Lubricants Group Ballots SN Plus

TheAmerican Petroleum InstitutesLubricants Group closed its ballot on SN Plus Dec. 29, with a healthy majority voting to adopt the supplemental category, industry insiders confirmed.

The Lubricants Group is scheduled to consider the results at a Jan. 11 meeting in Houston. Members have anticipated that licensing of the category could begin May 1 if the ballot passed, although that date did not appear in the ballot.

The proposal to adopt SN Plus received 18 affirmative votes, while three members voted no and one did not vote, two individuals familiar with the results told Lube Report Thursday. On a second ballot, 21 members voted to accept limits proposed for the new Sequence VIE test for fuel economy for ILSAC GF-5 and API SN with Resource Conserving. One member abstained and none opposed, the individuals said.

The senior manager of APIs engine oil program, Kevin Ferrick, declined to comment on the nature of the negative votes or what will happen at the Lubricants Group meeting. We cant discuss the ballot results until they have been presented to the Lubricants Standards Group. That will happen [this] week he said.

The committee typically considers objections behind negative votes and attempts to address them. Individuals who cast those votes then have an opportunity to rescind them. If the group modifies the proposal, it may conduct a new vote on the spot or carry the matter over. However, a majority of affirmative votes is all that is necessary for a ballot to pass.

SN Plus is a supplemental category intended to tide over automakers until GF-6 licensing can be implemented. In August the group unanimously voted to move forward with the category in order to protect turbocharged engines against low-speed pre-ignition without having to wait for the much delayed GF-6.

The ballot for SN Plus stated that it would be effective in API 1509 on Nov. 9, 2017. However, it nowhere states a first allowable use date for SN Plus. API had said it aims to allow marketers to begin using the SN Plus designation on their products starting May 1, 2018.

The Sequence VIE is a new test developed for GF-6, but the industry also wants to use it for twin existing specs, GF-5 and SN Resource Conserving. In that context it would replace the Sequence VID, a test that the industry has not been able to run since early 2017 when it ran out of engine test stands. This led API to invoke provisional licensing, which allowed oil marketers to obtain provisional approval for formulations that meet other requirements if marketers provide information indicating that the oils would have passed the Sequence VID.

The motion ballot was to accept the proposed limits set out by Valvoline, which are well within the mean limits set out by Category Life Oversight Group.

Industry experts did an excellent job developing equivalent Sequence VIE Limits for ILSAC GF-5 to allow replacement for the old VID test. I do believe the main issue remaining is not the limits, but lack of base oil interchange rules, said Steve Haffner of SGH Consulting.

Its a $50,000 test with no BOI right now, so without BOI rules [the] industry has a dilemma as marketers and additive companies need the ability to cover many base stocks and do not want to have to run more tests than absolutely required. The BOI matrix is now underway and I am quite confident that rules will be established in the not too distant future to allow provisional licensing to end and the Sequence VIE to be fully accepted, he added.

Further details on both SN Plus and adoption of the VIE fuel economy test for ILSAC GF-5 and API SN-Resource Conserving oils will be available after the Lubricants Standards Groups Jan. 11thmeeting.