Shell Lubricants has developed next-generation oils and greases for various industry applications, using the best-in-class technology. Praveen Nagpal, Chief Technology Officer, Shell Lubricants India, shares more on the market scenario and products and solutions for the equipment market.
How do you look at the demand trends for lubricants from infrastructure equipment segment?
The Indian lubricant market is witnessing steady growth due to the rise in the demand for industrial equipment. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in construction, manufacturing and mining activities, which have increased demand for high-performance industrial lubricants for the efficient and productive operation of heavy machinery. Mining equipment work in severe operating conditions.
Therefore, we expect the rise of lubricants that will increase oil drain intervals in equipment, enhance life time of components and reduce downtime to reduce total cost of ownership without compromising on the durability of the machinery.
Additionally, with the manufacturing sector getting increasing support from the government, the industrial lubricant sector is expected to grow tremendously and explore newer opportunities in the coming years.
Industries are embracing technologies and equipment maintenance solutions, and Shell, with its deep industry knowledge, expertise and resources across operations, is leading the way. Our expertise lies in developing the highest quality of lubricants using the best-in-class technology to deliver the desired results to customers while meeting industry needs.
How do customer requirements vary for different equipment? How are you meeting and catering to these requirements?
With the changing dimension and requirements of the heavy equipment used in the industrial lubricant sector, customers these days are keen to learn about the overall benefits of the lubricants that go into these equipment. The focus of the customers are shifting to an all-round solution rather than a specific product. There has been a gradual increase in the customer choice towards products and solutions that offer them long-term benefits rather than immediate or short-term gains.
At Shell Lubricants, we believe in supporting our valued partners and customers by developing a diverse range of products and services. We understand that every equipment has diverse, specific and unique demands. Be it oils or greases, we have a host of products for critical applications. In terms of formulation, while we have products with various chemical compositions, we are constantly moving to superior quality offerings and improved technology. Moreover, Shell Lubricants has helped companies achieve savings that often equal their total lubricants spend and further impact their maintenance budgets. Our commitment is towards lowering the total cost of ownership across the value chain for all our partners. We offer a range of formulated products that provide a high level of protection, and improved fuel efficiency. This results in reduced maintenance costs, repairs and overall downtime. Recently, we have also launched a consolidated portfolio of our next-gen services for the B2B sector, which will give customers a comprehensive set of technologically advanced solutions to optimise performance across industry-wide value chain.
The market is going through a tough situation now with slowdown affecting many equipment segments. How do you look at this scenario for lubricant market? Over the past few years, while the lubricant industry has been growing at a steady pace, the prolonged drop in sales has resulted in a fall in the industrial lubricants market. We hope the situation to soon get resolved and expect the industry to gain back its pace. In this scenario, the lubricant manufacturers should be well prepared to tackle such market unpredictability and plan accordingly to overcome the issues. A key demand driver and investment attractive factor for the industrial lubricant industry is the immense scope of untapped and unexplored areas of the market. The OEM space is on a rise and with the manufacturing sector getting increasing support from the government, the lubricant market has tremendous opportunities to grow in the coming years.
At Shell Lubricants, we are well prepared to overcome the market scenario, owing to which our operations and business activities are not much affected. We had our strategy well identified to work on the challenges and explore opportunities which helped us maintain a balance in operations.
How is the technology developing for lubricants to meet extreme weather and application conditions?
At Shell, a significant focus in the process of product development lies in developing and integrating new technologies to our offerings. Making use of our strong R&D lineage and advanced technological know-how, we have been developing products and services to counter extreme weather conditions and enhance efficiency. Some of the advanced technologies applied in our portfolio include:
The patented GTL technology used in base oils which lend themselves to potentially produce energy-efficient formulations by delivering excellent system efficiency; excellent equipment protection; and extended oil life
The Flexi Molecule Technology that enables engines to adapt to changing engine stresses providing more protection whenever needed
Shell PurePlus Technology - a revolutionary process which converts natural gas into crystal-clear base oil with virtually none of the impurities found in crude oil. It produces base oil that provides enhanced viscosity, friction and volatility performance as compared to more prominently used traditional base oils. It helps extend engine life, reduce maintenance costs and oil consumption, enhance fuel economy and enable better engine cleanliness
The superior CK4 technology introduced to India through our Rimula oils is in accordance with the latest BS-VI emission norms designed to improve fuel efficiency, which helps cutting down the emissions and is backwards-compatible.
In addition, we have also developed new ground-breaking technological offerings through the recent launch of our next-generation B2B services portfolio. Created using our winning combination of advanced technology and rich industry expertise, the services facilitate predictive maintenance and optimise cost efficacy to maximise savings. The newly launched portfolio consists of Shell's line up of solutions including LubeAnalyst, LubeAdvisor, LubeChat, LubeCoach, MachineMax, LubeMaster, LubeMatch, LubeExpert and Lube Management Programme.
How do you look at the future of the industrial lubricants market?
The Indian industrial lubricant market is estimated to grow to $1.67 billion by 2023, from $1.28 billion in 2017. The growth in construction, mining and material handling equipment sectors across the country has seen a rise and is expected to create more and newer opportunities for the industrial lubricant sector. Heavy equipment and machinery will demand fuel economy benefits from lubricants to increase their potential savings from effective equipment lubrication. These equipment require lubrication with low viscosity, high durability and longer oil drain intervals. This is where lubricant companies like Shell will come to the rescue. We deliver lubricants formulated with advanced technologies that will equal their total lubricants spend and further impact their maintenance budgets.
What are the key factors that help improve the total cost of ownership of a customer? How does Shell contribute to this?
Operational efficiency and total cost of ownership are major focus areas for the industry today, due to which there is continual need and focus on next-generation lubricants in all key applications like hydraulic systems, gears, compressors. We have developed next generation gear oils like Omala S5 Wind which significantly improves oil life and reliability of wind turbine gears. Next-generation hydraulic products like Tellus S4 ME are statistically proven to help improve the energy efficiency of the system in which they are used. In a carefully controlled test cycle, one injection moulding equipment maker measured energy savings of up to 6.4 per cent in the hydraulic systems in which Shell Tellus S4 ME was used.
While new generation lubricants for industry remains the constant need, B2B industry is also witnessing a shift in focus from products to complete solutions. For the lubricants sector, industry's tech-enabled evolution has given us a much sharper understanding of where, how and what to apply to achieve the optimum results. More than just applying lubricants, an approach wherein lubricants are a strategic technical service can deliver the benchmarked performance needed. Lubricants interact with all the moving parts of the equipment. Hence, lubricant selection and application can have a significant impact on the total cost of ownership and save companies from incurring massive costs caused by breakdowns due to ineffective lubrication. This underlines the efficacy and potential of effective lubrication on increasing the profit margins.
Therefore, it is pivotal to have the right maintenance strategies, beginning with lubricant selection and application.