Naphthenics offer better solutions

Calling for more pioneering spirit in lubricant blending labs, industry veteran and trouble shooter Peter Dijke believes in old-fashioned observation. Well-known for his out-of-the-box thinking regarding lubricant formulation, he has observed how specialist naphthenic oils from Nynas offer solutions for many of his customers’ solvency issues.

“Too often, when encountering a solvency problem, lubricant formulators reach for the easiest solution – adding an ester. But this is an expensive solvency solution and not the best one,” says Peter Dijke, R&D Director at Netherlands-based PXL Chemicals BV, the company he started when he retired from a long career in the lubricants industry.

Making it his business to help other businesses, large and small, to overcome formulation problems by developing and delivering innovative additive products and services, he has carved out a niche for himself that suits his experience and philosophy. 

“You can’t just go by the book. You need to observe the problems, develop reactions and additives, and experiment with different solutions,” he says. 

Peter Dijke, R&D Director at PXL Chemicals BV

Peter Dijke’s own observations have led him to realise that naphthenic mineral oils can be used to tackle several of the problems facing the industry. By applying an out-of-the-box attitude, he has found many applications where the properties of naphthenic mineral oil offer better and more cost-effective solutions than traditional or quick-fix remedies, such as adding an ester to solve issues relating to solvency. 

“Specialty naphthenic oil used as an additive offers a much more attractive solution for the solvency issues of modern base oils,” he says.

However, it is not always easy to convince the formulators that they might need to put aside their old recipes, long-held “beliefs”, and standardised methods.

“For example, some view the low viscosity index of naphthenic oil as a problem. But I say, you need to look at the mix, and you have to take into account both positive and negative points. The superior low temperature performance of naphthenic oil is an often-overlooked positive point,” he adds.

Finding the lubricant industry too slow to react to supply changes, he sees it heading for bigger and bigger problems, and calls for an attitude change, starting in the labs.

“Although today’s blending labs are fantastically modern and well-equipped, those working in them are not given the opportunity to experiment. So there is no pioneering and no observation of problems in the labs.”

As Peter Dijke, with his 40 years’ experience, puts it: “we are only 100 years into the development of lubricants, and now we are facing a moment of change”.

Nynas base oils

Get the inside scoop

Base oils Newsletter

You can get interesting articles, case stories and more directly to your inbox. 

Sign up here

Further reading

See all news

Nynas experts lecture at KTH

Nynas traditionally maintains a close partnership with universities and higher education institutions. An illustrative example of this is the lecture on the oil industry held for students at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Brains of Nynas: Sibala Libish Kumar

Sibala Libish Kumar has worked in the industry since 2007 in various customer-facing roles. As a Customer Service Specialist at Nynas, her duties include ensuring the customer service team remains abreast of all processes and that the ongoing digitalisation aligns with the company's goals and objectives. Find out what's on her mind.

Getting the scope of it

As the need to cut emissions of greenhouse gas is becoming more urgent, companies must look beyond their direct climate impact. From 2025, organisations that operate in Europe will be required to report their indirect – so-called Scope 3 – emissions.