Sliding into the market
Lubricants are often termed the lifeblood of a machine, and lubricant suppliers are one of the fleet owner’s closest allies in controlling running and maintenance costs. FOCUS takes a closer look at some new names.
The South African lubricants and fuels market is populated by a number of well-established suppliers, mainly representing global companies with state-of-the-art research and development arms operating for decades at the leading edge of today’s technology. These supplier brands are instantly recognisable to almost everyone.
However, over the past few years a number of new names have appeared on the scene, having recognised the potential of the local market and the opportunity to use South Africa as a base to penetrate into the developing African market.
Q8 Oils is a subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum International Lubricants, that owns the second largest oil fields globally. The company is in a position to keep the cost of its finished Gulf-refined products lower than competitors, while providing consistent quality. This quality premium is achieved by using its Kuwaiti crude oil, refined to produce base oils of the highest quality at its Europoort refinery in the Netherlands.
These base oils are then used to manufacture lubricants at one of four ISO-accredited blending plants in Europe – to rigorous specifications that are monitored by its research and development arm, Q8 Research and Technology. Ongoing relationships with all the major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) ensure all Q8 products meet the latest approvals.
Q8 Oils has been appointed as official distributor of Q8 lubricants in South Africa and Africa, holding large stock levels in distribution centres in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.
Motul, a premium and specialist French lubricants company that was established in 1853, has been prominent in the local motorcycle lubricants market for the past 20 years. Motul has now appointed Premium Lubricants, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Imperial Holding Group, as the local distributor for its automotive, industrial and agricultural product ranges. The company offers a wide range of diesel engine, transmission and hydraulic lubricants, brake fluids and coolants.
Historically Motul has stood out from its competitors through its high-tech solutions. A major point of difference is that when Motul oils are recommended for a particular manufacturer, it does not merely mean that the oil meets the manufacturer’s standards but that it has passed the stringent, approved testing through the manufacturer’s specific approval process.
Pertamina Lubricants – the biggest oil and gas company in Indonesia – has built an international presence in 22 countries in Asia, Europe, Japan, Australia, UAE and now Africa. In 2012, Pertamina Lubricants and Indolube collaborated to market and distribute a range of premium Pertamina Lubricants products in South Africa. Indolube is headquartered in Cape Town and has local representation in all major cities in countrywide.
The company has a strong commitment to use its entry into the local market as a gateway to other sub-Saharan African countries. All Pertamina products have gained approval from the majority of the world’s leading engine manufacturers.
Spec Oils provides a unique and modern way to fulfil oil needs. The company researches the quality and pricing of the best local oil companies, and then brands selected oils under the name of Spec Oils. In doing this, clients get the best quality at a competitive price.
Meyburgh Trust has been in the oil business since 1996 and has acquired extensive expertise in all types of lubricants. Marketing is undertaken through Lubricants Online, a virtual shop where fleet owners and consumers can buy engine, hydraulic, industrial, gear and other types of lubricants. With its head office in Bloemfontein, the company is centrally situated to conduct its operations, utilising various courier companies. Suppliers that blend the oils are based throughout South Africa.
OEMs and own-lubricants
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are recognising the importance of the oils used in their trucks. For example, a while ago, Hino SA embarked on a programme known as HinoCare to slash truck operating costs with the introduction of Hino Genuine Motor Oil that permits the doubling of oil change intervals across all Hino ranges. Other OEMs are following the same route.
Oil changes and services are not just a case of pouring new oil into an engine or greasing axles. A number of services have resulted from the various operations that fleet owners have to monitor and action.
Lincoln Lubrication SA
The core business of Lincoln Lubrication SA is described as Asset Protection Management, which comes in various guises and forms, including automatic lubrication systems. Trailers are often one of the forgotten cogs in the transportation industry. Brake lining and drum life is increased with improved connection and release time, due to better S-Cam shaft lubrication.
Lincoln’s Onroad division boasts the Ultra-Gard Central Hand Pump (CHP) that greases an entire trailer with two or three pumps of the CHP. The pump is mounted onto the side of the trailer and pumped manually, as part of the driver’s daily procedures, to ensure proper lubrication.
Oil analysis for wear indications
Another service of value to fleet operators is the regular analysis of oil samples to determine engine wear. The analysis measures the amount of wear and simultaneously analyses the metals and other materials in the oil to pinpoint the exact nature of the wear.
Commercial transport businesses looking to offset the impact of ongoing fuel price increases would do well to look to lubricant and fuel technologies to maintain margins without increasing costs for customers.