Afton Opens R&D Lab in China


Afton Chemical opened a new fuel and lubricant additive laboratory in Suzhou, China, to provide customers and OEMs in Asia Pacific with technical services, including sample blending, physical and chemical analysis and performance testing.

Afton said the new research and development laboratory was constructed at the Afton Chemical (Suzhou) Co. Ltd. manufacturing facility in Suzhou Industrial Park. The Suzhou manufacturing facility was one of four sites acquired by Afton through its 2010 acquisition of Polartech Metalworking Additives. The new laboratory will replace the current Shanghai R&D facility.

Rich Mendel, vice president and managing director of Afton Chemical Asia Pacific, explained that while the Shanghai lab was an excellent facility for basic customer technical service projects, blending and analytical testing, it was a leased facility with expansion and equipment limitations.

The new Suzhou R&D lab will have all the capability of the Shanghai facility, plus space for expansion and flexibility for rig testing, Mendel told Lube Report. It also allows Afton to combine our metalworking and petroleum additives customer technical services operations. This integrated technical support and manufacturing operation will further enhance our ability to provide quick and effective service to our customers in China, and will provide additional support for local [original equipment manufacturers].

Along with the investments we have made at our R&D center in Tskukuba, Japan, the new Suzhou laboratory allows us to better support the fast-growing business in Asia Pacific, said Warren Huang, president of Afton Chemical. Major investments have been made to these facilities in the area of analytical equipment and new performance tests, and our continued investment will enable us to develop customized solutions in the region, for the region.

Mendel said the new facility will be able to support lab testing for fuels, metalworking, industrial, engine oils and driveline. Mechanical testing will primarily support driveline and industrial.

In Asia-Pacific, he noted, all lubricants are moving towards higher levels of performance. For example, OEM demands for high performance passenger car motor oils are becoming an important segment of the market, Mendel said. We also see a trend towards higher performance heavy duty diesel engine oils and gear fluids for commercial vehicles. The Chinese automotive industry is actively working towards developing domestically designed and built automatic transmissions, including step AT, DCT and CVT.

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