Sulphur and phosphorous, the traditional additives in synthetic lubricants, are absent from the XMP range, though exactly what it does contain remains a closely guarded secret.
`We do our own cooking so it’s completely our own system,’ said Philippe Brechot, group leader for industrial oils at Mobil’s research and development centre in northern France.
The development was prompted by changes in steel quality and the greater use of epicyclic gearboxes, as well as higher loads and more thermal stresses.
`Our competitors were catching up so it was time to make a strategic move,’ said Eric Elwell, industry manager for synthetics marketing at Mobil.
The new lubricant is likely to sell at a small price premium over conventional synthetic oils, although engineers believe this will be easily recouped by its longer projected service life.
Synthetic gear oils make up only about 1% of the market, though this proportion is growing slowly as the benefits of their longer life-cycle become more evident – including the costs of safe disposal of waste oil to meet recent environmental legislation.
* Mobil has also launched a new blue grease called XHP, to replace its existing HP brand. It has a lithium complex base and a new set of additives which improve its performance in water.