Innovation enables our best ideas

Solve someone’s problems and you’ll have a customer for life.

Michael Meuli photo, vice president, technical development

Michael Meuli | VICE PRESIDENT, TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT

History is full of big ideas, and they’ve often been met with resistance. Circumnavigating the globe? Can’t be done. Human flight? Never. Landing a man on the moon? Impossible.

While many of us wring our hands and enumerate the reasons why things can’t be done, the visionaries thankfully soldier on anyway. AMSOIL Dealers need no further proof than our founder, Al Amatuzio, who developed the world’s first synthetic motor oil to meet API requirements despite resistance from industry “experts.”

Realizing a groundbreaking idea often requires innovation. The years between President John F. Kennedy’s declaration to put a man on the moon, in 1961, and Neil Armstrong’s famous step, in 1969, were a flurry of activity that resulted in NASA’s successful Apollo 11 mission.

One small step for man, one giant leap for innovation.

Our goal at AMSOIL is to expand our position at the forefront of innovation. After all, it’s where Al Amatuzio founded the company. That means manufacturing products that solve problems and advance the industry.

Three perfect examples include reformulated Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil, XL Synthetic Motor Oil and OE Synthetic Motor Oil. All three oils deliver 100 percent protection against low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI) in the engine test required for the GM dexos1® Gen 2 specification, helping automakers realize their goal of achieving the best fuel economy possible. Let me explain.

In 2011, the government amended corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards to require that the average fuel economy of auto/light trucks increase to 54.5 mpg by 2025. It’s a huge challenge that some speculate can’t be done, at least not in the next eight years. Even so, the automakers unleashed their engineers and went to work. Their hard work has resulted in today’s smaller turbocharged, gasolinedirect-injection (T-GDI) engines that deliver efficiency gains previously thought impossible. I remember when turbochargers were reserved for highperformance cars, like the Porsche* 911 and Saab* 99. Now, turbos seem to be everywhere. In fact, WardsAuto, a leading industry publication, says turbos were installed in a record 27.6 percent of vehicles built through March 2017. That number is only going to increase.

Unfortunately, LSPI has emerged as a side effect in T-GDI engines. In a nutshell, LSPI is a form of regular engine knock that can occur under low-speed, high-torque conditions, like when taking off from a stoplight. Under normal operation, spark-triggered ignition is timed to work in tandem with downward piston momentum. LSPI occurs when an oil/fuel droplet hiding in the piston crevice launches into the combustion chamber and ignites the fuel/air mixture too early. The resulting force clashes with the upward moving piston and can cause damage. By now, I hope you’ve learned about LSPI using our resources, like Matt Erickson’s Tech Talk column in the April 2017 AMSOIL Magazine and our webpage at http://www.amsoil.com/ lander/lspi-update/.

For now, automakers can program their engines to try to avoid operating conditions that invite LSPI. However, programming their engines to operate on the “ragged edge,” which invites LSPI, can increase fuel economy up to 10 percent. With CAFE standards looming, you can bet automakers are eager to take advantage of those gains.

But, they can’t until motor oils that fight LSPI hit the market. In fact, preventing LSPI is such a concern that it’s the primary reason for the updated API and ILSAC specifications set to take effect in the fall of 2019. The automakers can’t wait that long, however. In a July letter to the American Petroleum Institute, Ron Romano of Ford* Motor Co. urged the API to create a supplement to the ILSAC GF-5 specification “as soon as possible” to measure LSPI protection. The supplement should be able to begin licensing by Jan. 1, 2018, Romano said. “There is an immediate need for preventive action to reduce/ eliminate the occurrence of oil-derived low-speed engine pre-ignition,” he said. “This is needed to protect the numerous turbocharged direct injection engine powered vehicles on the road today that are experiencing and being damaged by LSPI.”

That’s where we come in. Despite their early resistance years ago, the automakers have come to rely on synthetic lubricants to protect their increasingly demanding engines. Today is no different. It takes a finely balanced, innovative oil to fight wear, resist extreme heat, neutralize contaminants, last throughout today’s longer drain intervals and, now, prevent LSPI. And here we are with an answer. As the industry catches up to LSPI, you’re already at the forefront of innovation with a solution to offer your customers.

We have more innovation in store. It’s not just what’s inside the AMSOIL bottle we’re working on, either. Solutions to today’s problems come in many forms. I can’t say more now, so stay tuned.

 

Omaha store note: When you look to see what other companies offer under the guise of updated slogans or waiting till after there’s a list of wear issues with the current blend because they didn’t match the technology, it’s almost as if AMSOIL has a monopoly on innovation and full disclosure.

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