Shell gearing up to debut new oil categories

Updated Mar 7, 2016

Remember PC-11? That’s old news now at Shell, says Dan Arcy, the company’s OEM technical manager.

“Technically PC-11 doesn’t exist anymore. Because that was a proposed category and now the category is official,” says Arcy, referring to the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Proposed Category 11, the newest heavy-duty engine oil category. “We’re trying to not even use PC-11 anymore.”

Instead Arcy says Shell is turning its training, marketing, promotions and customer discussions toward the actual oils it is about to debut: CK-4 and FA-4. As the first new oil category released in decade and first concurrent introduction of multiple categories in industry history, Arcy says the rollout of the new categories requires a lot of education.

On site Tuesday at the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tenn., Arcy and Shell are dedicating most of their education resources on the differences between CK-4 and FA-4.

Arcy says CK-4 is an improvement to the CJ-4 category oils present in the market today. CK-4 oils will be backwards compatible to CJ-4 oils at all levels, and should seemlessly transition into the position those oils fill for most of the market.

FA-4 is where things become unique. Arcy says FA-4 oils will feature much lower viscosity levels, and are expected to deliver significant fuel economy benefits for on-highway applications. He says Shell has been running field trials with several of its largest fleet customers for more than a year — the company’s new oils have more than 30 million miles of combined on-road testing — and Arcy says the results have been very encouraging.

“FA-4 has been where we’ve been receiving the most questions,” he says. “Fleets wanted to know if they will get the same level of performance … Right now the results look nearly identical on wear performance.”

And he says customers will need to be clear when spec’ing both categories when they are formally introduced at the end of the year.

“Historically we’ve had a lot of customers ask for product, they’d say ‘I want Rotella T 15W40. I want Rotella T 10W30.’ Going forward here I think customers are really going to need to add that performance [indicator] on to the back. ‘I need Rotella T 10W30 CK-4, or Rotella T 10W30 FA-4.’ They are going to have to define that performance, and I think’s going to kind of be a change for them.”

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