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Pushing Innovation Forward

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Pushing Innovation Forward: VISCOSITY Oil Laboratory
“We accept the challenges to make a contribution to our success.”
Our minds bring about change. It is the first and most important tool to open pathways for innovative breakthroughs and progress. Some could be simple improvements like how to make something that already exists better, more effective, updated, and in tune with the times; others can shape how we move forward into tomorrow and transform from the simplest of habits to the most complex technological systems. Having the environment to make these changes and the suitable space for growth and development will eventually make the difference between an idea and an action, between a dream and a reality. As writer Stephen Johnson noted, “If you look at history, innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.” At the Lab, the minds of those looking to create the solutions for the future converge to develop a space where the best ideas are turned into premium quality products available under the VISCOSITY Oil brand.
“What a long strange trip it’s been.”

Over the past few years, VISCOSITY Oil has faced several changes. A shift in its organization led the company to focus more on direct sales and serve OEMs at a smaller scale, a challenge that all members of the VISCOSITY Oil Family faced with the professionalism and expertise that has built the brand into what it is today. The Lab was no exception, and our brilliant chemists and engineers had to change not only the way they worked, but also a mindset that had been in place for years. There was no longer an OEM dictating the needed products; now, it all came directly from the customer’s voice and the ingenuity of those working and perfecting the catalog of available products. Although this transition was difficult at times, the company had a strong product line that was able to carry over to continue offering the quality and premium results that have always been a staple of the VISCOSITY name.

Just as the relationship with customers altered, so did the ones with the toll blenders who serviced the production, turning into a closer and more direct bond that has also allowed VISCOSITY to certify some of their products.

A Day in the Life

Working at the Lab is not routine, especially after the extensive renovation it went through in 2017. The Lab Team members – who have formed a strong bond based on mutual trust— are skilled in various areas and the very definition of “jacks-of-all-trades.” Their multidisciplinary background and willingness to assist in different tasks have turned them into valuable participants in multiple stages of the development process to solidify the effectiveness and performance of all the VISCOSITY products.

For some, a day in the lab can be creating and testing the formulas that will become the base of new products or improving existing blends to align with today’s market requirements. They can connect with other global team members or help field reps with burning questions, either their own or the dealers’, who are a vital part of the distribution process. For others, a week in the lab means testing the toll blender’s mix— a 48-hour marathon that ends with a complete analysis of the product quality—or perhaps aiding in R&D and taking care of malfunctioning equipment. This dynamic, although hectic, is something that the team finds rewarding, and the attitude is always one of collaboration, support, and, overall, enjoying the workday and maintaining a fun, safe environment.

So, how is a VISCOSITY Oil product created? It could take between a week to 2-3 months to tweak an existing formulation and a few months to develop a new product from scratch. For the latter, the time spent will depend on the type of product they need, the testing, how much background research is required, the kind of formula that will be created, and even details such as getting the right additive chemistry. The current supply chain issues affecting the market across several industries have also pushed development schedules back, forcing the team to plan for various contingencies.

Formulations are tested within basic parameters, such as viscosity and cool temperature performance, to later be subjected to more stringent and complex tests that will prove their effectiveness: shear testing, performance, corrosion and oxidation prevention, and lubricity characteristics. Being that VISCOSITY is the Global Center of Excellence for Off-Road Lubricant development, most testing is done either in-house, or by VISCOSITY’s global partners in the Brazilian and Italian laboratories, sometimes aided by other accredited outside labs if needed.

Then comes the off-road testing, the final litmus test before putting the product out on the shelves. When field trials for off-road testing need to be performed, they must take into consideration seasonal operation and how many products are involved to establish a timeline. Summer is often the most optimal testing period; once results are out, customers will be ready to receive fully vetted, safe, and high-quality products that will keep them working in fluid motion under all conditions.

Results that Speak for Themselves

VISCOSITY Oil products are formulated to withstand all environments and temperatures, especially those under the 4S Technology ribbon. A couple of products are specifically geared and developed to work flawlessly under extremely cold temperatures. However, out of all the fantastic products in VISCOSITY’s catalog, the Hydraulic Fluid line is the one that team is particularly proud of, from which ULTRACTION ™  is considered the “crown jewel.” If the market was a sandbox, few could play in the same space as ULTRACTION ™. This product has surpassed industry standards of quality and water resistance to provide the ultimate protection to the users’ equipment and continues to provide reliability and assurance to all those who use it.

