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In a conversation with Sandeep Kalia, Managing Director of Valvoline Cummins Pvt Ltd India, we get to know the differences between BS6 motor oils and BS4 oils and how Valvoline handled the pandemic with an employee-centric approach.

Motor oil plays an important role in the life of an automobile. It is an essential element to keep the engine and its components well lubricated. As engine building technology advances, so does oil. With increasingly stringent emissions standards in India, oil makers need to keep pace, and with current BS6 standards in India, lubrication needs to keep up.

To better understand the evolution of technology in the lubrication industry, Express Mobility speaks with Sandeep Kalia, Managing Director of Valvoline Cummins Pvt Ltd India, to understand how BS6 engine oil is different from BS4. We are also getting to know the type of safety precautions taken by Valovoline to ensure the safety of its employees during the pandemic.

How is BS VI engine oil different from BS IV engine oil?

As we know, vehicle emission standards have become more stringent in order to reduce air pollution, which has required continuous changes and improvements in engine hardware. Therefore, motor oil companies are gradually introducing lubricants with newer specifications to meet the needs of evolving engines.

For example, in commercial vehicles, to meet the mandatory strong reduction of pollutants, ie. Particles (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in BS VI on BS IV; OEMs have incorporated many aftertreatment devices (ATD) into the exhaust pipes such as the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and also the Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC), Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), etc. To properly lubricate new design engines and also be compatible with DPF; BS VI oil comes with an all new chemistry known as low ash chemistry that meets the new API CK-4 standard. In this way, these are different from conventional Mid / High Ash oils for BS IV engines.

How much has been invested in manufacturing a new BS-VI oil and what is the production capacity?

Valvoline is a global multinational present in more than 100 countries with more than 150 years of experience in continuous innovation. As a result, globally we already had low ash engine oil suitable for Euro VI engines.

In India, Valvoline has spent several million dollars to adapt the oil available globally to local OEMs and the unique operating conditions prevailing in India. We have conducted field and engine testing of our candidate BS VI oil with our partner JV Cummins and various other Indian and foreign OEMs to perfect the technology and meet the needs of the Indian market. Now we can say that Valvoline has the best in class and toughest low ash oil for BS VI engines in India.

As a JV partner, we have a unique opportunity to co-develop our engine oil with Cummins for Indian conditions, which involves extended engine testing and also large-scale field testing on vehicles. This sets our engine oil apart from other lubricant manufacturers. Appropriate modifications have been made at our manufacturing facility near Mumbai to produce BS VI oil on a large scale. We supply BS VI Oil for Factory Fill and Service Fill to many leading OEMs in India.

Do you see a slowdown in demand for BS-IV engine oil?

BS VI was introduced in India in April 2020, demand was reduced due to low mileage driven due to the Covid pandemic. We will see these vehicles roll out of the workshops in the years to come. At that point, we could see a significant shift towards BSVI oils, as operators of large fleets would prefer a single grade of oil for all engines (BSVI and earlier). We have also witnessed a similar trend in the past, whenever engines have evolved due to changes in emission standards.

What happens if a user puts BS IV oil into a BS VI and vice versa?

BS IV oil should not be used in a BS VI engine. For example, in commercial vehicles, BS VI oils are backward compatible. This means that BS VI oils can be used for BS IV or earlier engines. On the other hand, prolonged use of BS IV oil (medium / high ash oil) in BS VI engines will damage the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) which is a critical component. This will cause irreversible damage to the aftertreatment system and lead to costly replacement of damaged DPF, costly engine repairs, and downtime.

Is there a price increase for BS6 motor oil for two-wheelers and what are all grades (synthetic, semi-synthetic, etc.) available for the same?

Regarding two-wheelers, BS6 emission standards were achieved by adopting an electronic engine with a complex catalytic converter in the exhaust pipe by OEMs. Most of our two-wheeler oils are ready for the future. Our motorcycle oils (MCO) already meet advanced API SN and JASO specifications to ensure compatibility with catalytic converters. Additionally, our MCOs are primarily semi-synthetic and synthetic in nature to withstand higher operating temperatures and provide full protection. As the Valvoline two-wheeler oils were already ready for the BS6, no upgrades and therefore no price changes were necessary for the BS6.

How did you deal with the pandemic and how has production been affected?

The pandemic has led to limited availability of transportation due to a shortage of drivers, restricted production due to government restrictions, limited supplies from suppliers of packaging materials, ship management and most importantly. , has had an impact on employee safety.

Strengthening appropriate behavior to COVID19 and putting in place the required infrastructure in the factory and warehouses were the first steps in dealing with the pandemic. Then it was about securing supplies and ensuring constant communication with suppliers, customers and employees. We’re happy to say that with an all-inclusive, people-first approach, we’ve been able to meet market demands with minimal or no disruption.

What are the new manufacturing procedures put in place due to the pandemic?

First, as we all adjusted to the new normal, we decided to follow a simple philosophy of keeping our employees – employees, partners, the extended ecosystem, and their families, first. This principle was the genesis of our “Suraksha First” campaign in which we implemented various policies and initiatives across the organization. Specifically for manufacturing, we have ensured the following:

  • New safety practices at the manufacturing site
    • Heat screening, regular hand washing and 100% mask compliance
    • Biometric presence replaced by a face detector
    • Periodic disinfection of the workplace and employee transport
    • Vaccination campaign for employees and families
    • Isolation of employees in the first shift from the second shift to eliminate contact
    • Transportation of employees with 50% capacity to ensure social distancing
    • Canteen schedule to maintain social distancing between employees
  • Staff security protocols
  • Flexible workforce to accommodate increases or slowdowns in production
  • Implementation of a teleworking policy for some of the plant staff
  • Improved visibility throughout the supply chain to bring agility and speed to service with increased digital capacity.

What steps have you taken to support the industry ecosystem as a whole during the pandemic?

It has been a difficult and exciting time for most of us over the past year. We are very grateful to our community of mechanics, drivers and their families who have been on the front lines of this pandemic and made essential services for the country work, risking their own lives. As an organization, we have directed our corporate social responsibilities towards these resilient communities and implemented several initiatives to support them as a small gesture of gratitude. More than 100,000 Suraksha kits (including 4 masks and disinfectants) have been distributed throughout our country by our own teams. We partnered with local police and administration in several cities and covered all major toll booths, which helped us focus our distribution efforts on drivers. Awareness of appropriate Covid behavior and the benefits of vaccination continues to be a key engagement pillar for our ecosystem and every day, through our digital platforms, we connect with thousands of our partners for the same.

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