1) What are the benefits of using synthetic lubes over mineral lubes, especially in the case of power generating plants / transformers?

When compared to conventional, mineral-based oils, synthetics offer more effective protection over a wider range of operating temperatures, protecting critical equipment components and helping maximize productivity. At high temperatures, synthetics typically deliver thicker oil film to reduce wear. During low temperature start-ups, they offer excellent flow characteristics to reduce the risk of oil starvation. By comparison, conventional mineral-based lubricants can degrade rapidly when exposed to high temperatures, increasing the tendency for deposit formation and reducing oil life. When subjected to low temperatures, they may not flow as easily to critical parts, limiting the overall protection benefits they can offer.Advanced lubricant solutions also go beyond the basic reduction of friction. Advanced base oils and additives impact traction coefficient in bearings/gears. Advanced High Viscosity Index (VI) fluids offer the potential to use lower viscosity for reduced churning loss and better heat dissipation.

ExxonMobil has helped in pioneering synthetic lubricant technology. We use an advanced scientifically engineered ‘balanced formulation approach’ that leverages the company’s leading technology and application expertise. This comprehensive process enables us to develop lubricants that deliver exceptional performance across all critical areas for each application - such as oxidative stability, component wear protection, corrosion control, filterability, shear stability and extreme temperature performance.

Mobil Industrial Lubricants offers a comprehensive line of high performance lubricants which include turbine oils, gas engine oils and gear oils. For the power sector specifically, its portfolio includes the following:

  • Turbine oils : Mobil SHC 800, Mobil DTE 700 series Mobil DTE 800 series and Mobil DTE 900 series
  • Gas engine oils : Mobil Pegasus and Mobil SHC Pegasus
  • Range of industry leading wind turbine lubricants – Mobilgear SHC XMP series, Mobilgear SHC 320WT and Mobil  SHC grease 460WT
  • Other Mobil SHC branded products for power generation auxiliary equipment

Mobil SHC lubricants offer advantages that mineral oils simply cannot match. Under severe operating conditions, such as high temperatures, loads and pressures, frequent starts and stops, wide operating temperature ranges and contamination, Mobil SHC lubricants become even more critical to help ensure reliable operations whether for gears, compressors, bearings or air compressors. For example, the upper operating limit for Mobil SHC lubricants is typically 50°C higher than the maximum operating temperatures for high-quality mineral oils. And with excellent thermal stability and oxidation resistance, deposit formation can be reduced while extending oil drain intervals. Even while working in low-temperature environments, a high VI gives Mobil SHC lubricants the ability to flow at such temperatures, while helping to provide better film thickness and as a result, wear protection to machine elements.

All these attributes of Mobil SHC lubricants result in another advantage: energy efficiency benefits. Synthetics help provide a thicker lubricant film at operating temperature compared to mineral oils, thus helping reduce the extent of metal-to-metal contact and the associated energy loss. Energy can also be lost due to churn as mechanical parts move through oil: synthetics have a lower viscosity when compared to mineral counterparts of the same ISO viscosity grade at start-up, which results in lower churn energy loss than a mineral. Finally, since Mobil SHC lubricants have a low traction coefficient, they impart energy efficiency benefits to the user / equipment.

A testament of Mobil SHC’s success is how Monmouth Energy in the US put Mobil SHC 824 to the test by running a solar gas turbine for over 90,000 operating hours! This is a great example of a turbine-based power generation application using Mobil SHC.

2) When we talk about the energy efficiency of lubricants from ExxonMobil, do we also factor in the frequency of changing the lubricant i.e. such lubricants would not require frequent changing?

Ans: An energy efficient lubricant works in extreme conditions while ensuring an overall reduction in energy consumption of the equipment, along with a significant reduction in carbon emissions.

Mobil Industrial Lubricants range of energy efficient lubricants currently includes the next-generation Mobil SHC 600 series, Mobil SHC Gear series, Mobil SHC Pegasus, Mobil SHC Cibus series, Mobil SHC 500 series and Mobil DTE 10 Excel series.

Our flagship Mobil SHC line of synthetic industrial lubricants helps provide better equipment protection resulting in longer equipment life, extend oil life and enable problem free operation  delivering  exceptional, long-lasting performance and protection and  valuable energy efficiency benefits . With excellent thermal stability and oxidation resistance, deposit formation can be reduced while extending oil drain intervals with Mobil SHC products. Higher oxidation stability means longer life under even the most severe operating conditions. Longer oil life also equates to less maintenance, lower labour costs, and less downtime. All these factors directly impact one’s maintenance budget. For instance, Mobil SHC synthetic gear oils last as much as three to four times longer than conventional mineral type gear oil. Extending drain intervals reduces the amount of waste oil and directly affects the amount of money spent on lubricants each year.

For example, in engines burning natural gas, Mobil SHC Pegasus 30 has demonstrated up to 1.5% energy savings in power generation and natural gas compression application system. In field demonstrations, Mobil SHC Pegasus 30 clocked more than 16,500 hours of oil drain interval which is four times that of competing products. Energy efficiency of 1.5% directly relates to fuel economy resulting in significant productivity savings for the customer. Additionally higher drain interval means less environmental impact due to reduced waste oil generation.

3) Explain the Signum oil analysis programme and which are the application areas?