So, are you a part of the VISCOSITY Oil Family? If not, what are you waiting for! Learn more about us in our profile section and get ready to move forward with the best protection and all the solutions that have been carefully developed and formulated for you! Visit our E-commerce sites from our partners at Amazon, eBay, Messick’s and Power Oil Center, or check our products section to learn more about the many high-quality and premium products VISCOSITY Oil has to keep your equipment running with optimal performance under ALL stresses!

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Rollover Protective Structures

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Rollover Protective Structures
Riding a tractor is an activity that is deeply engrained in a farmer’s everyday life. Movements become mechanical, and muscle memory allows the equipment operator to handle the motions with ease. Safety precautions paired with experience in front of the wheel reduce operational risks and errors to a minimum. However, accidents can happen even to the most seasoned drivers. Having a piece of equipment functioning correctly, well maintained, and properly fitted with all security implements required by regulators is crucial to reducing the risk of severe injuries and fatalities.

One of the most prevalent accidents occurring within farms is rollovers. And to keep drivers safe, two vital pieces are a must have in every tractor: seatbelts and Rollover Protective Structures.

What is it?

Rollover Protective Structures, also known as ROPS, are generally described as steel structures that shield operators from injury. It works as a roll cage system, framing the driver seat area and creating a protective zone for the operator when the equipment experiences a rollover accident. When using a seatbelt, ROPS have a 99% effectiveness in preventing severe injuries or fatalities. 

ROPS are available as:

  • Two-post ROPS: the most common type, two-post ROPS are mounted on the back axle of the equipment. They can be fitted vertically or slightly tilted. Some foldable alternatives are available to work on certain types of low-clearance zones, such as orchards and vineyards. 
  • Four-post ROPS: aside from having frames mounted on the back of the tractor, there are also frames mounted in the front. Some models have posts mounted at the top of flat-top rear fenders, which have been specially reinforced to this end. 
  • Enclosed cabs: the cab structure shields the operator completely, acting as a ROPS. The design is usually installed by the manufacturer directly. 
Equipment can also be fitted with Falling Object Protective Structures (FOPS), made of fiberglass or steel, that can be attached to two-post or four-post ROPS. FOPS act as a canopy or roof and keep the operator safe from falling objects or debris while also shielding them from weather and sun.
Homemade ROPS are strongly discouraged, as they do not fulfill standard regulations for protection and can result in an even more serious situation. If your equipment does not have ROPS, retrofit kits are available to be installed by professionals. These kits generally include a seatbelt for extra safety. If your vehicle does have ROPS, modifications to the structure, such as welding or cutting, are not recommended, as they may damage its integrity and effectiveness. ROPS are certified by regulatory entities such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), among others, who oversee and test security, resistance, performance, materials, and other product characteristics.
Risks of a rollover
Even though ROPS prevalence is increasing in the US, rollovers accidents remain the leading cause of fatalities and serious injuries within the agricultural sector. Estimates show that around 96 people die every year due to side and rear overturns, noting that 80% of these accidents happen to experienced farmers. Some of the most common injuries sustained during a rollover situation are various degrees of brain injuries due to impact, spinal and crushing injuries associated with vehicles falling on top of operators, electrocutions, burns, cuts, lacerations, bruising and broken bones.
Handling a tractor is not the same as maneuvering a regular vehicle. Its base of stability and center of gravity differ from a passenger car, depending on model, weight, and dimensions. They include features that have been specifically designed to prevent rollovers but driving defensively and responsibly, following load limitations and balancing requirements, can save time, money, pain, and, above all, human lives.
What is being done today?
As mentioned before, ROPS are becoming more common for agricultural machinery. However, as old models continue to be present on the fields, the risk of a rollover accident with fatal consequences remains an issue, adding to the high number of associated annual deaths. With this in mind, organizations such as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are pushing initiatives such as CROPS (Cost-effective Rollover Protective Structures). CROPS aims to increase the use and availability of ROPS systems, especially for older equipment for which ROPS models are unavailable, allowing farmers to equip their tractors with built-on ROPS and seat belts at a lower cost.
Other retrofitting incentives, educational programs, and social marketing initiatives organized by groups and institutions are shedding light on the dangers of overturning accidents and helping farmers access and install ROPS into their equipment through rebates for purchasing, shipping, and installing ROPS kits.
VISCOSITY’s part

Security and protection are vital in all workplaces, and the agricultural industry is no exception. At VISCOSITY Oil, we care for our employees and collaborators by adhering to our HSE policies and internal safety practices. For our products, we have worked tirelessly for 130 years to provide solutions that keep equipment on the move with excellent protection by formulating products that exceed industry standards and fulfill heavy-duty requirements for optimal performance. These are VISCOSITY’s contributions to keeping vehicle operators and equipment safe, but the rest is up to you! Follow your manufacturer’s advice on when and how to tend to your equipment both inside and out, and make sure you adhere to industry recommendations so you can keep working safely in fluid motion.

