EMA Requests PC-11 Delay


EMA, the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, has requested a delay in the first-licensing date for the next heavy-duty engine oil upgrade, PC-11. EMA now wants the oils to debut April 1, 2016, giving it three more months to complete engine test development.

Original plans called for the oils to be commercially available by Jan. 1, 2016, to coincide with the introduction of more stringent vehicle fuel economy and emissions limits set by the federal government. EMA now wants the launch date for the new oils be pushed back to April 1, 2016, to allow more time to complete engine test development.

The request came at an early October meeting of the New Category Development Team, the group is which steering the new oil’s creation under the sponsorship of the American Petroleum Institute.

PC-11 will require a number of new engine sequence tests, as well as carrying over most of the tests required for the current heavy-duty category, API CJ-4, which was introduced in 2006. Among the new tests are the Mack T-13 from Volvo Powertrain, which measures oil oxidation, nitration and bearing corrosion, and the Daimler DD13 test for piston and liner scuffing wear.

Caterpillar Inc. offered another two engine tests. The first is an Engine Oil Aeration Test based on the Cat C13 engine, which would replace the simple laboratory glassware test used now, ASTM D892. However, oil aeration (foaming) is more complex and is best measured by some sort of test engine, the engine builder feels. Cat also had proposed a thermal stability/oxidation resistance test based on a single-cylinder engine, but withdrew it in favor of the Mack T-13.

On the slate of carryover tests, the Mack T-12 will continue to measure ring and liner wear but will have a revised merit rating system for PC-11. EMA also recommended keeping the existing 90-pass Kurt Orban shear stability test (D7109).

As well, the equipment manufacturers’ specifications are expected to call for 13 percent maximum Noack volatility loss, with a goal of reducing oil consumption. Oil marketers have voiced some concern about supporting data for this requirement.

When it comes to market, PC-11 will split into two versions. PC-11A will cover the viscosity needs of heavy-duty engines on the road today, while PC-11B will be a lower-viscosity specification that addresses OEM demands for fuel economy benefits. The high temperature, high shear (HTHS) viscosity limit for PC-11A will be unchanged at 3.5 centiPoise minimum, ensuring it is backward compatible with earlier oil categories.

By contrast, the lower-vis PC-11B oils will have a fuel-conserving HTHS viscosity of somewhere between 2.9 and 3.3 cP. Not every North American OEM is expected to adopt these oils, but EMA confirmed that Europe’s association of vehicle builders, ACEA, has settled on an HTHS limit of 3.2 cP to assure fuel economy.

Oil blenders also have expressed concern that there is insufficient difference between the two PC-11A and PC-11B HTHS specifications to allow for a reasonable blending tolerance when making the finished oil. The API Lubricants Group was asked to confirm this.

The Daimler DD13 engine wear test is taking longer to develop than was forecast and prompted EMA’s request to delay the first-license date. While this is doable, API and the American Chemistry Council (which represents the additive companies) feel that July 1, 2016, is more likely to be the launch date.

On Jan. 8, the New Category Development Team will review the data and identify those tests which are critical to the category moving forward; without these tests there will be no category. By the end of January the team will decide which tests to go forward with and determine if backup methods can be established for the critical tests.

Work on PC-11 has been under way for more than two years. The hope now is that engine test development can be completed in the new timeframe, so the April 2016 first-license date can be met.

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