Stricter emissions regulations require better oils

Exhaust emission controls are becoming increasingly tough even for forest machines. But the end result may be greater use of lubricating oils. So what should contractors do?

“Test your oil instead of replacing it,” suggests Lars Ekmark of the Swedish company Agrol AB.

Agrol was one of several oil suppliers that exhibited at SkogsElmia outside Jönköping, Sweden. Visitors to the fair had many questions about the new emission controls and what consequences they will have.

“On new forest machines you can now choose between particle filters and urea-based exhaust purification,” Lars explains. “In 2014 new EU regulations will make it mandatory to use both methods.”

Whichever method is applied, it affects the oil being used. Different grades are needed and the oil may require changing more often. Instead of changing the oil, though, users should test it and only replace it when absolutely necessary.

“The difference can be several thousand hours of operation, depending on where and how the machine is used,” Lars says.

Agrol has developed a kit so customers can test their own oil. Just fill a small bottle with the oil, put it in an envelope and post it off to be analysed. Within ten days an emailed analysis will arrive.

It is equally simple to test the transmission oil, for instance when buying a used machine, or to get an analysis of the hydraulic oil. The latter is probably of most interest to forest contractors. The hydraulic system in a full-size forest machine contains up to 450 litres of oil, at a cost in Sweden of well over eight euros a litre.

“Send your oil for analysis instead of just changing it after a fixed number of hours,” suggests Lars Ekmark of Agrol.