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Power Take-Off: Keeping Operations Moving Means Keeping Everyone Safe

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Power Take-Off: Keeping Operations Moving Means Keeping Everyone Safe

Adding implements to agricultural machinery is an affordable way of utilizing existing assets
rather than purchasing a new one for a single purpose. Tractors are fitted with various tools, such as
loaders, blades, balers, and box rakers, among the many choices available. However, some add-ins do not
have an engine to function. So, how can they be powered?

Power take-offs, also known as PTOs, are necessary to transfer mechanical power from the engine
to the implement. PTO shafts can be directly connected to the transmission and require releasing the
tractor clutch to begin functioning. They can also work using a two stage-clutch, by pressing halfway to
disengage the transmission and fully to disengage both the transmission and the PTO, or independently
through a separate clutch. Its main components are usually an internal and external yoke, a universal
joint, a safety chain, and a safety shield. Measurements vary, so purchasing the right one for your
equipment is crucial to optimal performance and proper attachment.

Speed and dimensions are standard for PTOs based on ISO regulations. PTOs rotate per the
tractor’s engine speed, moving between 540 and 1000 rpm; some newer models move at an even higher
rate, in tune with the equipment’s horsepower. This increased rotation speed can ensure proper
functioning, but it can also become a dangerous hazard risk for the user.

The Dangers of Entanglement

PTOs are an effective tool that allows the equipment to perform multiple functions with minimal
intervention. However, they can also become a dangerous safety hazard if not handled properly, causing
severe injuries, amputations, and fatalities. Improper, ineffective, or absent shielding or protection
around the PTO significantly increases the risk of entanglement, exposing users to a piece of equipment
that can be engaged and rotating at a dangerously high speed.

Most hazard cases are attributed to hair, clothing, and limbs being caught by the spinning
mechanism. As a result, one of the main safety precautions any farmer or operator must take is to avoid
loose hair or clothing when working around equipment with a PTO attached, even when the tractor has
been turned off. The speed at which the PTO rotates leaves almost no reaction time, so making sure the
mechanism has been fully disengaged is vital to avoid accidents.

Accidents can also occur when shafts become disconnected from the tractor while the PTO is
engaged and rotating. This situation can occur when the shaft has not been securely hitched, or some
parts become uncoupled or break. The result is a piece of heavy metal being swung and breaking apart
from the connecting base, ejected at high velocity. The loose part can either impact the equipment
operator directly or anyone in the vicinity.

The importance of PTO maintenance

PTOs are often overlooked during maintenance and are usually considered after internal and
engine components. This is a grave mistake, one that, as we have noted before, can cause irreparable
damage to the equipment and to operators. Thus, following the manufacturer’s recommendations is
essential to establish a correct PTO maintenance schedule according to horsepower, usage, and model
dimensions

A regular visual check can make a difference, especially when the PTO has just been fitted. The
device must be securely installed and adequately bolted, with the correct backlash between transmission
and PTO. Making sure there are no leaks or signs of wear, alongside a physical revision after certain usage
hours, can significantly impact risk prevention and performance assessment based on power
requirements.

Premature bearing wear is one of the leading causes for short functionality periods for PTOs,
generally associated with improper lubrication and excessive belt tension. Therefore, operators and
workers must know and work around the most appropriate tension depending on the equipment model
and conduct regular greasing, considering its daily strain and use to adjust if necessary. Additionally, a
more thorough, long-term maintenance plan is crucial to ensure its performance and safety. Maintenance
intervals for PTOs can be determined following the respective OEM recommendations and conducted
along with regular engine and transmission schedules for a more comprehensive and complete
assessment.

Aside from the proper maintenance, quality products can positively impact vehicle performance,
allowing you to work safely, with strong and reliable solutions formulated to protect your equipment. Our
Tutela® line of greases has been specially designed to withstand high temperatures and provide thermal
stability, protecting the PTOs against friction, overheating, and wear. These features will help increase
performance and, most importantly, reduce the risk of downtime and accidents due to material
exhaustion, ensuring production stream and a safe working environment for everyone involved.