Ans: To support Mobil’s available product portfolio, high level of performance is not enough; it is also important to deliver technical services and support to Mobil customers at the right time so as to achieve superior product performance and deliver sustainability benefits.

Mobil’s Signum oil analysis program is specifically tailored to monitor critical indicators for in-service lubricating oils. Signum has become a global service based on over 40 years of expertise in lubricating oil analysis. It delivers safety, productivity and environmental care because it is supported by the full technical rigor of the ExxonMobil team of formulators, scientists and engineers who not only develop the products, but understand their performance and life cycle in the field. The Signum program  also uses the most sophisticated interpretation logic and the most extensive used-oil analysis limits database available today—a full spectrum of analytics to ensure accuracy.

At Mobil Industrial Lubricants, we are committed to helping companies be safer, more productive, and more aware of environmental care practices. By taking a proactive, predictive approach to maintenance through Signum Oil Analysis, the customer can prevent costly production delays and equipment failures, while helping to protect workers as well as the environment.

Signum can analyze oil products from other brands as well. The Signum Laboratory is capable of processing several hundred samples analyses a day, and can generate, for most client applications, a comprehensive analysis report in 48 hours after sample reception receipt. Managing over one million samples a year, Signum delivers timely and useful oil analysis results with three key benefits:

  • Flexibility – Customers’ oil analysis results can be accessed anytime online. Customer can also manage and modify equipment registrations in our online system
  • Expertise – Test control limits are based on ExxonMobil’s unparalleled knowledge of our lubricants and how they perform over time, as well as our relationships with global equipment builders. Our analysis identifies potential issues and recommends actions for follow-up
  • Quality – ExxonMobil’s Quality Practices and Guidelines (QP&G) standard are implemented in Signum laboratories, and this aligns with both ASTM D6792 and ISO 17025

With our lubricant business growing steadily in Asia Pacific, more and more customers are requesting superior oil analysis to improve machine efficiency and reduce downtime. The Signum Laboratory in China is the company’s fourth fully operated Signum laboratory in the world and the first Signum laboratory in Asia Pacific, designed specifically to support our customers using our centralized Signum database. The Signum Laboratory at Asia Products Tech Center (APTC) enables ExxonMobil to provide better support to our customers in Asia Pacific and deliver recommendations tailored to the Asian market.

Signum Oil Analysis is recommended for customers  worldwide across industries  such as Wind, Mining, Steel, Power, Cement, Petro Chemical/Paper, Commercial vehicles (for both on-highway and off-highway equipment)

Few other services offered by Mobil Industrial Lubricants include:

  • Hydraulic system inspections
  • Gear Inspections
  • Trouble Shoot services
  • Lubrication Audits & rationalization
  • Grease training on application and use
  • Centralized grease system analysis and optimization
  • Videoscopy
  • Expert Analysis Services

4) Is the 3-4 per cent energy efficiency applicable across sectors and industries?

Ans: Energy Efficiency is visibly a paramount issue for every company in the global industrial sector, no matter how large their operations are or what they specialize in. Obviously, from an operations and cost efficiency perspective, reducing energy consumption can have a positive impact on a company’s bottom line. Also, minimizing energy consumption can help companies demonstrate to their partners and customers that they are committed to sustainable practices. Deployment of energy efficient technologies reduce the negative impact of energy consumption on the environment and society, at the same time reducing energy costs, thus contributing towards sustainable development.

Energy efficiency benefits vary across sectors and industries. Actual results may vary depending on operating conditions. For example, Energy Efficiency savings to the tune of 1.5%* can be achieved in gas engines operating on Mobil SHC Pegasus 30 in Power generation & Natural Gas compression sectors, while extensive field tests & controlled laboratory assessment have proven up to 3.6%** savings with synthetic product such as Mobil SHC 600 series or Mobil SHC Gear series in various Industrial and Power generation ancillary applications. In hydraulic equipment across many industrial and off-highway applications, one can experience up to 6%*** pump efficiency with Mobil DTE 10 Excel range of products. Understanding equipment and its application, followed by selection of the right lubricant, help gain the maximum mileage from these technologies. 

Hence, Mobil Industrial Lubricants not only keep machines at top performance, but also help improve energy output and reduce carbon emissions at the same time.

*The fuel efficiency of Mobil SHC Pegasus relates solely to the fluid performance when compared with ExxonMobil's standard SAE 40 natural gas engine oils. The technology used allows up to a 1.5% increase in fuel efficiency compared with Mobil Pegasus™ 1005 and 805 Series when tested in standard natural gas engine applications under controlled conditions. Efficiency improvements will vary based on operating conditions. The energy efficiency claim for this product is based on test results on the use of the fluid conducted in accordance with all applicable industry standards and protocols.

** Energy efficiency relates solely to the fluid performance when compared with conventional reference oils of the same viscosity grade in gear applications. The technology used allows up to 3.6% efficiency compared with the reference when tested in circulating and gear applications under controlled conditions. Efficiency improvements will vary based on operating conditions and applications.

*** Energy efficiency relates solely to the fluid performance when compared with ExxonMobil's standard hydraulic fluids. The technology used allows up to 6% increase in hydraulic pump efficiency compared with Mobil DTE 20 Series when tested in standard hydraulic applications. The energy efficiency claim for this product is based on test results on the use of fluid conducted in a controlled laboratory environment in accordance with all applicable industry standards and protocols. Actual results may vary depending on operating conditions