Shell Technology Center Tour

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13,616
Location
Frisco, TX
Shell Technology Center Houston is one of the largest technology centers in the world. Join me, EricTheCarGuy, Scotty Kilmer, Humble Mechanic, and others for a tour of the advanced machinery and testing used to develop the oils and fuels that power your car. We'll take a look at clean valves vs dirty valves, gas chromatography, engine wear and how it's tested, cold start wear, and Shell's one of a kind "Clean Machine" which tests the cleanliness of pistons with various oils.
 
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218
Location
Florida
Many thanks for that! Fantastic tour! I know they can't get into the super-secret proprietary stuff, yet this was a great view of what the tribologists have to demonstrate performance. Surprising they use 1/2 used taxi oil and 1/2 new oil when doing their SequenceIIIG-correlated test rig, the "Clean Machine" to get a quicker look at piston deposit severity. And their other RASER rigs show the value of a quick screening tool, if the rolling and sliding ratios are adequate to roughly duplicate engine conditions. Sounds like the kind of thing 540rat has been trying to do, although I'd bet he'd need true validation like Shell uses.
 
Messages
218
Location
Florida
One comment on one of the tour guide's remarks: She said "...so that we can continue to have products that are cleaner and cleaner..." That I don't quite understand. Someone explain that one to me. I thought the motor oil marketplace was specification-driven ONLY (SN, dexos1, HTO-06, etc.), meaning that once Shell has a product that meets/exceeds the spec, they can stop developing, as there is no more incentive to have a product that exceeds a set of target specs any more. Maybe their looking at SP and GF-6, don't know.
 
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1,848
Location
Laramie, WY
Originally Posted By: ElastoHydro
One comment on one of the tour guide's remarks: She said "...so that we can continue to have products that are cleaner and cleaner..." That I don't quite understand. Someone explain that one to me. I thought the motor oil marketplace was specification-driven ONLY (SN, dexos1, HTO-06, etc.), meaning that once Shell has a product that meets/exceeds the spec, they can stop developing, as there is no more incentive to have a product that exceeds a set of target specs any more. Maybe their looking at SP and GF-6, don't know.
Wouldn't it be fair to be given a set of specification ahead of time to develop motor oil for the upcoming certifications? I would think so.
 
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2,466
Location
Pennsylvania
It is like ASTM. Companies are members and are represented on the committees. It is these working committies that deal with the actual implentation of what is desired so all of the mebers have input and know well ahead of time what they need to do. So Shell is well aware of where they need to be with oil specs in the next ten years or so and are busy working to make sure they have products that will fit the bill when the time comes.
 
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211
Location
Sta Catarina, Br
IMO, the SN, dexos1, HTO-06, ILSAC, ACEA JASO certificatios, etc, they're all MINIMUM SPECS for engine development, so the manufacturer can have a more efficient engine without damage, knowing they will endure. The industry orient the API requirements and even ASTM tests, so the can launch new technologies that will prevail and not get stuck with under servicing. Industry and oil certificators are working together about the Minimums to be maintened over time from a certain moment, so they can evolve. They have to have a WIDE BASE SERVICE. But the oil companies can go further and make better products to attend beyond the minimums, focusing in certain areas, as cleanines, resiliance, etc. They know engines run hotter day after day, with smaller sumps, for longer drain intervals. The minimum imposed is the "start to play" basis and just warrants what's on your owners manual, but you can have a superior product paying for premium ones.
 
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147
Location
Ft. Collins
Originally Posted By: 01_celica_gt
Originally Posted By: ElastoHydro
One comment on one of the tour guide's remarks: She said "...so that we can continue to have products that are cleaner and cleaner..." That I don't quite understand. Someone explain that one to me. I thought the motor oil marketplace was specification-driven ONLY (SN, dexos1, HTO-06, etc.), meaning that once Shell has a product that meets/exceeds the spec, they can stop developing, as there is no more incentive to have a product that exceeds a set of target specs any more. Maybe their looking at SP and GF-6, don't know.
Wouldn't it be fair to be given a set of specification ahead of time to develop motor oil for the upcoming certifications? I would think so.
It does look like GF-6 formulations are being finalized now. Thats what Shell is prepping for. Sure if there was no new performance targets to meet they could just freeze their current formulations and fire all the engineers. Reference: http://www.gf-6.com/specification_details Notice GF-6, compared to GF-5, will demand better performance in sludge, wear, timing chain wear, oxidative thickening, turbo protection.
 
Messages
147
Location
Ft. Collins
Originally Posted By: Rosetta
The minimum imposed is the "start to play" basis and just warrants what's on your owners manual, but you can have a superior product paying for premium ones.
I've seen oils like Castrol GTX SynBlend synthetic blend oil claiming 1/5 the wear that SN calls for, using it as a marketing tool, printed on the bottles and jugs to try to get Walmart shoppers to choose that one. Still, most of the time it just doesn't pay to exceed specs you have printed on the bottle. Most oil change businesses only care that SN/GF-5, for example, is on the bottle, and they don't care how much better the oil really performs on each test.
 
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211
Location
Sta Catarina, Br
Maybe a bunch top synthetic oils already beats GF6A since last decade ... They will test the oil and put another label on it, saying GF6A. Some will need to upgrade formula with titanium, tri-moly or something to get the certification.
 
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2,329
Location
Lexington, KY
Originally Posted By: route66mike
... oil claiming 1/5 the wear that SN calls for, using it as a marketing tool, printed on the bottles and jugs ...
As you write, that is merely a marketing claim. It says nothing specific. Perhaps the oil excels at one of the wear tests. Perhaps most oils on the shelf excel at that test too. Overall there is a balance to be met - of multiple performance requirements, and cost limitations.
 
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