January 25, 2018
A Q&A with Thomas Knight, Summit’s Development Chemist Transcribed from Tribology Talk Podcast: FAQ: Additive Packs.
What is an additive package?
An additive mixture that an additive manufacturer provides to a lubricant manufacture to be blended into a recommended base oil at a recommended treat rate producing a finished lubricating oil.
Who offers them? Where do they actually come from?
The packages actually come from the same suppliers that the additive components come from. Generally here at Summit, what we do is use individual additive components which are categorized as antioxidants, anti-wear, EP, anti-rust, and other functionalities. We take these components and optimize a mixture for a specific application. We can custom make the product to pass a particular specification or outperform a standard product. We generally use additive components, as opposed to packages, to differentiate our products from the competition.
So if I buy an additive pack from a supplier and so does company Y, it’s going to be the same product?
The additive packages will be absolutely the same. Mixing the additive package with the recommended base oil at the recommended treat rate will result in the exact same finished product.
So you can buy additive packs from these companies or individual additives and we tend buy individual additives?
There are a couple of special applications where we would use an additive package, but those are rare. Generally we fully formulate our own products using additive components.
So we do that to have it for specifically one type of use? We want to get off the additive packages to make more specialized products?
Yes, so you can buy an air compressor oil and you can make it with an additive package and it will perform fairly well. Or you can take the additive components and mix them together, change the ratios, find out if one additive works better with another additive, and from there you can put together a finished product that will out-perform a finished product utilizing a package.
If you’re using an additive package it’s just like a commodity and it just comes down to price?
It comes down to price, and just to make sure it meets the minimum required performance for that application. What the additives suppliers do, they actually make an oil with their additive package and then they send it out to test to make sure it passes the test requirements. They then market the additive package to lubricant manufacturers to be used with a certain type of base oil at a particular treat rate to meet a specification.
So that might be an advantage of an additive package; you might be guaranteed to meet some certain criteria, but it doesn’t mean you’re getting a better product.
Right, with an additive package you are guaranteed to meet the spec, but you could probably do better if you wanted to spend resources on developing your own additive combination for a certain type of application. It is much easier and less costly in product development to use additive packages. You can just put the package in and get the minimum desired results.
Unfortunately, then you are selling commodity products, not high end specialty products. At Summit, we try to supply higher end synthetic products by formulating our lubricants with optimized additive component mixtures.