CEC, together with ATC, ATIEL and ACEA is part of EELQMS, the European Engine Lubricants Quality Management System. Formed in1996, EELQMS guarantees and maintains quality standards in the field of engine lubricants in service and is built on ISO quality system standards. It aims to maintain quality within the whole process of testing and reporting for ACEA claims, when marketing lubricants for automotive use. CEC’s role is to develop and maintain tests and test procedures within this system. (Other internationally recognised tests are also used in ACEA sequences).
Registration means signing up to the ATC and ATIEL Codes of Practice and the reporting of all tests in the ERC (European Registration Center). The format in which data is reported throughout a testing programme is tightly controlled, whilst observing confidentiality rules. Since the introduction of the system, overall product qualityand the collaboration between the industry associations has been improved.
Test development process
The main objective of CEC is to develop performance tests and test procedures according to industry needs. The sponsored test development process is a key element of the restructured CEC and aims for short, efficient development.
Product sequences are becoming shorter and tests may not last for long periods - another reason for optimised processes to develop new tests.
Key stages of the new test development process are as follows:
- The need for a new lubricant test is agreed outside of CEC by ACEA, ATIEL, ATC [AAA], or ACEA, ATC, CONCAWE [AAC] for fuel tests
- CEC is asked by AAA or AAC to co-ordinate the test development
- A Tender document is written by a small group of experts describing the major elements of the development and the expected timescale and issued to one or more experienced engine/lubricant/fuel testing laboratories.
- The CEC Management Board (MB) assesses the tender replies and awards the development contract to a single lead laboratory
- A request for sponsors is issued by the CEC MB to OEMs, Oil companies, Additive companies and Laboratories, inviting them to fund and participate in the development
- The lead laboratory and sponsors work together to develop the test within the scope of the tender document with the aim to reach test discrimination and repeatability (Phase 1) according to CEC operating guidelines.
- The Test Development Group (TDG) has sufficient autonomy to revise the test programme as experience is gained.
- The CEC MB review the work completed in the lead laboratory, decide whether to award the method a formal CEC designation and to expand the development to other laboratories which are part of the TDG in order to launch Phase 2 (Reproducibility) of the test development process
- Secondary laboratories, with support from the lead laboratory, install ‘clones’ of the prime installation, carry out a series of reference tests to judge their alignment. If this is achieved they are allowed to begin candidate testing.
- Finally the MB reviews the test development and its results. If targets are achieved the method will be finalised, approved and ready to be released and used. As a result of this the group becomes a Surveillance Group (SG). Funding of such programs can be single laboratory sponsored, by Association Member(s), individual OEM’s, an Industry Association, multi laboratory, or any combination of these.