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There is more to your cylinder oil than its base number

Steve Walker, Global Marine Equipment Builder Manager, ExxonMobil

IMO 2020 has generally been discussed in terms of compliant fuels, with topics such as availability, formulation, stability and combustion dominating the conversation. However, 0.50% sulphur fuels require precisely formulated cylinder oils – something that has attracted fewer headlines despite its consequence.

High BN oils were used prior to IMO 2020 as the BN additives were necessary to neutralise the acid formed from the high sulphur content in the fuel. With sulphur levels now capped at 0.50%, high BN cylinder oils are no longer necessary. In fact, their prolonged operation can result in the build-up of unreacted BN additives, which can form ash deposits on piston liners, top lands and under-crowns. Liner scuffing and bore polishing can also occur and there are risks of increased fuel consumption and turbo charger damage.

Both MAN Energy Solutions (MAN ES) and Wintherthur Gas & Diesel (WinGD) recommend a 40BN cylinder oil as the optimum choice for use with 0.50% sulphur fuels. However, not all 40BN oils are the same. Some longstanding 40BN formulations, especially those using old additive technology, may not offer sufficient cleaning performance in newer engine designs. That’s why ExxonMobil developed Mobilgard™ 540 – a cylinder oil specifically formulated for use with 0.50% sulphur fuels that maximises all-round performance through the use of a balanced formulation. As a result, Mobilgard 540 has No Objection Letters from both MAN ES and WinGD and has been shown to provide optimal protection for two-stroke marine diesel engines operating on 0.50% sulphur fuels.

Cylinder oil is not just another consumable – it’s the engine’s lifeblood, helping ensure reliable operation. Choosing the most appropriate formulation is therefore essential.

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