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While it has always been a critical factor in engine operation, it’s fair to say that effective engine lubrication is becoming more important than ever. New generations of emissions- compliant engines, often operating at increased temperatures and pressures, have shown a tendency to be harder on lube oil, particularly in relation to soot loading.
At the same time, vehicle and equipment operators continue to push for longer service intervals, both to save money and avoid disposal headaches.
One solution to this paradox that many operators of engine-powered equipment are turning to is the use of oil management systems. Engineered Machined Products (EMP), of Escanaba, Michigan, has developed a lube oil management system called Oil Mate, which is designed to provide increased and reliable engine protection as well as increase intervals between oil and filter changes.
EMP manufactures fluid handling systems including water and lube oil pumps, fuel system components, and highly integrated engine-front covers including pumps, gears and accessory drives. It originally developed the Oil Mate system in the mid-1990s as a private-label product for a diesel engine manufacturer.
To date, more than 25,000 units are in service with more than 800 in military equipment such as the U.S. Army’s Stryker armored fighting vehicle. The system is now being marketed as a stand-alone product targeted at a wide range of engine-powered vehicles and equipment, including heavy-duty trucks and buses, agriculture, construction and mining equipment, workboats and ferries, power generation sets and military vehicles.
The Oil Mate is a lube oil management system designed to provide reliable engine protection as well as increase intervals between oil and filter changes. A compact unit that can be mounted directly on the engine, it directs small amounts of lube oil and sends it to the engine to be burned during combustion.
The Oil Mate system consists of the Oil Mate valve, a controller module, five-gallon makeup oil tank, a wiring harness and connections. The valve, which incorporates a Parker Hannifin solenoid and an aluminum manifold, is plumbed to the engine oil gallery and connects to the makeup tank, the engine oil pan and the vehicle’s fuel tank return line.
“In operation, the system extracts a small amount of used oil from the engine crankcase and delivers it to the fuel tank return line, where it is blended with fuel and burned during combustion,” said David Allen, vice president of advanced product development for EMP.
As the Oil Mate system removes oil from the crankcase, it is replaced by fresh oil from a five-gallon makeup tank. The system is also available in a burn-only configuration. A timebased controller regulates the circulation of used oil and makeup oil and the removal-replacement cycle is programmed according to the engine size and expected oil change interval.
The Oil Mate system does not affect the oil flow or pressure and is completely self-priming. Heavy-duty automotive oil change intervals are extended to 525,000 miles and the oil filter change interval is extended to 100,000 miles. In high-horsepower industrial applications, the oil change interval is 4,000 hours and the oil filter change interval is 1,000 hours. Oil Mate keeps engine oil at a constant level of cleanliness and continually replenishes oil additives. These factors help to protect the engine, increasing its life span.
The system has thousands of hours of lab testing both at EMP with a major engine manufacturer, which has also logged millions of miles of field testing, according to Steve Scott, product development manager at EMP.
The system operates on 12V or 24V DC power and includes an oil level sensor for the makeup tank, along with SAE port connections. Designed to be compact, it can be used in underhood applications and comes with stepby- step installation instructions.
This article was originally published in Diesel Progress, North American Edition, May 2003.