ISO requirements for oil?

Not open for further replies.


Staff member
May 27, 2002
Guelph, Ontario
Someone asked me about the ISO requirements on oils, and I'm not sure exactly what that is. How does this compare to the API standards? Is ISO the European standards perhaps?
ISO (International Standard Organization) Has various standards but they cover how a business is organized, keeps records, and its quality system. As a result they have no direct bearing on the products except to check that they are just what the registered company says they are, etc. In other words you will see it on flags or signs outside plants and on company literature but not on products as a product rating. Hope this helps. RW
ISO is in everything to different degrees, including API specifications. But I do believe they have a oil/gas section now with standards similar to API's. (Since the 80's.) They started by adopting a number of API standards and have grown from there. Don't khow how these are adopted by countries but EU countries use EN or somesuch. What are the Mercedes oil requirements? Trace back from those and it should fall out. Originally I think ISO's getting into the business was due to politicial & technical pressures (early EU, CAFE vs. world, desire for a non-US-centric source, etc.) Since then I've heard there's also lots of pressure to standardize across standards bodies for efficiency, of course with API offering their existing standards as a starting place. [Smile] Hope someone in the business can correct/elaborate. David
I've worked for a couple of companies that went for the ISO 9000 standards, so I knew about that, I just didn't know how it related to oil. Someone asked me about ISO in relation to oil, as I had mentioned that Royal Purple's higher level of phosphorus in their racing oil meant it wouldn't qualify for an API certification, and they wondered how it related to ISO.
ISO (International Standards Organization) does not have oil quality standards. They are, however involved in viscosities and almost everything we touch theses days. The viscosities for industrial oils (gears, hydraulics, compressors, etc. used to vary all over the place: you could see equipment asking for VG (Viscosity Grade) 37, 42, 78, etc. Also you saw companies specifying the oil viscosity at 50 C or 70 C. ISO came along and after working with the industry came out with suggested standards: That the Viscosity be specified at 40 C or 100 C, and that it be in increments in a scale that starts thin and adds 50% visc to each succeeding number: ISO 32, 46, 68, 100, 150, etc. each is 50% more viscous. For the most part this works and makes it easier to cross reference and supply, although there is still some old equipment that requires other grades.(I have a customer who needs a VG 78 turbine oil - 68 is too thin and 100 too thick). Bob has a chart posted here that shows the relationship to SAE viscosity grades. ISO also came up with the little symbols on the dash board of cars that standardize the little snowflake as the button for A/C, the icon's on the dash, etc. They are working on standardization of sizes of clothes and shoes so all "M" shirts would be the same size, no matter what brand or country of origen. They are standardizing everything that they can. The ISO 9000 family of numbers is very misunderstood. ISO 9000 or 9002 does not guarantee quality. ISO 9002 is not better than 9001, the company with ISO 9002 basically is just not involved in development, only production, sales, etc. The ISO 9000 family guarantees that the plant has controls in place that should guarantee that product "X" will be produced the same day-in and day-out, no matter who is working. It puts no standards on the actual product you produce. ISO does not inspect or certify, certification is done by third parties. It's implementation and inspection varies more from country to country than they would like to admit. Many of the ISO 9002 certificates in Latin American would be revoked if a US inspector checked.
Widman, I was pretty sure ISO started a set of petroleum standards that served similar purposes as API's. I've heard about it offhand talking to people and reading but never paid much attention. So I just googled a few minutes. Came up with some pretty pictures & lots about ISO standards for production (ISO/TC67): drilling, pipes, etc. Very little about non-production standards until hitting TC28. From an OGP Standards Bulletin: "The American Petroleum Institute (API) oil industry standardization efforts date back to 1923. In the 76 years since, API has developed a suite of standards that have become de facto global standards in most areas of the world. API therefore supports the industry aim for development of International Standards for the petroleum and natural gas industry. In order to help achieve this end, API has assumed the Secretariats of the key oil industry Technical Committees in ISO, namely TC28 (Petroleum products and lubricants) and 67 (Materials, equipment and offshore structures for petroleum and natural gas industries), on behalf of ANSI the US Member body of ISO. API has also provided many of its key standards to be worked in ISO. Member companies of API represent a significant part of the world's oil and gas exploration, production, refining and distribution activities. It is important that the International Standards developed in TC28 and TC67 are commercially relevant and are widely used around the world. Therefore the intellectual input from API committees needs to be fully engaged with that from Europe and the Rest of the World in order to create a single set of words to be adopted in local, regional and International Standards. Thus may the vision be fulfilled: "Global standards used locally worldwide."" It all seems relatively recent. Check out TC28/Subcommittee 4: Workgroups: WG 1: Classifications and specifications of petroleum products and lubricants - General WG 2: Classifications and specifications of lubricants for air, gas & refrigerating compressors WG 3: Joint ISO/TC 28-ISO/TC 131 WG: Classification and specifications of hydraulic fluids WG 4: Classification and specifications of lubricants and fire-resistant fluids for turbines WG 6: Classification and specification of marine fuels WG 7: Classification and specification of greases WG 8: Classification and specification of LPG WG 10: Classification and specification of gear lubricants WG 11: Classification and specifications of metal working fluids & temporary protection against corrosion fluids WG 12: Two stroke cycle gasoline engine oils I might dig through more of these later. International standards are not my thing but this evolution is kind of interesting. Is CAFE influencing world oil standards after all? [Smile] :gagicon: David
Looks like some of this is work in progress and others are standards for sale. Maybe someone will be able to drill through it of find the applicable work to put here. sure doesn't show up on spec sheets and standards people try to meet.
Not open for further replies.