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Preparing a roadmap to PC-11

May 18, 2012

JOPLIN, MO. Work is getting underway to develop the new PC-11 classification of engine oil for on-highway trucks, with eight meetings scheduled among lubricant makers this year in order to ensure testing procedures are locked down and ready to commence by the end of 2013.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to go on this,” Dan Arcy, OEM technical manager for Shell Lubricants, told Fleet Owner here at the 2012 Shell SuperRigs contest being conducted here at a rebuilt Speedco facility wiped out by a massive tornado one year ago.

“We’re looking at developing three new engine tests for this new oil category, as well as a new oxidation test and other performance measures,” Arcy explained. “We’re also looking at crafting a new adhesive wear test to measure metal-to-metal contact that is something new for the industry, as in the past we’ve only conducted abrasive wear tests.”

The new PC-11 oil – short for “proposed category” 11 – is being prepared for licensing on Jan 1, 2016 to help truck makers comply with stringent mandated greenhouse-gas emissions (GHG) reductionand corresponding increases in miles per gallon performancefor commercial vehicles set out in new federal rules that start taking effect in 2014.

Arcy heads up the New Category Evaluation Team, or NCET, that’s in charge of developing the testing procedures for the new PC-11 oil as well as making sure they are implemented in time to meet the Jan. 1, 2016 deadline.

“We’ll begin to start roughly qualifying oil blends in 2013 with precision testing to start in 2014,” he said. “However, we’re still very early in the game here so there’s still a lot of subjectivity as to when this process really gets moving.”

PC-11 aims to create around a lower viscosity or “thinner” 10W-30 engine oil that will help reduce internal piston friction within a truck’s engine so it has to work less hard to produce power, thus improving fuel economy.

That fuel economy improvement, however, won’t be huge, Arcy cautioned – on the order of just half a percent improvement over the fuel economy benefits provided by today’s 10W-30 blends.

“We’re not going to get the [truck] OEMs to where they need to be on complying with GHG/fuel economy rules with PC-11 oil,” he pointed out. “But it will help them get at least part of the way.”

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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