We've collated the latest news from the lubricants and speciality chemicals industry. Please find a summary of the news pieces below with commentary from Andrew England, our desk lead in the sector, on how these updates may affect the hiring landscape and those within the industry.
Shell revamps remote operations with augmented reality helmet
Royal Dutch Shell’s plans to connect its frontline field workers with back office expertise through the use of a new augmented reality (AR) hard hat is being increasingly used in lubricant plants in China, Germany, Indonesia, Russia, Singapore and the US to help improve productivity and safety, and reduce costs.
Andrew commented; “Using technology in this way could help extend the careers of engineers who can’t physically get to site or are not able to be on site. The potential to stop the brain drain with senior people leaving the industry is also possible, as new engineers could be trained remotely.”
In a conversation with Andrew on the benefits to employees, Richard Jory, Vice President of the Lubricants Supply Chain at Shell said; “This type of technology can enable greater inclusion in the workplace.”
Future of automotive lubricants, can e-fluids be far behind?
Dwindling internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle sales are affecting the hugely profitable automotive oils, fluids and lubricants industry. The demand for traditional lubricants and hydraulic fluids is plunging, leaving lubricant manufacturers and the associated aftermarket struggling to find new revenue sources. But hold off writing their obituary just yet, electrified vehicles—hybrids, electric and fuel cell powered, among them—are emerging as a vigorous new lifeline.
“This provides a very interesting view of the future of automotive lubricants and fluids. For someone looking to start their career in automotive, it may be the right time to consider a path that leads into this area," says Andrew.
Chevron announces first 100% renewable base oil production
As part of its aim to find more reliable, affordable and cleaner solutions that scale, Chevron Products Company, a division of Chevron U.S.A. Inc., and Novvi LLC has announced the first production of 100% renewable base oil from Novvi’s Deer Park, Houston Facility.
“The market for renewable products is growing and is certain to be an area in which we will see more activity. Although a change, this direction of travel needs to be embraced – which shouldn’t be a problem for this sector, which has always been resilient," commented Andrew.
Superlubricity: A new era in solid lubrication technology?
Argonne National Laboratory’s research is giving rise to a new era in solid lubrication technology. The potential for robust, long-lasting superlubricity in real-world industrial applications appears almost limitless with the technology poised to have a sizable impact on the global lubricant industry. Could superlubricity completely supplant oil as a lubricant in some industries?
Andrew said; “This latest news from Fuel and Lubes is one for the techies among us, but whatever your bag, it’s an interesting read on the often forgotten world of solid lubricants.”