Life is a Highway

A marketing alliance between Ampol and ExxonMobil will involve Ampol blending, distributing and marketing Mobil lubricants in Australia, including the premium product range Mobil Delvac.

Iconic Australian brand Ampol, a presence on local forecourts since 1936, returned in 2020 after a 25-year hiatus. Part of the revitalisation of the iconic brand across Australia, is rebranding all of its service stations to Ampol.

As it is committed to delivering world-class products to Australian customers, Ampol, in line with the agreement announced last year, that it will blend, distribute and market Mobil lubricants in Australia. By leveraging Ampol’s scale and strong customer relationships, ExxonMobil can deliver its advanced lubricants to an increased number of customers across the country.

Mobil Delvac is expected to form the bulk of these products and will be supplied to retail and business customers through a combination of direct and distributor channels.

Nearly a century of experience and innovation has gone into Mobil Delvac. Its uses are many in the rugged environs Australian trucks are asked to operate daily, often without reprieve. National transport company KS Freighters have recently transitioned to the Mobil Delvac products.

The fleet had formerly been relying on a previous range of products. Darryn Hall, K&S Group National Maintenance Manager, joined the company following commencement of the introduction of the Mobil Delvac Modern product range into a fleet that operates in a range of challenging conditions across the country.

At present the main product – namely 15w-40 rated Delvac Modern – is being evaluated through three different segments of its national operations.

These are the heavy haulage fleet, linehaul prime movers and Chemtrans, its licenced dangerous goods and explosives speciality division.

The predominant truck brand is Scania, but there are also a few Kenworth and Mack trucks involved. In total this would involve close to 2000 commercial vehicles nationwide.

“The underlying driver was really about the alignment of the oils for our equipment,” says Darryn. “The decision to do so was primarily made regarding the performance and cost, as is most things.”

A trial process of three months eventuated after Ampol pitched K&S Freighters the Mobil Delvac Modern products.

The range of engine oils and advanced lubricants have been formulated to extend the life of road transport equipment.

Leading transport operators like K&S Freighters are, through close examination, checking to see if fifth wheels and universal joints receive greater protection against rust and corrosion, transmissions are running smoother, and if leakage on steer axles wheel bearings have been noticeably reduced. In heavy haulage operations, the differentials are operating under extreme conditions.

Greasing points on the tie-rod ends, spring pin bushings, king pins and chassis must also be protected.

Upon completion of this 12-week evaluation period K&S Freighters, according to Darryn, were more than happy to proceed with a commitment to the Mobil Delvac products.

“As part of the transition we’re doing a fairly deep system of oil testing to monitor how it’s going,” says Darryn. “We put into play a full-service cycle but instead of doing the sampling at the service interval we have performed it every four weeks to see how it was tracking.”

In this way K&S Freighters can better stay on top of the monitoring of the equipment in direct comparison to the new oil and note any changes.

“What we were interested in seeing is if there are any adverse reactions,” he says. “We didn’t believe there were going to be any big differences. But we wanted to make sure the oil was behaving the way it was supposed to behave. That’s why we looked at it on a shorter cycle of monthly runs rather than the full-service cycle.”

K&S usually performs oil sampling at each of its prescribed service intervals.

These samples are subsequently analysed. Confirmation is sought on whether the oil is holding its consistency and the base is still intact.

It’s also checked for signs of any wear with metals in the oil or in case dirt may have found its way into the mix.

“We’re seeing nothing in the oil tests to suggest there’s any issues,” says Darryn. “They’re certainly doing their service intervals. At this stage we’re very happy.”

Part of Darryn’s job is to centralise the results he collects from various workshop managers across the country.

The data records are held by Darryn through the fleet maintenance systems. As trucks used on operations for interstate linehaul, heavy haulage and dangerous goods hauling utilise different operating systems it was crucial for Darryn that he found a single point of lubricant source that meets with all of these conditions.

“What we didn’t want was to have an oil drum for linehaul, an oil drum for local,” he says. “We were looking for a product that could actually work under all types of operating conditions and what we’ve seen with the Delvac range so far is it does that.”

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