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Publishers Letter


Savants Ted Selby has long been an articulate advocate for bench tests – relatively inexpensive lab tests – to replace the increasingly costly engine tests that underlie engine oil quality assurance programs. I have always believed that theres no repeatable response of the engine-lubricant relationship that cant be duplicated on the bench, Selby told automotive editor David McFall. None.

Has the time ?nally arrived for the engine oil development industries (and particularly the automakers) to focus more seriously on bench tests?

In response to broad questions from David about the current and future state of engine oil development, several old-timers underscored some relevant points.

The resources, both ?nancial and man-power, for developing lubricant speci?cations and the required performance-based test procedures are much less than they were just 10 years ago, noted Gordon Farnsworth, retired now from In?neum.

[T]he ?nancial and personnel resources that we old-timers used to have in the past, and research capabilities that we enjoyed in making our decisions, are not there anymore, said Stefan Korcek, retired Ford. This means that there is a need to have a fresh look at the existing process of engine oil development before it collapses.

[S]erious consideration ought to be given to expanding the use of bench tests to replace existing engine tests and meet new performance concerns, Shell retiree Cliff Venier opined. The use of bench tests pays doubly, since it lowers the cost of test development and the cost of new product quali?cations.

We couldnt agree more.

Read more: The End of an Era in Engine Oil? starts on page 6 and Carrying the Torch for Testing on page 36.

Our best wishes this month to NLGI, holding its 72nd Annual Meeting Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 in San Antonio, and to NPRA for a successful International Lubricants & Waxes Meeting, Nov. 10 and 11 in Houston.

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