One of the most common requests received by the Castrol® Field Engineering team is to cross-reference a competitive product with the Castrol equivalent.
One example is when a customer takes delivery of a new piece of equipment and the maintenance manual recommends a specific lubricant. The customer will often reach out to determine the appropriate Castrol product if competitive products were previously used in other similar applications.
Another common scenario involves converting a new customer from a previous lubricant supplier to Castrol. The quickest way to get this customer up and running is to cross-reference the products that they are currently using to similar Castrol products.
Even though these are common occurrences, it is important to note that not all lubricants can be crossed with a direct match.
For some lubricants, such as engine oils, there are usually specific performance specifications to be met, such as API CK-4 and a required viscosity grade. This makes it easy to recommend a product that meets the same specifications and viscosity grade.
However, there are often additional qualities beyond the basic specifications to take into consideration, such as the performance impact of a synthetic or partial synthetic base oil. Thus, it is important to consider a full range of qualities when making a recommendation for a product cross.
But not all lubricants have an industry-wide specification, which can make a proper cross-reference more challenging. For instance, there is no industry-wide performance specification for hydraulic oils. There are some OEM specifications, such as the Vickers 35VQ25A spec, and there are other qualities to consider, such as the viscosity grade and the viscosity index. There are also different types of hydraulic oils, such as anti-wear, bio-based, and fire-resistant. There can even be considerations regarding the additive content, like whether the product contains a zinc-based anti-wear additive, or if it is zinc-free.
Thus, a lubrication engineer will need to consider the performance specifications and the qualities of the current product and make a recommendation for a product that most closely matches… although the match may not be perfect due to differences in the proprietary formulations from different lubricant manufacturers.
In addition to industry specifications, many equipment manufacturers have their own performance specifications. Fleet owners must use products meeting those specifications in order to maintain warranty coverage on the equipment. Again, a lubrication engineer will need to take those specifications into consideration before making a recommendation.
All of this points to why a product recommendation may not be immediately provided when a cross-reference request is made. Sometimes, additional information is required about the lubricant’s application, as well as other critical factors … all to make the best possible recommendation.
Castrol® has a team of experienced, field-based lubrication engineers that can help you to identify the right product for each application, identify opportunities to improve your maintenance practices, and help you to reduce your operational costs. Please contact your Castrol sales representative for assistance.