Nexcel, tech start-up owned by BP, which revealed it would be debuting its active oil management system at GIE+EXPO, Louisville, KY in October 2019, has now announced the next steps towards commercialization of its innovative technology. Following positive feedback at GIE initially, and then SALTEX in the UK, the company is carrying out a pricing survey in conjunction with LawnSite ahead of field pilots taking place with carefully selected U.S. partners in 2020.
To back up the news of its novel technology, Nexcel also unveiled two demonstrator mowers at the U.S. event, equipped with the sealed oil cell technology. The premise of Nexcel’s offering is that utilization of the cell, which contains both oil and filter, will enable mess-free, high speed oil changes in as little as 90 seconds while promoting efficient collection and reuse of used engine oil and the oil cell. The company states this offers a significant maintenance time advantage.
“Through the initial LawnSite survey and EXPO attendance we have proved that interest in Nexcel exists from within the lawn and landscaping industry,” explains Ben Russell, Nexcel commercial director. “We have taken this product to two of the biggest trade events in the U.S. and Europe and received a hugely positive reception. By undertaking a pricing survey, we can now work to prove that Nexcel is an affordable option that will be ready by mid 2020 for adoption by landscapers as retrofit specification. We are confident that the maintenance cost benefits will far outweigh any perceived increase in unit price.”
Russell explains that ensuring service schedules are being closely followed is a major concern for operators of large fleets alongside the environmental benefits of promoting high yield oil re-refinement, which is promoted through the segregation of used oils. The lack of purity of used oils is traditionally a major hurdle for the refinement of high quality base oils, but the Nexcel sealed cell ensures that grades can be separated and contamination from foreign elements is minimized. The resultant high yield offers sustainability benefits and reduces the reliance on the Earth’s natural resources. The simple drop-off or collection of sealed cells will also significantly reduce the level of waste oil that is currently unaccounted for.
“The incorporation of Nexcel into future machines by small commercial engine manufacturers enables dual efficiency benefits,” says Russell. “Precise control of oil levels can help to extend the oil drain interval of engines, and future iterations of the technology will include automatic features to ensure precise oil levels in the engine at all times, enabling a “click and forget” oil management system.
“Also, according to our North American research,” he continues, “operators take an average of 20 to 30 minutes on each oil drain service. The shortening of this time to 90 seconds is a vast saving, especially across large fleets, and complements perfectly the spill-free pledge of this technology – the clean up time and subsequent oily rags can be things of the past.”
It is clear that time saving is only one aspect that Nexcel is keen to promote. Russel stresses that the company’s technology is already able to minimize the risk of unexpected machine downtime caused by part failure, as a result of poor maintenance. This is down to the repeatability of Nexcel and the assurance that rigorous servicing standards are maintained, irrespective of who is carrying out the oil drain and the breadth of tools at their disposal — as no specialist tools are required to complete a Nexcel service. This directly addresses the concern raised to Nexcel by large-scale lawn care companies who operate a high proportion of leased mowing equipment.
“Development of the demonstrator mowers has been the perfect way of providing a visual understanding of the simplicity of the system,” explains Russell of the two demonstrator ride-on mowers that were first shown at GIE and which showcase the Nexcel technology within existing commercial machinery. “To see is to understand, and it has been a great way of dispelling any fears of the unknown which can accompany new technology. We anticipate that the results of the pricing survey will show that, through encouraging the widespread adoption of Nexcel, operators will be more than happy to spend money in order to save money — the initial spend could also be significantly less than many would imagine.
“The field pilots scheduled for 2020 in U.S. and UK will provide the experience to further reassure the industry,” Russell concludes, before encouraging lawn and landscaping firms to express an interest in signing up to take part in field pilots at www.nexcel.co.uk. “Pilots will generate the data required to show tangible benefits for the operators involved over a sustained period.”
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