You can learn more about Tutela ® Greases and our extensive line of specialized solutions by
visiting your products section, or you can ask your local dealer for our portfolio. Contact us and keep
moving forward with the expert formulations we have designed for you! Work safe and get the best
protection with VISCOSITY Oil.

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Spindles: a cotton-picking essential

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Spindles: a cotton-picking essential

The cotton-picking industry is one of the most important economic activities in the
US today, with the country being the third-largest exporter of cotton after India and China.
It is a tricky crop to harvest; production heavily relies on climate, water, and pest control,
with a maturity period of around 160 days on average, depending on location.

Nowadays, there are two basic options for harvesting equipment: cotton pickers
and cotton strippers. Both are designed to fulfill the same function, but the operation
method and picking results differ. Cotton strippers are primarily used in areas where
repetitive picking is nearly impossible, allowing only a single harvest, primarily due to
weather conditions. The stripper pulls the entire boll out or cuts it close to the ground,
taking the cotton, the stalk, and any debris, even if it’s still closed and not ready for
harvest. Later, a different machine will separate the cotton from the other materials.

Pickers are the most common, allowing for multiple harvests as the bolls begin to
mature. The equipment will enable farmers to harvest only the opened bolls through
moisturized prongs or barbed spindles rotating at high speed; later, the cotton is removed
by a counter-rotating doffer and then blown into a basket that collects it for baling. This
method is softer and less invasive, picking up between 95% and 98% of the total field
production.

The Picker Spindle Road

The cotton industry had its initial expansion in early 1800, becoming the most
prominent export. This growth happened partially due to slave labor, which has
unfortunately become synonymous with the activity even to this day.

Due to the American Civil War, significant technological advances for cotton
equipment arrived late. With the help of his brother Mack, John Rust is credited with
developing the first models of a mechanized cotton picker in the early 1930s. Even though
Rust machines did fulfill their purpose, they were expensive and deficient. Adding to the
already tough market, industry developments were delayed due to World War II, which
shuffled manufacturing processes towards war efforts.

After the War ended, companies began to center their attention on the fields again,
developing better, mechanized picking systems often based on the Rust’s models.
Improvements aimed to pick the fibers better and reduce clogging, although the number
of cotton rows to pick often amounted to one at the time. As positive as this development
may sound, the mechanization of agricultural operations is often cited as one of the
causes of the Second Great Migration, which forced hundreds of workers to move to
urban areas to seek employment and better conditions.

After the 1950s and into the 1980s, the commercialization of mechanized pickers
started to gain greater traction, with models that incorporated better shapes and more
functional tools, adding steel frames and more efficient row systems. Later improvements
and better technology have turned the equipment into the practical piece of machinery
that is today

Keeping the Spindle Rolling

As the cleanest and most efficient method, picker spindles are essential pieces of
equipment that must be kept in optimal condition to perform well. They are complex and
require training and skill to be properly operated and maintained. Spindles are prone to
wear and rust, and they can lose sharpness with use, impacting other parts of the system.
They must be sharp, clean, and correctly assembled for optimal operations and to reduce
the risk of damage. It is crucial to inspect the equipment thoroughly, verifying the row unit
tilt, and adjust if necessary. Doffers and moistening systems must be adjusted and
checked for wear and debris, and plant lifters should be operating at the right level for
guidance. Follow the manufacturer’s manual and professional expert advice to perform
preventative maintenance and repairs to the equipment.

VISCOSITY Oil has been developing optimal formulations for over 125 years,
adapting to the industry as mechanical and technological advances keep changing the
agricultural industry dynamic. We have designed a specialized product to help cotton-picking operations, adding protection, and keeping parts clean for optimal performance.
TUTELA® Spindle Cleaner keeps your picker safe against wear, debris, residues, and
contaminants that may hinder its functionality, reducing wrapping, and staining. Avoid
rust, corrosion and keep your equipment clean for the best operation during the cotton
harvest season. Browse our line of products and continue working in fluid motion with
VISCOSITY Oil, formulated for ALL.

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Hydraulics: The Science that Keeps Equipment in Motion

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Hydraulics: The Science that Keeps Equipment in Motion

Innovation and technology are often thought of as modern ideas associated with
concepts such as robotics, genetics, and information technology, to name a few.
However, innovative ideas and advancements have been occurring since the beginning
of human civilization. We have assimilated the great inventions of old into our daily lives
and routines without even noticing, and this is also the case with hydraulics.

