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August 3, 2016

Volume 17 Issue 52

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API Lifts Provisional Licensing

The American Petroleum Institute will cease its provisional licensing of ILSAC GF-5 and API SN, SM, SL and SJ passenger car motor oil categories after receiving confirmation yesterday from ASTM International that test labs can once again run the Sequence VIII test.

ASTM’s Sequence VIII Surveillance Panel sent a letter notifying Kevin Ferrick, API senior manager for engine oil licensing and certification, that it obtained satisfactory results from the connecting rod bearings developed for use in the Sequence VIII. API invoked provisional licensing in April after the industry ran out of the most recent test batch of bearings used in the test, which measures weight loss and viscosity loss due to mechanical shearing. The Sequence VIII test is one of five engine tests required for the International Lubrication Standardization and Approval Committee’s GF-5 standard for passenger car engine oils.

“We have conducted testing using the replacement bearing sets with two oils of known performance at two different testing labs. These tests produced results that were within the statistical acceptance bands for those oils, so the Sequence VIII Surveillance Panel approved the use of the new bearings,” Patrick Lang, chairman of the panel, stated in an email sent to Lube Report.

Through this approval, ASTM’s Test Monitoring Center will allow Southwest Research Institute’s and Intertek’s independent lubricant testing laboratories in San Antonio, Texas, as well as other laboratories with Seq. VIII test capabilities to conduct reference oil and candidate engine oil testing. A number of private laboratories also run the Sequence VIII. The TMC provides reference oils for the calibration of ASTM test methods.

“Now that the bearings are approved, labs will continue to conduct periodic reference testing as part of the standard protocol to further confirm that they are performing properly,” said Lang.

The Sequence VIII (ASTM D6709) had been unavailable since January after the panel declared that a batch of bearings developed as replacements for the depleted supply did not yield the intended results when used in the test. Lang said the process to procure and test suitable bearings took around seven months.

“Most of that period was consumed with the lead time associated with the manufacture of the new bearing batch,” he added, and mentioned that the prove-out testing of the current batch of bearings took approximately six weeks.

After invoking provisional licensing for the affected PCMO categories, API allowed oil manufacturers to license their products by providing data that their formulations could obtain a satisfactory result if run in the Sequence VIII. Now, API will proceed to notify companies that obtained provisional licenses that they must get a passing result on the Sequence VIII within six months.

Upon passing the test, the licensee must request full licensing of an oil formulation by submitting a new application through API’s online system. API will review the information and, if it approves the application, withdraw the provisional license.

If a provisionally licensed formulation fails to pass the Sequence VII test, the licensee must notify API immediately. API may demand the licensee recall the provisionally licensed oil.

If a new oil formation isn’t received by API by the end of the six-month period, the organization will cancel the provisional license for that formulation.

Lube Report contacted API to seek out the number of manufacturers that applied for or received provisional licenses, but did not receive a response by deadline.