(EnergyAsia, June 25 2013, Tuesday) — US major ExxonMobil has launched a new major laboratory in the Chinese city of Shanghai to provide analysis for lubricants and oil used in industrial machinery across the Asia Pacific region.

The company said its latest Signum laboratory, the fourth in the world, will offer the most modern oil analysis techniques and help customers in China and across Asia achieve preventive maintenance and ensure safety, environmental protection and efficiency in the production process.

Darren Talley, ExxonMobil’s Global Vice President of Marketing, and other senior executives along with customers and local Chinese officials attended the opening of the facility at its Shanghai Technology Center (STC) on June 19.

As the “lifeblood” of industrial machinery, ExxonMobil said lubricants protect critical components and help promote enhanced operation, just as blood supports health in the human body.

ExxonMobil will offer its Signum oil analysis programme, already in use at hundreds of companies around the world, to help others in Asia improve their industrial equipment performance and reduce costs.

As an example, ExxonMobil said the Tibet Dongga Power Plant, the main electricity supplier for Tibet, has benefitted from the programme through periodic monitoring of engines and lubrication status. The plant’s Sulzer 16ZAV40S Engine Dynamotors which operate under severe working conditions have been an important focus since it signed up for the programme in 2008.

Based on the Signum analysis reports, a Mobil field engineer submitted a flushing proposal to clean the company’s lubrication system, and suggested re-engineering oil purifier program when detected the filter and lubricants status were subdued.

“As a result, the Tibet Dongga Power Plant was able to save US$50,000 over the span of three years. These savings come from reduced filter consumption as well as reduced labor and lubrication oil analysis costs,” said ExxonMobil.

Oil analysis is based on a slate of tests designed to help evaluate the condition of internal hardware as well as the in-service lubricant. It is a quick and non-invasive way to gauge the health of a machine by looking at the oil’s contents.

At the Signum laboratory, specialists analyse a range of factors including the lubricant’s properties, suspended contaminants, and wear debris. Regular testing allows personnel to monitor contamination levels and guarantee the optimum lifespan of machines and other critical plant equipment.

Oil analysis also supports environmental awareness by ensuring the cleanliness and efficiency of hydraulic oil systems, combustion engines, and other industrial machinery.

In an interview with EnergyAsia, Bennett Hansen, ExxonMobil’s Asia Pacific Marketing Manager (Marketing & Technology), said the Signum laboratory now counts companies from the wind energy, mining, steel-making, power, cement, paper and petrochemical industries among its main customers.

“The new Signum Laboratory extends ExxonMobil global technology footprint in China and the Asia Pacific and enables us to better support our customers in the region,” he said.

“With our lubricant business growing steadily in China and the Asia Pacific, more customers are requesting superior oil analysis to improve machine efficiency and reduce downtime. The new laboratory will help meet our customers’ requests quickly through technical application expertise.”

Mr Hansen, who declined to reveal the investment cost for the new facility, said ExxonMobil is in the process of relocating its lubes technical help desk to the Shanghai Technology Center to better serve customers. It is also planning additional testing capabilities at the centre to enhance lube application expertise and to support collaborative programmes with OEMs and local universities.