It's no secret that the tightening of emissions regulations that occurred in 2002 and 2007 — with one more phase to go in 2010 — has increased the strain on engine oils; so much so that a new diesel engine oil service category, API CJ-4, had to be introduced for 2007-compliant engine models.

The reason for the new engine oil category and, by extension, for new engine oil filtration products, is that more contaminants are getting into the oil as a by-product of emissions control systems, most notably exhaust gas recirculation [EGR], which returns cooled exhaust back into the engine to eliminate soot particles. That process, however, also tends to increase the level of soot in engine oil, requiring better filtration to remove it.

That particular challenge posed by emissions regulations isn't going away in 2010, says Phillip Johnson, director of liquid filtration, new business development, at Donaldson Co. “Fuel Filtration Reality Check,” a study he helped author, predicts that by 2010, diesel injection systems will require filtration efficiency levels below 5 microns and need to be significantly cleaner than technology allows today. That's an issue that also impacts oil filtration.

Cummins Filtration notes that lube oil is an essential element in the life of any truck engine as, among other things, it lubricates, cools, cleans, protects and seals engine components. Over time, contamination is introduced into the lube system through the combustion process, engine wear and spent additives.

With the addition of clean air standards, more contaminant tends to enter the combustion chamber, making lube filtration more important than ever. As a result, oil filtration products are increasingly being designed to function as part of a system, with input from various sources, rather than as a single isolated component. Industry focus needs to be on new standards and new systems technologies to measure fine particulate and other contaminants, Johnson concludes.

“Stakeholders, such as fuel companies, distributors, suppliers, engine manufacturers and filter companies, can no longer work in siloed environments within the supply chain to meet filtration requirements for engine manufacturers,” he explains. “Filtration solutions will need to take a systems approach where we work in collaboration to provide the highest level of customer satisfaction.”

That means bringing more options to the table when it comes to oil filtration product design, something every manufacturer of such products is trying to accomplish. For example, Wix Filters developed and produced 311 new filters from Jan. 1 through July 29 just this year, including 115 premium light-duty filters, 165 premium heavy-duty filters (including oil, air, cabin air, fuel, and hydraulic filters for Caterpillar, Cummins, John Deere, Komatsu, Mack Trucks, and New Holland) and 31 opening price point filters.

“We're continuing with a broad emphasis on premium filters for light-duty foreign nameplate brands and heavy-duty applications,” says Patrick Enniss, product development manager. “Our engineers and product developers have been working tirelessly to develop and put into production more than one new filter every day this year.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT THESE WEB SITES:

AMSOIL
www.amsoil.com

BALDWIN FILTERS
www.baldwinfilter.com

CUMMINS FILTRATION/FLEETGUARD
www.fleetguard.com

DONALDSON
www.donaldson.com

FRAM HEAVY DUTY FILTERS, DIV. OF HONEYWELL
www.framfleetcare.com

KLEENOIL FILTRATION
www.kleenoilusa.com

LUBER-FINER
www.luberfiner.com

NAPA FILTERS
www.napafilters.com

PURADYN
www.puradyn.com

RACOR DIV., PARKER HANNIFIN
www.parker.com/racor

SPINNER II DIV., T.F. HUDGINSwww.spinnerii.com

SPX FILTRAN
www.spxfiltran.com

WIX FILTERS
www.wixfilters.com

SOMS
www.microgreenfilter.com