’s first two performance specifications, GEO-1 and GEO-2, remain in draft form while it works to complete groundwork that will guide implementation of these and future specs. Specifically, the group is writing guidelines concerning the interchange of base oils used in lubricant formulations that have qualified as spec requirements.

Interchange guidelines set out the extent to which lube manufacturers may replace base oils in qualified formulations without having to repeat expensive testing and without compromising confidence that the product will still meet the specification. They are of practical importance because they give lube manufacturers ability to manage their supply chains in a dynamic base oil market.

Interchange guidelines are frequently challenging for regional organizations to develop, and the IFC says the undertaking is even more challenging for a system of global specs.

GEO-1 and GEO-2 are both standards for engine oils used in light-duty vehicles powered by gasoline. GEO-1 covers oils ranging in viscosity from 0W-8 to 10W-30, while GEO-2 is for products used in engines equipped with gasoline particulate filters. Work on the performance requirements wrapped up last year. Officials have said these specs go beyond harmonization of JASO GLV-1 and ILSAC GF-6A and GF-6B, regional specs developed by the Japanese Automotive Standards Organization and North America’s International Lubricants Standardization and Advisory Committee.

The consortium is also working on its next spec, GEO-3, which will also be for light-duty, gasoline-powered vehicles. One of the priorities will be to increase the contribution to fuel economy, according to IFC Administrator Mike Kunselman, who told the UNITI congress that a survey of the group’s original equipment manufacturer members showed that nearly 90% wanted GEO-3 to address that parameter, while just more than 10% prioritized other parameters such maintaining viscosity as oils age, protecting bearings from corrosion or particulate filter compatibility.

While GEO-1 and GEO-2 employed existing fuel economy tests, Kunselman said there is much discussion around methods that future specifications will use to test contributions to fuel economy. Within the next year and a half the consortium aims to develop a roadmap for future specifications, including lubricants and fluids used in electric vehicles.