Nigeria’s automotive lubricant market get first commercial laboratory
Makers of automotive lubricants in Nigeria now have an independent commercial laboratory where they can test the quality of products made.
BusinessDay’s story of November 6 had said there was yet an independent commercial lubricant laboratory in the country but the media house’s reporter was later invited to inspect one that was launched last month.
The laboratory offers a broad array of tests to suit lubricant makers, regulators and consumers. It is ISO 17025 certified and registered with the Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria (IPAN). The laboratory complies with relevant test procedures and cross-references with samples from the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM).
Owned by PACEGATE Limited, a subsidiary of the Hana Group and makers of steel drums the PG Labs, which is located in Ilupeju, Lagos is the first and only commercial facility that can run the shear stability test in Nigeria. Shear stability is a measure of the resistance of an oil to change in thickness.
According to Osita Aboloma, director-general, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), over 70 per cent of the lubricants in the market fails the quality parameters of the Nigerian Industrial Standard.
There has to be a way that users can protect themselves, check themselves, know what is right and what is not right. There has to be a way that regulators can also check. SON has been trying to come out with standards that to a very large extent can protect the end-user, but the problem with these standards is that most manufacturers do not have the capacity to test in line with SON requirement.
Big oil companies such as Total and 11 Plc that play in Nigeria’s lubricant market have laboratories but these are obviously not open to the public and in cases of dispute, an independent laboratory is needed.
PG Lab offers S.G ASTM D 1298, ASTM Colour ASTM D 1500, COC Flash Point ASTM D 92, Kinematic Viscosity @ 100C ASTM D 445, Kinematic Viscosity @ 40V ASTM D 445 and Viscosity Index ASTM D 2270.
Others are TBN ASTM D 2896, TAN ASTM D 664, Fresh & Water Metals XRF, Shear Stability ASTM D 6278, Evaporation Loss ASTM D 5800, Sulphated Ash ASTM D 127, Worked Penetration ASTM D 127 and Homogeneity & Miscibility ASTM D 6922.
Umesh Amarnani, managing director (MD), Pacegate Limited, said “PACEGATE is delighted to launch the first laboratory dedicated to the lubricants market. This laboratory will further enhance our technical offerings to our lubricant suppliers, customers and partners, and provide them with local services with an international standard. This is part of our ongoing commitment to providing strong technical support.”
Experts say oil mix up is one of the most common lubrication problems contributing to machinery failure. Putting the right lubricating oil in the equipment is one of the simplest tasks to improve equipment reliability. Checking the viscosity, brand and grade of incoming new oil, and checking any contamination of alien fluids help reduce the chances of oil mix up and keeps the machine operating. This is why laboratories matter.
“The lubricant laboratory is an important milestone in our journey to serve our customers better. At PG Labs, we are committed to improving our services through adequate research and viable practices in order to meet the evolving needs of our customers,” Ayodapo Keshinro, PG Labs principal officer and general manager sales and technical.
Nigeria has an installed lubricant capacity of 600, 000 metric tonnes and needs an independent lubricant’s laboratory to ensure quality. With the recent increase of import duty on base oil and additives (10% duty and 5% value-added tax) and 30 percent duty, 5 percent VAT on finished lubes, investors have a chance to take advantage of investment opportunities in the sector. Nigeria currently accounts for 700 million litres (1%) of global demand.