Fleet equipment and fuel diversification has led to a more complicated maintenance shop. E-commerce has forced the hands of carriers that, to provide end-to-end customer service, have increasingly turned their Class 8-only fleets into a mix of vehicle weight classes, even down to Class 1 small vans, and that has meant different engine oils.
The fuel mix has added additional complications. Diesel vehicles have traditionally required one type of engine oil, gas vehicles another and natural gas a third.
In 2018, Valvoline (NYSE: VVV) attempted to address this problem with its Premium Blue One Solution, but as a first-generation product, it had some limitations. The company has attempted to solve these with the release of its next variation of the oil.
Valvoline Premium Blue One Solution Gen2 is a multiuse, multi-platform oil. Blue One Solution is designed to work in engines of all types — from light duty through heavy duty — and across fuel types, including diesel, gasoline and natural gas.
“Innovation takes effort, but most importantly, it requires us to listen to our customers and work closely with partners like Cummins,” said David Young, Valvoline Heavy Duty vice president of sales. “When we do this effectively, we can deliver value for our fleet customers by reducing downtime and costs — all while simplifying their operations. We are confident that this second-generation engine oil has the tremendous potential to grow the multi-fuel engine oil category that Valvoline helped establish in 2018. More and more, fleet managers are starting to realize the benefits it can provide.”
Premium Blue One Solution Gen2 is approved for use in Cummins’ (NYSE: CMI) current portfolio of products in North America, including as a factory-fill option for Cummins Natural Gas engines (ISX12 N, L9N, B6.7N) and the Cummins X15, X12, L9 and B6.7 diesel engines. The company said it meets or exceeds requirements for other original equipment manufacturers and is licensed for API service categories CK-4 and SP.
Eric Bevevino, Valvoline’s director of heavy-duty national accounts, told FreightWaves the complexity of having to stock multiple oils for multiple vehicles and fuel types opened the door to a potentially costly mistake for maintenance shops: putting the wrong oil in the wrong engine.
“The mistakes in the shop for these engines is essentially foolproof [with the new oil],” Bevevino said.
The biggest limitation to the first-generation product was the drain intervals. The new product, developed in partnership with Cummins Spark-Ignited Engineering, extends drains further for both natural gas and diesel engines. The oil offers a 5,000-mile drain interval extension for most duty cycles when used in the Cummins X15 and X12 diesel platforms and a 500-hour drain interval extension on Cummins ISL G and L9N engine platforms.
“Almost every single natural gas customer we sat down with said, ‘This is great [that] you are extending my drains on natural gas engines, but what about diesel? And by the way, we do have gasoline engines in our fleet,’” Bevevino said. “That’s what drove the innovation for the Gen2 product.”
Jeff Torkelson, Valvoline’s senior technical director, explained that evolutions in technology, especially for diesel engines, enabled the company to develop this all-in-one engine oil.
“In the past it would have been a lot more difficult [to develop a single oil],” he said. “As diesel engines have evolved over the years, they have changed their combustion characteristics so they are burning a lot hotter. And natural gas engines do burn hot … so as diesel engines have evolved to burn hotter, they are becoming more and more like a natural gas engine in that way.”
Torkelson said Valvoline worked with its additive suppliers and with Cummins to ensure the oil met specifications for diesel, natural gas and gas engines. Premium Blue One Solution Gen2 is an API CK-4 licensed oil so it is suitable for most diesel engines used in North America. Cummins has been a partner of Vavoline’s for 25 years and its expertise and large market share in natural gas engines was expertise Valvoline wanted to tap when developing the oil.
The oil is not FA-4 licensed, Torkelson explained, because natural gas engine specifications do not allow use of an FA-4 oil, but it is available in both 15W-40 and 10W-30 versions.
Premium Blue One Solution Gen2 is available today nationwide.