Lubricants today meet the unique needs of waste fleet operators as well as the operational needs of modern engine technology. The latest heavy-duty engine oil technology can secure substantial savings for waste operators.
By Darryl Purificati
At the heart of a waste fleet’s equipment is its engine oil—the vehicle’s lifeblood, which helps it run smoothly and reliably. Protecting the internal components of the engine and helping it run efficiently, the heavy-duty engine oil is essential. But how have engine oils evolved to meet the needs of waste fleet operators today, and what can we expect in the future?
The Role of Engine Oils
Before exploring advances in lubricant technology, it is important to consider the role of engine oils for the engines of collection trucks. Protecting the vital internal hardware of the engine, heavy-duty lubricants minimize frictional losses between moving components while reducing pumping and rotational losses. This in turn reduces viscous drag and helps improve the engine’s fuel economy and efficiency.
For off-road waste equipment, engine oils also offer the ability to help prevent air becoming entrained in the engine oil. Improved aeration control helps to prevent air entrainment, particularly at the bearings, where maintaining a proper oil film is critical for protection.
Equipment operation in urban environments is especially tough. Heavy loads combined with the constant start-stop operations can produce high temperatures, which may result in accelerated oil degradation, increased engine wear and lead to unplanned maintenance and downtime—costing businesses money and time.
The Needs of Modern Engine Technology
Throughout recent decades, lubricants have evolved considerably to address the challenges of the latest vehicles and their engines. Newer engines require lubricants that are more durable to prevent wear as they run at higher temperatures, which can stress conventional lubricants. Relatively newer engine operations, such as stop-start technology can also mean additional burdens for an engine oil.
To address these challenges, the most recent oils standards—API CK-4 and FA-4—offer greater resistance to oxidation as well as improved aeration control and shear stability. Lubricants that meet these standards provide modern engine technology with enhanced protection, improved fuel economy as well as the potential to safely extend oil drain intervals.* This not only ensures that equipment can be operational for longer between oil drains, but also reduces scheduled maintenance costs—resulting in a direct and positive impact on the company’s bottom line.
Transition to Mixed Fleets
The ‘make-up’ of waste fleets has also influenced the evolution of heavy-duty lubricants. Over the past decade, the introduction of industry incentives and stringent emissions guidelines has seen many waste fleets turn to natural gas powered trucks to help meet emission goals and reduce operating costs. The result is a fleet of mixed operations, which includes diesel, gasoline and natural gas engines.
The differences in fuel types makes the maintenance process more complex and means that workshops must stock and carry several varieties of oils to cater to the specific needs of each engine. Not only does this mean that extra space is required to safely store each oil, but it also adds to the overall maintenance costs of the fleet.
To meet these new challenges, forward-thinking lubricant manufacturers developed an innovative lubricant that can deliver superior engine protection for diesel, gasoline and natural gas engines.
Offering a one-size-fits-all engine oil for mixed fleet operators, lubricants can provide the ability to safely extend oil drain intervals* and maximize fuel economy benefits. However, for these oils it is important to check the product’s Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) approvals and licenses, as well as each vehicle’s OEM owner’s manual to ensure compliance and avoid invalidating any warranties.
The Future of Lubricants
The use of mixed fleet heavy-duty engine oil was a significant step forward to help streamline waste fleet maintenance needs and consolidate the number of lubricants in the workshop. Looking ahead to the future, the trend towards low viscosity engine oils is set to continue, not only within the latest API CK-4 category, but also with the addition of API FA-4.
The trend can be seen quite clearly when looking to the passenger car industry, where engines are becoming more efficient due to legislation and consumer demand to drive greater fuel efficiency. In turn, engine oils have a lower viscosity to maximize the engine power output with no compromise on performance. Although several years ahead of the heavy-duty and waste sectors, our pathway to low viscosity engine oils is currently being forged and the benefits of these latest innovative products are clear. When recommended by the OEM, the use of an API FA-4 oil can offer a 1 percent fuel economy benefit over CK-4 oils while maintaining the same superior engine protection.
Lubricants today meet the unique needs of waste fleet operators as well as the operational needs of modern engine technology. Providing superior protection for engine components in the most challenging environments as well as offering improved fuel economy benefits and the potential for maintenance savings through extending oil drain intervals*, the latest heavy-duty engine oil technology can secure substantial savings for waste operators. | WA
Darryl Purificati is OEM Technical Liaison at Petro-Canada Lubricants. He joined Petro-Canada Lubricants 25 years ago from Ryerson University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science (hon) in Applied Chemistry. At Petro-Canada Lubricants, Darryl has successfully undertaken various roles including: Lubricants Research and Development, OEM Sales, Fuels Quality and Technical Services. Since 2013, Darryl’s expertise has been used across the industry in his role as industry liaison and technical advisor for OEM and driveline products. Darryl is also widely involved within the industry as an active member of the American Petroleum Industry (API) association, ASTM International and the Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE). For more information visit lubricants.petro-canada.com.
*Extending drain intervals should always be undertaken in conjunction with an oil analysis program.