HIGH-TECH CHECK-UP: Shell's LubeVideoCheck lets fleets see what's happening inside their engines.
TORONTO, Ont. – Shell has introduced its LubeVideoCheck program to the Canadian market, which provides fleet customers with a clear look at exactly what is going on inside their engines.
The program, which was first rolled out in Mexico five years ago and to the US market last year, uses advanced technology used in the aerospace and medical industries to produce quality video and high-resolution images of the inside of an engine.
“It gives us the ability to go in and understand things going on inside their equipment with minimal teardown and minimal costs,” Shell’s Jonathan Ubil told Truck News during a recent demonstration.
The machine includes a flexible probe with a camera on the end, which can be inserted into any hole in the engine larger than 6 mm in diameter.
Using a joystick, the operator can move the camera around the inside of the engine to inspect for damage, engine wear and deposits.
“In the past, most folks to look at the internals of an engine would have to disassemble it or use a bore scope. But it’s very limited what you can see and very hard to look at,” Ubil said of the traditional methods.
The LubeVideoCheck system uses a fibre-optic digital camera and high-resolution monitor to offer a much more detailed look at the inside of the engine, he explained.
The operator can view the piston crown, combustion chamber, cylinder walls, valves and head and then analyze those findings and create an easy-to-read report for the fleet manager.
“We go into each individual area and look for different types of deposits and wear – anything out of the ordinary to see if it looks good or looks bad,” explained Ubil. “We’ll look for types of wear, deposits, traces of leaks, cracks – anything pertinent to the condition of the unit, just like a crime scene investigator would do. It tells us a story of what is going on in this unit.”
Seeing the clues is one thing. Interpreting them is another, and the Shell operator also does this for the fleet, providing them with a report that deciphers the findings.
One of the things the tool has been useful for, is providing maintenance managers with the confidence to extend their drain intervals.
“Everyone wants to extend oil drains but no-one wants to hurt their equipment,” Ubil said.
The LubeVideoCheck program allows fleets to inspect their engine at various intervals to determine exactly how long they can run between oil changes before the engine begins to incur damage.
“You can go out as far as you’re comfortable with and monitor the wear you’re incurring and stop at the point you’re comfortable with,” explained Ubil.
But isn’t it counterproductive for an oil supplier to encourage longer drain intervals – something that may ultimately result in fewer sales?
“We understand this is about relationships,” Ubil countered. “Anyone can sell somebody oil. We want to give you service, we want to give you support. We’re not just here to sell you oil.”
Current Shell customers and prospective fleet customers can contact their local Shell distributor to arrange for a session.
A Shell technician will arrive at their facility with a machine to conduct the inspection and compile the report, at no cost to the customer. For more details, contact your supplier or visit www.shell.ca/fleet.