“Shell Lubricants develops products based on deep customer interface”

Akhil Jha, Shell Lubricants
With requirements of lubricants from construction equipment becoming more advanced in character, so as to facilitate working on sites for longer periods based on ever growing compressed work schedules, US-based lubricants major, Shell claims to offer products and solutions that goes beyond the sole conventional domain of offering lubricants. Mr. Akhil Jha, VP Technical-Shell Lubricants India spelt out the details of the value-proposition being offered by the company, in an interview with P. P. Basistha, which is likely to contribute towards the brand recall in the construction equipment market characterizing high level of value-based demand.

Have there been recent launches across your product categories pertaining to engine oils, hydraulic oils and greases with higher drain out intervals?
We recently introduced the 'Shell Tellus S3 V 46 hydraulic fluids' for the construction equipment industry. The present generation construction machines come fitted with powerful hydraulic systems, and hydraulic fluids with conventional technology are unable to meet the required performance level in the given working conditions. For example, they are unable to deliver higher oil drain interval (ODI), extended operating temperature range, perform for stretched working hours and provide enhanced equipment protection and their reliability.

Shell Tellus S3 V 46 has been developed with the intent of providing optimum value to our stakeholders through a lubricant that also ensures quality wear protection, long oil life, and system efficiency. The strength of this product lies in the advanced ash-less technology that delivers up to five times longer life, improved pump's protection, and high-efficiency level.

Our premium engine oil, 'Shell Rimula T5E 10 W 40' launched in 2015, offers fuel economy up to 3% in modern engine. We have received encouraging feedback from the field including construction equipment like excavator. In Indian construction segment, fuel accounts for major operating cost often >50%. Shell Rimula T5E 10W 40 is introduced after severe testing in Indian conditions. The journey commenced in 2010 and it had taken four years to complete the final validation at ARAI. In laboratory and field tests conducted with Tata Motors, synthetic technology. Shell Rimula T5 E 10W-30 has shown to improve fuel-economy by ~ 3%, when compared with SAE 15W-40 oil. This has been substantiated in laboratory engine tests, Chassis Dyno Testing on customized and representative Indian Tata CV drive cycle (ARAI) and Field Trial.

In grease segment, we have completed various projects on Pin Bush application of excavator where we had shown improvement in the re-greasing interval by 6 times with Gadus S3 V 460 D2 with exiting greases.

There is growing demand of value-added products, for hydraulic systems to perform in water and muck for equipment working in quarries. Has there been any recent introduction towards the same?
Contamination remains the major challenge in hydraulics' application in construction and quarries. We have noticed tremendous improvement in maintaining the cleanliness level of hydraulic system and its performance improvement with Shell Tellus Grades. We have generated few demonstrated value records on Tellus

Grades in off highway application with extended drain by controlling the contamination through shell value-added services such as lube coach program and Shell LubeAnalyst.

What are your existing verticals for the construction and mining equipment? Have there been recent improvements in compositions of the existing products with better value proposition? Our verticals comprises engine oils, mobile hydraulic oils, greases, transmission & axle oils, and gear oils.

What are the new initiatives to strengthen your R&D support and collaboration with the original equipment manufacturers?
Shell Lubricants employs its unique 4D technology approach to develop next generation of innovative lubricant solutions. This is a systematic approach that combines a deep understanding of customer challenges with applied fundamental science to help deliver customer benefits through technology. The four-stage 4D approach comprises: 1. Define (the customer challenge), 2. Design (the solution), 3. Develop (the technology), and 4. Demonstrate (the value). Shell has developed high quality lubricants made using the latest gas-to-liquids (GTL)-based technology base oils. At the heart of our natural GTL plants is our proprietary technology, developed over nearly four decades. GTL-based transformer oil is based upon a manufactured hydrocarbon (primarily iso-paraffinic) derived initially from natural gas. Natural gas (methane) is converted, through a three-stage process, into a range of GTL products including base oils suitable for making high-performance lubricants, using proprietary technology.

What are your new initiatives for engine condition monitoring, and related product support services?
We engage with our customers at the initial stage itself and work together towards providing the best lubricants and value-added services suiting their requirements. Some of the important services, we offer are: Shell Lube Analyst. It is a global oil and equipment condition monitoring service, which includes a comprehensive range of tests. These are based on a simple-to-use pre-paid kit format for the most common high volume samples, and more advanced less-frequent post-paid specialist diagnosis services. The service will be delivered through network of contracted Shell and 3rd party laboratories. Shell considers user feedback as a vital part of the process to maintain and enhance the portal content and tools.

Our other services are, Shell LubeMatch. It is a 24/7 web-based product recommendation tool providing self-help through net. It provides simple lubrication recommendations for vehicles and equipment plus oil drain out intervals. 'Shell LubeAdvisor', 'Shell Lube Coach', 'Shell Video Check', 'Distributors Virtual Assistant – Shelly' are our other product support services tools.

To support the requirements of construction equipment and mining sector, what are the new initiatives being undertaken to leverage your distribution network and strategic stock points for timely supply of the lubricants to project sites?
Our production, storage, and supply facilities include our state-of-the-art blending plant at Taloja, near Mumbai, four regional distribution centres, and 12 depots. All of these are strategically located to ensure products are available throughout the country. These facilities enable us to effectively meet the demands of our customers.

What are the initiatives to strengthen your brand portfolio, so as to ensure brand recall?
In order to build the brand recall for Shell Lubricants, we often host forums and seminars relevant to the sector. Recently, we successfully hosted Shell Lubricants 1st Technical Seminar for the construction and cement customers in Hyderabad. The core objective of the seminar was to showcase Shell Lubricants' cutting-edge technical solutions offered in the sector. This event received a tremendous response, and was witnessed by over 50 participants from different construction and cement companies like Reliance ADAG, Ultratech Cement, Ambuja Cement, and Jaypee Cement, amongst others. Additionally, we try and make sure our representatives are present at different industry events pertaining to the construction and mining sector. For instance, we will be present at the upcoming EXCON 2015 event in Bengaluru in a major way with few exciting activities.
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