Valvoline Infrastructure Forum

Enhanced customer support to be provided by the US lubricants producing major, Valvoline.
P.P.Basistha

An interactive meet was organized by Valvoline Cummins Limited with companies from the mining and construction industry in North India, in New Delhi recently. The company disseminated information on various international technological advancements taking place in engines and how Valvoline is poised to suit the newer engine requirements with its multiproduct lubricants offering backed by adequate service support, tailor made to the requirements of customers in mining and construction sectors.

This meet was attended by Valvoline senior officials comprising Dr. Frances Lockwood, Senior Vice President, Research and Development; Mr. Keith Lachance-Global OEM Director; Mr. Sandeep Kalia, CEO; Mr. S.K Mukherjee, Chief Technical Officer; Mr. Vikas Kapur (C&I) head and Mr. Alok Agrawal, Regional Manager North, Valvoline.

Alok Agarwal
Welcoming the attendees, Mr. Alok Agrawal introduced all the delegates of the forum and said that Valvoline, today is a partner of choice for the leading infrastructure companies due to having futuristic range of lubricants, innovative value added services and unmatched distribution network especially for remote area. He revealed that the vision of this forum is to make great things happen by bringing confluence of divergent thoughts, ideas and nationalities under one roof.

Vikas Kapur
Thereafter, Mr. Vikas Kapur took the forum and shed lights on Valvoline-Cum- mins association. He informed the audience that Valvoline, the lubricant producing entity is owned by US based Ashland Corporation, specialty chemicals producing firm, and have presence in 100 countries with revenue of $11 billion. The company is represented in India under 50:50 joint venture with Indian engines producing company Cummins. Under the joint venture, Valvoline's lubricants products are co-branded by Cummins. VCL is the fastest growing lubricant brand in India. VCL sold 75 million litres of lubricants during 2011 with revenue of Rs.1100 crores. Valvoline's product offerings in India comprises of engine oils, hydraulic oils, greases, rock drill oils and compressor oils. Business structure of Valvoline in India comprises 300+ employees. The retail customers are catered through 650 channel partners having 28,000 resellers under its umbrella. The institutional buyers are served through 34 Cummins dealers and directly through VCL, whereas the OEM business is served directly by the company. The company has 40 warehouses across the country integrated through SAP.

Dr. Frances Lockwood
Dr. Frances Lockwood, Senior Vice President Research and Development, Valvoline who flew from U.S. to attend this meet says "this type of infrast- ructure forum interactive meet being organized by Valvoline Cummins, will definitely strengthen customers support for our off-highway customers in India, comprising construction and mining industry. Emerging requirement of higher equipment uptime in India, much in sync with global developments, due to growing job volumes and diversified site working conditions, makes it imperative for us to strengthen and expand our customers support in the country as well."

Speaking to attendees, Dr. Frances affirms, "key to our customers support is our wide range of oil testing programmes, customized to the customer's on- and off-site requirements enabling them to have higher equipment uptime. We have even elaborated field testing provisions for our oils, suited to larger size equipment that cannot be brought in-house. Further, we have elaborated fluid analysis programme which collects data on the working of the engines with the oils. On top of it, we have our progressive oil sample testing for used oil analysis, thus helping planned maintenance for the customers to have decreased downtime for the equipment. We have successfully taken field tests of our lubricants across varied engines brands comprising Mahindra, Caterpillar, Cummins, Honda, MTU and others. The field tests have been performed in India, China, Indonesia, Australia and the UK. As a part of customers support, we also undertake extensive product performance tests where the engines are run for extended-hours with our lubricants. Such tests have been conducted for heavy duty dump trucks. A major product performance test is being undertaken for Cummins power pack QSK 60 G in Indonesia to derive the performance ability of the lubricant."

Valvoline Cummins Limited

Mr. S. K. Mukherjee
Mentioning the importance of on-field trials and tests as part of customers sup- port, Mr. S.K. Mukherjee, Chief Technology Officer, Valvoline Cummins Limited, says, "on-field tests and trials hold significance in India as because the equipment both at construction and mining sites work in severe hot, dusty and other inhospitable conditions. Most of the sites are stationed at remote locations. This necessitates sustained site maintenance and support to the equipment, without which frequent breakdown can take place in the machinery in turn making the contractor liable for penalties."

Addressing the customers on the technicalities and composition of lubricants, Dr. Frances states, "Our lubricants are made of predominately group-2 base oils. The formulation of the oils are based on the newer design trends of the electronic engines which characterize advanced mechanical systems, compactness in size, higher power density, tighter tolerance, lighter weight, and advanced emission norms. The composition of the lubricants addresses issues of surface separation, wear control and friction control apart from taking care of heat dissipation and debris removal in the engines during its working cycle. Valvoline's technical support team with data and coordinated information supports our 37 research and development centers across the world and our main lab in Lexington US, is well-positioned to address the lubricants usage issues of customers in India as like in any other parts of the world."

Valvoline Team

Mentioning about advanced quality of lubricants, Mr. Mukherjee adds, "Our EHVI series of hydraulic oil, for excavators and other heavy earthmoving equipment are designed to withstand sudden changes in temperature and varying loads and pressure. The oils have high viscosity index blended with high VI base oils and shear stable VI improvers. They have superior thermal stability and anti-oxidation properties to avoid sludge formulation and to avoid filter blockages. Additionally, the EHVI series of oils have advanced air and water separation characteris- tics which enable its usage for longer periods reducing downtime and maintenance costs."

Valvoline has been supplying lubricants to OEMs in India comprising, Mahindra, Tata, AMW Trucks, Elgi, John Deere. According to the company, group-2 base oils for blending provides better cold flow and pumpability properties to the lubricants. The base oils are procured under long-term contract with refiners involving Exxon Mobil. Additives are procured from Lubrizol. Most of Valvoline's products are registered with API.

Responding to a query from NBM&CW whether the feature of the engines has been a major determining factor in deriving the optimum utility of the Vavloline lubricants given their advanced formulation as claimed, since many customers opt for engines working on combined fuel cycle? Dr Frances admitted, "the issue needs to be closely addressed by the equipment manufacturers." In many cases OEM's have been supplying oversized engines that may not be suitable for desired applications as heavier equipment take their toll on fuel economy.

Mr. Sandeep Kalia
Mentioning about the future plans of the Valvoline on the sidelines of the meet, Mr. Sandeep Kalia says, "we will expand our production capacity through our upcoming 120 million tons blending plant near Mumbai which will produce specialized synthetic lubricants."

A Wide Interactive Meet

At the forum, the presentations were also made by Mr. Ramesh Babu (Head Services and Training), Cummins India on Cummins's business units in India, its product line offerings and future engine manufacturing plans and by Mr. Vipul Mahesh from Diamler on its business in India. Valvoline invited top management of infrastructure majors in an open and constructive dialogue about lubricants in construction and mining industry. The forum has given opportunity to the infrastructure companies to meet their counterparts.

60 odd senior representatives of Valvoline's customers, from Cummins, Diamler, Hindustan Zinc, Patel Engineering, Punj Lloyd, Voltas, R.K. Marble, Durga Construction, Oriental Structural Engineering, Era Infra, C&C among others participated in the interactive infrastructure forum meet. The customers appreciated the extended drain out intervals they have now with Valvoline lubricants, allowing them to minimize equipment downtime. However, they also pointed out that maintaining larger inventory has been an issue at job sites especially on the ones where deployments of large number of equipment are involved.
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