GS Caltex base oils offer optimal solutions for top quality lubricants. Jayanta Ray, General Manager - Industrial and OEM, explains the importance of developing base oils to meet more stringent regulatory standards and challenging specifications.
GS Caltex began base oil production in November 2007 with 16,000 BPSD capacity, but almost doubled its capacity by 2014. By using the latest cutting-edge hydro-cracking technology, the company produces high quality environment-friendly base oil, which satisfies challenging specifications of lubricant manufacturers. It has been exporting more than 70 per cent of its total base oil production.
As base oil demand in Asia continuously increases, it aims to be the influential and dominant supplier of high quality base oil in the continent through further expansions and improvements.
The need for lubricant marketers to meet more stringent regulatory standards and challenging specifications is growing. The ongoing shift to higher quality automotive lubricants is driven mainly by the automobile industry's increasingly demanding requirements such as severe vehicle emission standards. Industrial demand is also moving towards HVI hydraulic fluids and high oxidation stability turbine oils. Since more than 80 per cent of the content of lubricants consists of base oil, higher quality base oil is essential in producing higher quality lubricants. GS Caltex Group II/III base oils can give the optimal solution for top quality lubricants, which conventional base oils are not able to provide.
Through ingenuity in facility design, GS Caltex has the flexibility to control the desired amount of production of Group II and Group III base oils. It can also produce high quality heavy grade base oil to replace white oil and bright stock. Its Group II/III base oils have excellent low temperature properties and exceptionally bright white clear transparent qualities. The Group II/III base oil produced by GS Caltex is environment-friendly with low volatility, reducing oil consumption and improving fuel economy. It also offers high thermal and oxidation stability to support drain interval extension. All these advantages are the result from the latest cutting-edge hydro-cracking technology. These benefits help the company adapt more efficiently to changing market conditions and generate greater customer satisfaction.
Kixx LUBO, the new name in base oil, is a combination of the GS Caltex family brand Kixx and lube base oil. The Kixx name originates from the etymology of 'kick' to describe speed, strength, and dynamism.
The Group II base oils have the right combination of properties to maximise equipment protection, while extending oil life (Table 1). Industrial oil formulations may be as much as 99 per cent base oil, so the base oil's quality is critically important to the finished oil's performance.
Advantages of Group II base oils
In many industrial applications, oils formulated with GS Caltex premium base oils can improve performance over Group I formulations - with minimal or no cost increases. Due to the chemical and physical properties of Group II base oils, lubricants blended with them can withstand tougher operations and environments, including higher operating temperatures, smaller sumps, higher power densities, longer drain intervals, lighter materials, and more compact designs than their Group I counterparts. GS Caltex base oils possess all five base oil attributes that are key to industrial oil quality as mentioned below:
Wide viscosity range: Viscosity is the most important property of an oil. It measures the oil's resistance to flow (shear stress) under certain conditions. Industrial oils have to perform in a broad spectrum of operating environments and consequently, are produced in a broader viscosity range than automotive lubricants.
Viscosity requirements for industrial oils range from ISO 10 to greater than ISO 3200. However, more than 72 per cent of industrial oil demand falls between ISO 32 to ISO 100, which can be fully satisfied by Group II base oils. By switching these formulations from Group I to Group II, in most applications, oil life will be significantly extended with minimal or no re-qualification cost. Group III oils, by contrast, have limited applicability due to their low viscosity.
Excellent oxidative and thermal stability: Oxidative and thermal stability are key to extending oil life. When oxidative and thermal stability are poor, higher operating temperatures lead to the formation of undesirable compounds that are either soluble and/or insoluble. Soluble acidic products may increase the viscosity of the oil and corrode the system, while insoluble products (e.g. gum, sludge, varnish) may increase wear and will eventually plug lines and valves and reduce clearances, which could lead to system failure. The Group II base oils have excellent oxidation stability. Turbine oils formulated with Group II can have 300 per cent or longer life than their Group I-based counterparts.
Water separability: The ability of an oil to 'shed'or separate from water is particularly important for applications where the possibility of incursion of water into the system is very high, such as steam and hydroelectric turbine oils, circulating oils and hydraulic fluids. In these situations, the oil must be able to separate water rapidly and cleanly. By draining separated water from the system, operators can extend the life of the lubricant and possibly prevent rust and corrosion from forming. Due to their very high levels of saturated hydrocarbons and very low levels of polar compounds, GS Caltex Group II base oils separate from water more rapidly than Group I base oils.
Low temperature properties: Group II base oils have excellent low-temperature properties, and because of their extremely low residual normal-para n content, they respond more readily to pour point depressants than Group I base oils. In applications where sub-zero performance is not needed, Group IIs are frequently the base oil of choice. As long as arctic temperatures are not the challenge, expensive PAOs are not required if Group II base oils are available.
Air release: All oils absorb air. Air entrainment is the dispersion of tiny air bubbles throughout the bulk fluid. This is very problematic for hydraulic systems - systems that depend on the oil being incompressible in order to properly transmit power. Additionally, dissolved air can cause pump cavitation, excess wear and erratic movement of machine parts. Hydraulic fluids, circulating oils and turbine oils made with Chevron Group II base oils have better air-release times than those blended with Group I as measured by ASTM D3427.
Advantages in product formulations
Hydraulic oils: Hydraulic oils account for 60 per cent of the world's industrial oil demand. Group II base oils are a good fit for the application as most of the volumes fall within the ISO 32-68 range. Group II-based formulations deliver higher oxidation stability, better or more rapid water separation and lower foaming tendency than Group I.
The hydraulic oils formulated with Group II had higher oxidation stability and enhanced water separability, which translates into longer oil life (Table 2).
Turbine oils: Turbine oil, in both gas and steam power generation systems, provides clean and cool lubrication to bearings and frequently acts as the working fluid in associated hydraulic systems. Most turbine engines require oils in the ISO 32 or 46 viscosity grades. When turbine oils are formulated with Group II base oils, they have much longer life than when formulated with Group I. As with hydraulic oils, Group II-based turbine oils will separate rapidly from water or air with no or minimal assistance from demulsifying additives or anti-foaming agents.
Natural gas engine oils (NGEOs): Gas engines used in industrial applications operate at high loads, high temperatures and for long periods of time, while exposing the oil to severe oxidation and nitration conditions. They are often in remote locations and must run with minimal operator attention. Engine reliability is critical. There are no industry-wide tests for evaluating NGEO performance.
Lubricant marketers have to prove the performance of their lubricants in on-site field tests. OEM oil approvals are granted only following successful field trials (Table 3).
Group II outperforms Group I in natural gas engine oils - the Group II formulation lasted 61 per cent longer and had less than half the deposits of the Group I blend.
For enquiry on high performance Group II base oils 'Kixx LUBO' and GS Caltex Lubricants developed through such superior base oils, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org