HDEO Cold Temp Operability - Whitepaper

The single most important characteristic when selecting a lubricant is viscosity, which is defined as a measure of a fluid’s resistance to flow. With lubricants, there is a need for a balance when it comes to viscosity – too viscous (too thick) can equate in viscous drag and lost efficiency, while too thin of an oil film can expose the piece of equipment to catastrophic wear.

Viscosity is highly dependent on temperature. Consider a jar of honey, for example. If you were to place the jar of honey in the fridge, it would be tough to pour immediately. You place the jar in a microwave, and it flows quickly and easily once it has warmed up. This is very similar with oil.

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) set requirements for which grades of oil (viscosities) are to be used within specific applications, including operating climate. Prior to multi-viscosity oils, owner-operators would switch from a “summer” weight of oil (higher viscosity) to a “winter” weight (lower viscosity), since oil tends to thicken during cold temperatures and thin out during warmer temperatures. In today’s market, the use of viscosity modifiers, also known as viscosity index improvers, provide equipment owners the ability to use one oil across seasons.  Viscosity modifiers lesson the temperature dependence of lubricants – they expand when temperatures increase, to provide adequate fluid film, and contract in cold temperatures to provide quicker cold flow.

Let’s focus in on cold temperature operability and the “W” (known as “winter”) in a multi-viscosity diesel engine oil. It is proven that the most wear in an engine occurs upon start-up. If the oil does not pump throughout the system or does not allow the engine to crank over, the system can be starved of proper lubrication. There are different components that make up engine oil and affect how well the oil will perform in cold temperatures. Base oil selection, the additive package and viscosity modifier technology all have an impact on how the oil will perform once it is cold (and hot), and these characteristics also affect how one oil compares to another.

When looking at a spec sheet, you will likely find two industry tests for cold temperature operability: Cold Cranking Simulator (CCS) and Mini Rotary Viscometer (MRV) are two common tests for engine oils. The Cold Cranking test is temperature controlled and designed to represent how the engine will crank with the oil in application. The MRV test is designed to show how the oil will pump from the oil sump to the engine and the engine galleries. However, these results on specification sheets tell an operator how the oil performs in a “fresh oil” environment, prior to completing a drain interval. The true representation of the performance is in testing the oil after it has “aged.”

Archer Lubricants has conducted testing on how well Archer Premium Arpeco performs in cold temperatures and has proven to flow quickly and easily, even throughout the oil drain interval. A balanced formulation in Archer Premium Arpeco is what sets the cold temperature performance apart from other fluids. Antioxidants, a unique detergent-dispersant package, anti-wear and anti-corrosion components maintain the quality of Archer Premium Arpeco throughout the drain interval, which affects how well the oil will crank and pump throughout the system. A high performing viscosity modifier technology coupled with high quality base stock also impacts the performance of Archer Premium Arpeco during winter months.

Contact your local Archer Lubricants distributor today for more information.