November 1, 2019
Volume 7 Issue 4
Afton Expands Test Center in Japan
Afton Chemical completed an expansion of its Japan Technology Center in Tsukuba to give it increased lubricant additive testing capabilities for the Asia-Pacific region, the company announced on Oct. 30. The expansion is part of an effort towards more collaboration with Japan’s original equipment manufacturers.
Bringing Afton closer to the research and development centers of Japanese automotive companies can help to solve some of the challenges with the country’s market. "OEMs and additives companies are not having an open and collaborative approach, to jointly develop the next generation fluids and hardware. OEM companies sometimes are not open to having a direct relationship with additive companies," a company spokesperson told Lube Report.
“Japan is a unique market with different needs and challenges. The ‘Made For’ strategy is built on the intent to understand the dynamics of each individual market and ensure we are developing the correct solutions from a product and services perspective,” Sean Spencer, vice president and managing director of Afton Chemical Asia, said in the press release.
The multi-million dollar project has increased Afton’s lubricant additive testing capabilities for transmission fluids, gear lubricants, passenger cars, motorcycles, commercial and off-road vehicles engine oils and industrial hydraulic oils, the company said in the press release.
The facility can also conduct sample blending, physical and chemical analysis and performance testing that complies with the international and Japanese test methods of organizations like ASTM International, Japanese Industrial Standards Committee, Japanese Petroleum Institute, Japanese Automotive Standards Organization and Japan Construction Mechanization Association. The center will also develop proprietary tests with a focus on the market needs of the Asia-Pacific region, the company said.
“The expanded Japan Technology Center with its integrated technical support and performance testing will further enhance our ability to provide quick and effective solutions to our customers in Asia, and will provide customized solutions ‘Made For’ key Japan [original equipment manufacturer] projects,” Regina Harm, president of Richmond, Virginia-based Afton Chemical, said in the press release.
The center has 17 research and development managers, formulators, technologists, technicians and administration staff, according to the company.
“Fuel economy and reduced emissions are the two key drivers for hardware and technology development as well as the lubricant additives needed for this new hardware,” a spokesperson said.
Afton also plans to develop additive solutions for electric and hybrid vehicles in Japan. “With the Japanese government’s recent announcement further reducing the average vehicle fuel economy standards by 32 percent by 2030, Japanese automobile manufacturers will have to sell more electric and hybrid cars,” said the press release.
“EV and hybrid vehicles are equipped with transmissions like [continuously variable transmission] and one-shift [automatic transmission fluid], as well as gear and bearing, to transfer and assist motor torque to wheels. Ultra-low viscosity oil is one of the solutions to lower fuel economy,” Togawa Takayuki, research and development group lead for Afton, said in the press release.
Afton has research and development and testing facilities in the United States, China, India, Japan and United Kingdom.