Test method and specification development are extremely important to the advancement of fuels and lubricants. There is a lot of work involved, and it can be a long and tedious process. In some cases, the release of the latest specifications can take the best part of a decade. Multiple standard-setting organisations exist around the globe working independently to develop regional standards, despite in many cases using the same tests and parameters within tests that differ only slightly.
There is a critical need for oil and additive companies and OEMs to communicate on a global level to share issues regarding test methods, data, development of engine tests, and logistics, says Greg Miiller, vice president of engineering and new business development at Savant Group. Miiller has served as a volunteer with international standards organisation ASTM for over 25 years and currently serves as the first vice-chair of Committee D02 on Petroleum products, liquid fuels and lubricants. ASTM has been assessing opportunities to streamline the test methods, test development procedures, statistical analysis and the specifications development process by enabling collaboration at a global level.
Speaking to delegates at the inaugural F+L Week Virtual conference on 10 March 2021, Miiller unveiled the Global Lubricants Test Standards Team (GLTST) — part of an ongoing effort to “get everyone on the same page moving forward.” GLTST aims to provide an international platform to encourage industry collaboration and provide a communication forum to assist with industry issues and cross-border test methodology and specification differences.
GLTST will endeavour to streamline test procedures similar in nature across borders and will assist in the preparation of test methods/standards where differences in operation or precision exist. The team will advocate removal of unnecessary duplication due to differences in test methods or standard operation and provide an environment where industry experts can express problem areas the industry needs to address.
GLTST will not be another specification-setting organisation, says Miiller. The body will only provide an opportunity for the discussion of industry needs and address discrepancies between industry standards setting and fluid specification bodies. Issues will be forwarded to appropriate industry groups for action. However, GLTST may recommend new standards, or updates to existing standards where required to reduce confusion or duplication, he says.
GLTST currently comprises 18 members from organisations around the globe including ALIA, SINOPEC, API, ACC, ACEA, ASTM, ATIEL, ILSAC, STLE, and EMA.