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Europes CEC:Test Driven


In the late 1990s, the Coordinating European Council was at a near-standstill. Automakers had lost confidence in its ability to create and deliver engine tests, and industry support was drying up. Then anew CECemerged, vowing to be streamlined, innovative and more responsive. How has that relaunch paid off?

Very well, Meinrad Signer of truck and engine builder Iveco would attest, after chairing CEC for the past three years. We have become a cohesive organization over the past few years, based on a high level of professionalism, integrity and trust, he recently told LubesnGreases.Those positive attributes have allowed us to shape the organization to be responsive to European needs for new test development.

Test development, as signaled by CECs full, unwieldy name -the Coordinating European Council for the Development of Performance Tests for Transportation Fuels, Lubricants and Other Fluids -remains the key topic on the groups agenda. And how is CEC meeting this imperative?

Signer responded, Over the past three years we have completed one new engine test and one Code of Practice, and have three additional new lubricant tests in various stages of development, as well as six test-development groups looking at four marine lubricant tests, one transmission test and one fuels test.

Moreover, he added, we have instituted anew process for test development -the use of competitive tenders for selecting a single test-development lab, and funding the test development by the voluntary sponsorship of individual companies.

Back to the Table

This last innovation goes beyond just competitive bidding (the time-honored method to select a contractor). Prior to 2000, different engine laboratories would individually develop a test, causing a good bit of difficulty in settling on a precise, widely accepted test methodology. Asaresult, many OEMs had turned inward, away from CECs collective test development process, to focus instead on developing their own proprietary engine tests.

Proprietary tests have their uses and place, but many in the oil industry feel that collectively developed and monitored tests, acceptable to each of the affected industries, are preferable. To start, far greater technical resources can be brought to bear, and costs can be equitably distributed across a wide spectrum.

While the Management Board decides the funding methodology for each new test on a case-by-case basis, in practice, all new CEC test development has been on a sponsorship basis. The projected total test-development cost is identified up front and individual companies are then offered an opportunity to pay a share of the projected cost. They thereupon become a test sponsor,with the obligation to send a qualified representative to attend development meetings.

A real measure of success and a demonstration of our responsiveness is the fact that we were able to obtain sponsors for all of the three tests that we started in 2006, Signer pointed out. In fact, we were surprised at how many sponsors we got. Companies wont put money into a project unless they have a level of trust that there will be a return on their investment.

Whats more, he went on, Not only are we seeing many sponsors, but companies in all three industries, oil, chemical additives, [and] vehicle manufacturers, as well as test labs, are now providing CECs developmental groups, in fact all working groups, with top-quality specialty engineers, technologists, chemists, a full range of necessary technical expertise. Unless youre performing an essential collective function effectively, youre not likely to get the cooperation of the best people.

Wider Acceptance

Additional evidence of CECs success was painted by Management Board member

Anders Roj, of Volvo Truck. The major part of European ACEA Oil Sequences are now made up of CEC tests, which we want to maintain and increase. The process is now at the highest technical level. There is worldwide interest, particularly in Asia, where weve seen a lot of request for our test methods.

Fellow board member Peter Brett of BP added, With the new level of technical quality and quality management in the last five years, we have a much better overview of test quality and a better handle on emerging trends.

Moreover,Signer continued, CEC has been referenced by U.N. and European Union bodies as an example of how to conduct a proper test development. Were proud of that recognition; it is an external and impartial favorable judgment on our success.

But the most vital sign of success is the support given by automotive OEMs to collective test development, said Derek Mackney of Lubrizol. The engine for one of the current OEM proprietary tests, which measured piston deposits, wear and camshaft wear, is obsolete. The replacement test, using a modern engine,is being developed under CECs auspices. Thats an example of the evolving CEC role, with a test that had formerly been developed independently by an OEM.

Mercedes Benz Senior Manager for Fuels and Lubricants Hubert Schnuepke later confirmed that evaluation. Five years ago CEC was not the same as today, he told LubesnGreases. [Previously] it took three or four years for test development; in our company it was too slow and quality control was not adequate. Its much better today and we are again working with CEC and providing new test engines.

Making it Work

Three European trade associations -representing the oil, additive and vehicle manufacturing industries – plus one with an environmental and safety focus, provide CECs leaders.

These associations include:

ACEA, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association;

ATC, the Technical Committee of Petroleum Additive Manufacturers in Europe;

ATIEL, the Technical Association of the European Lubricants Industry, and

CONCAWE, the oil industrys group for Conservation of Clean Air and Water in Europe.

CECs language is English and decision-making is by consensus/no objection. If consensus fails, CEC will not adopt that decision/position, its guidelines say, while adding, an Industry Association, whilst not agreeing with a view being expressed by a majority will not unreasonably block the decision.

Each of the four associations above holds two seats on CECs eight-member Management Board, which meets at least six times a year. Chairmanship of the board rotates among the major industries involved, and this year the oil industry stepped up to the plate. Hans Thomassen, research managing director at Kuwait Petroleum International, began a two-year term in January.

Thomassen said his goal is to continue to enhance CECs responsiveness to European companies, especially OEMs, by ensuring that new tests are developed in a timely manner at the highest quality levels. In that, hes acknowledged being in debt to his recent predecessors in the position.

We have been very fortunate to have had two very good chairmen, agreed board member David Pipe, now retired from Fuchs Petrolub. Richard Biggin and Meinrad Signer have been very active and worked hard to get CEC to where it is today.

Biggin, then with Lubrizol, helped conceptualize the newCEC from 2001 to 2004. He said CECs greatest initial success was in bringing together the four main industries in Europe involved in CEC to work together cooperatively in CECs reorganization, and then the development of high-quality performance tests for the mutual benefit of all concerned.

Signer succeeded Biggin, holding the chair from 2004 to 2006. Signer made a special point of bringing the newCEC message to estranged OEMs. Many companies in this crucial user group had lost a great deal of confidence in CEC in the late 1990s, and as a result were unwilling to participate in test development -and importantly,to provide test engines. Mercedes Benzs recommitment to CEC is testimony to Signers success.

The Weekday Model

In 2004, members of the CEC Board evaluated their progress to date. Using a work week model, they told LubesnGreases the organization was halfway to Friday.

Meeting with LubesnGreases again this past September in Brussels, Lubrizols Mackney opined, Weve finished off the week. Pipe of Fuchs, a board member since 2000, enthused, I think were into next week. Board Chairman Signers take: Maybe, but it wasnt much of a weekend because we didnt have time to relax.

Forward-looking projects now include Derek Mackneys efforts to extend test monitoring oversight for all CEC bench tests, in place of round robins, and development of a new diesel engine wear test (see Automotive Department, page 6, for details).

And a more international profile may also be taking shape. Volvos Anders Roj pointed out, Our focus is Europe. We know however whats going on globally, and our vehicles are sold everywhere in the world. We intend therefore to promote [CECs] system in other areas.

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