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Publishers Letter


At the end of October, the technical association of the European lubricants industry (ATIEL) and the regions technical committee of petroleum additive manufacturers (ATC) organized a workshop in Frankfurt to address a persistent problem in the increasingly global lubricants industry-regulatory compliance for chemicals.

As more countries adopt the GHS chemical hazards communication system, many also establish a chemical inventory or registration system, or revise their current ones. These include REACH in the EU and clone programs in Turkey and South Korea, TSCA in the United States and Chinas IECSC. The list goes on. All have different requirements and definitions.

These regulations tend to impact the lubricants industry most heavily in the automotive sector, where finished products that contain several additives made up of even more distinct chemical substances are shipped all over the world. To protect intellectual property, additive and lube companies avoid disclosing the complete composition of their products to customers. But those customers, often automakers, may require such detail for their own regulatory assessments and reporting as importers.

Multiple representatives at the workshop pointed out that without trust in the supply chain, compliance efforts are often repeated downstream, making the process challenging and costly. Complexity intensifies when OEMs request compliance data from lube companies using their own forms, for example, or use different technology solutions for data sharing.

At the meeting, ATIEL, ATC and ACEA (the European automobile manufacturers association) established a joint task force to improve communication and enhance trust between suppliers and their customers. The group will develop guidance for communicating sensitive information throughout the supply chain while ensuring the protection of confidential business information.

Heres hoping the task force can, as presenter Sabine Hausmann of Fuchs put it, get the regulatory monster under control and have globally compliant products on the market, for the sake of the entire industry.

Howard Briskin

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