Nobody enjoys changing an oil and filter. They certainly don’t enjoy cleaning up the mess afterwards or finding that the container housing the old oil has leaked over the workshop floor or the back of the truck. Nexcel, a BP innovation division, has brought a sealed oil cell solution to market for automotive manufacturers, which it is adapting for utilization in the commercial small engine (CSE) market.
“Engine technology may have moved on in the off-road equipment market, but oil changes are still carried out in the way they always have been; things have not got any quicker or cleaner,” explains Nexcel marketing and sustainability director, John Ward-Zinski. “We have identified an opportunity, using technology that was initially developed for the automotive industry, to reduce equipment downtime, ease servicing and waste oil and filter disposal and, potentially, reduce the risk associated with extended oil drain intervals.”
Put simply, Nexcel is an active oil management system that features a sealed-cell design that enables oil changes to be carried out in 90 seconds with no risk of spillage. A canister of new engine oil and filter is “plugged-in” to a dock on the engine and enables precise control over oil quality and correct volume. The system’s design also helps promote sustainability by creating a high-quality used oil feedstock for re-refining; collection of used oil in a sealed cell eliminates the risk of contamination and provides micro-segmentation of oil types.
“The environmental aspect is obviously crucial, but the Nexcel system has been developed to provide tangible business benefits to customers in the CSE market,” continues Ward-Zinski. “For example, the system is perfect for use in conjunction with small, extremely hard-working engines that require frequent oil drain intervals to ensure optimal durability and avoid accelerated wear in arduous conditions. The sealed cell significantly reduces the time required for maintenance. Machines fitted with Nexcel would no longer need workshop visits or to be worked on by qualified mechanics for routine oil and filter replacements – in fact they could even be swapped during a coffee break for ultimate efficiency.”
“Nexcel’s automotive development has been with Aston Martin, and we exhibited a V8 Vantage at GIE (Green Industries and Equipment) 2018,” he continues. “It was a successful show for Nexcel with a great deal of interest being shown by chassis manufacturers. The show research we undertook underlines the desire for robust efficiency in CSE maintenance, and any incremental improvements that can be made to day-to-day processes could have significant advantages. The most popular maintenance improvements from the research are efficiency, flexibility, and convenience. Nexcel changes are entirely tool-free and require no specific training, providing the ultimate on-the-fly experience.”
It’s a compelling case made more impressive by the promise of drip-free oil changes that can be completed on-site, without the fear of leaving a customer’s property in a mess. Ward-Zinski says that used cells could be taken to local collection points without the need for storage, dirty transportation, or filter-disposal solutions.
The company is already working with engine manufacturers to assess series production opportunities and says that, if demand calls for it, the system may even assist in the provision of extended warranties, subject to manufacturer approval. This is made possible by Nexcel’s precise control mechanisms that ensure only the specified oil is used, the correct oil levels are maintained, and each oil change is automatically logged.
Oil management may not have advanced much in the last 50 years, but a promise of reduced downtime and a routine service procedure that is literally cleaning up its act sounds like it was worth the wait.