OEM Approval Pathway and Challenges

September 30, 2017

When a product is launched, there is no bigger affirmation of its commitment to performance than receiving approvals from major Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).

Whenever we, at RSC Bio Solutions, launch a new product, we always do so with our customers’ and end-users’ needs in mind. We are committed to providing not only the best products for the environment, but also products that guarantee the best performance from your equipment. Continuing to receive OEM approvals for our biodegradable lubricants is of high priority for our team and ensures safety and high performance of your equipment.

The Path to OEM Approvals

The pathway to OEM approval is often wrought with challenges to be overcome. The challenges range from finding the proper contacts to learning the particular OEM’s approval requirements and processes. For starters, because many OEMs require multiple tribology benchmarks (various FZG tests, 4-ball wear, micro-pitting and pump testing) before proceeding with testing, these benchmark tests at times must be repeated, thus adding more time and cost to the approval process.

Once the benchmark tests have gained approval, the actual testing can take six months or longer because many OEMs only run tests on small scale equipment which varies from one OEM to another. Additionally, qualifying fluids is not a top priority for OEMs, meaning cost, timing, and opportunities must be proactively approached throughout the approval process.

Many OEMs require multiple seal approvals, which can trigger more testing. Because each OEM utilizes various blends of rubber for their seals, you cannot predict the outcomes in testing. Some seal materials are solvent (oil) resistant, while others are not.  In addition, some lubricant manufacturers do not house the equipment needed to test, therefore products cannot be screened prior to testing and must rely on the OEM’s initial results.

Furthermore, test results often vary in both time and temperature since there are no consistent test specification standards used across all OEMs. This means, in addition to each OEM’s unique specifications, the volume and hardness of a seal is variable with final specifications at the discretion of the testing OEM.

At times, some OEMs may have four to five seal compounds to test and you must pass all to gain approval. In addition, some OEMs require all viscosity grades to be tested, adding extra cost, and if one viscosity grade fails, none are approved.

Finally, another consideration is timing.  Since OEMs are worldwide, this can add more time to the process and therefore opportunities must be carefully evaluated for cost and significance.

With all this in mind, our goal is providing sustainable solutions enabling you, our customers and end-users, to meet the demanding needs of your operations, and so we continue to overcome these challenges, pressing on toward successful approval.

OEM Approvals in the Marine Industry

Compared to other industries, the marine lubrication industry does not have standard performance specifications to which equipment vendors adhere. Individual manufacturers follow their own unique set of lubrication specification standards among a mass of equipment models uniquely designed with trademarked features and seals, making across the board performance specifications virtually impossible. Ultimately, responsibility rests on equipment manufacturers who must evaluate their equipment’s compatibility with existing Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs). New EALs can be approved and utilized only when they are listed on OEM equipment specs, thus lubricant manufacturers depend on the approval of equipment OEMs.

OEM Approvals in the Land-Based Industries

As with OEM Approvals for the marine industry, the challenges are similar for land-based industries. There are limited industry-wide regulations regarding the use of EALs (i.e. Parker/Denison HF-6 and Eaton/Vickers 35VQ25), though there are projects which specify the use of EALs. This, of course, makes OEMs the gatekeepers and lubricant manufactures dependent on their approval. On top of that, understanding that hydraulic systems and fluids are crucial components of a healthy operation, managers want to know whether a particular fluid will continue to provide all the protection the user’s equipment requires.

Hydraulic fluid specifications are not enough to assure the hydraulic fluid used in the operations will provide adequate protection over the desired timeframe. Specifications provide a basis for performance, but the reality in today’s environment is equipment demands have increased, which has in turn increased the needs for the fluid to perform properly in much harsher conditions.

OEMs make recommendations based on a variety of factors, including the particular component, the operating environment, and price-to-cost ratios. In many instances, the OEM makes its decision for a specific reason. However, lubricants directly impact more than 50 percent of maintenance costs; for this reason, equipment operators should not be shy about seeking the best possible solution for their situation. The key is to be armed with good data and utilize all available resources.

Approved – Delivering the Best

RSC Bio Solutions has numerous approved products in both marine and land-based industries. We continue to have successful multi-year field use in each area. Our high-performance products meet specifications in a variety of equipment on land and sea. Our specially formulated products are biodegradable and designed to reduce the risk of damage and maintain smooth operation of your equipment leading to less downtime, increasing your productivity, and your bottom line – while reducing risk to the environment. RSC Bio Solutions’ FUTERRAand EnviroLogic® series have extensive OEM approvals for both marine and land applications. Click on one of the links below to see the full list of our OEM approved products and their specific applications.

Go to OEM Marine Approvals
Go to OEM Land Approvals

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