Derived from the Greek hydraulikos (water organ), hydraulics has played a
significant role in the technological advances that have allowed us to do more with much
less effort. Irrigation, aqueducts, and turbines were all built following the principles of fluid
mechanics. In practice, hydraulic motion aligns with Pascal’s Law, which states that when
applying pressure to an incompressible fluid within a confined space, said pressure would
distribute evenly in all directions. In mechanical equipment, this pressure can be applied
by a piston exerting compression over oil contained within a cylinder; this force will
multiply and affect a receiving object, like a secondary piston, even if it is heavier or larger
in size.

How does hydraulics work?

Equipment in the days of the Industrial Revolution was mostly powered by steam,
which had its highest peak around the construction and operation of the railroad. Hybrid
solutions began to emerge soon after, integrating cable hydraulics to steam engines to
enhance efficiency. Innovators such as William Armstrong with the hydraulic accumulator
and Harry Franklin Vickers with the first hydraulic steering system, pushed the advances
that shaped the industry, allowing operators to perform more precise and heavy
workloads with minimal effort in lesser timeframes.

The mathematical equation to explain the force resulting from a hydraulic process
follows the aforementioned Pascal’s Law, in which force equals pressure PSI (pounds
per square inch) times the area. Using this formula, advancements in electronics and
horsepower management have increased the level of precision for heavy equipment.
However, the primary operating mechanism follows a relatively standard chain of motions,
allowing the equipment to receive constant power flow and, as a result, perform the
functional end for which it was built.

The main components of any hydraulic system are the reservoir, where the fluid is
contained; pumps (piston, gear, or vane pumps), electric motor, actuators (such as
hydraulic cylinders or motors), filters, valves, and hoses. An electric motor powers a small
master pump during the process, which pushes a minimal amount of fluid within a
reservoir and compresses it. This applied pressure moves the liquid through a control
valve with sufficient speed to affect a secondary larger pump within an actuator. This
allows for a resulting amplified force capable of moving, lifting, and carrying heavier loads.

One very easy way of exemplifying how hydraulics work is to take two syringes,
one of which is filled with water, connected by the end through a small hose. When
pushing the plunger of the one containing liquid, water will flow at a high speed through
the hose into the second empty syringe, filling it with enough force to push its plunger out.
Once this second syringe has been filled with water, pushing the plunger again will
pressure water back into the first syringe with the same effect.

Why is it essential for the Construction and Agricultural Industries?

Today hydraulics continue to power heavy-duty equipment in increasingly
sophisticated ways, from a simple break mechanism to powerlifting, and play a
fundamental role in many industrial processes at varying degrees of complexity and
strength. Their impact on agriculture and construction has been significant in reducing
manual power requirements, injuries, costs, and downtime, increasing effectiveness for
better results. Hydraulic equipment is reliable and can be controlled by an operator
through a joystick for ease of use. As such, excavator, trenchers, dozers, cranes, loaders,
tractors, sprayers, irrigation systems, balers, and many others still operate under these
mechanisms, which require proper maintenance to ensure their integrity and avoid
malfunctions that could impact production and safety. We have mentioned before about
the importance of maintenance for agriculture operations, and the same applies to
construction equipment that is exposed to extreme working conditions. Hydraulic systems
must be clean, unobstructed, and properly maintained so the work requirements are
fulfilled.

Our TUTELA® Hydraulic Fluids are some of the many solutions VISCOSITY Oil has to
offer. Tutela provides the necessary protection against temperature, varnish, wear, and
sludge, allowing the pieces of the hydraulic system to operate at optimal conditions.
The TUTELA® PREMIUM 46HVXtra Duty and the ISO 3246 & 68 formulations have been
designed to enhance durability and prevent corrosion and cavitation, with industry-level
sheer stability. Learn more about our Tutela Hydraulic Fluids and all our solutions in our
product page and continue working in fluid motion with VISCOSITY Oil, experts in heavy-duty
equipment protection for over 125 years. 

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Unfolding Synthetic and Conventional Lubricants

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Farming equipment undergoes various field conditions, from driving through dusty and rocky roads to performing in wet and extremely hot or cold temperatures. It is also frequently exposed to fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals; if the proper protection is not guaranteed, this exposure can harm the farming equipment components and eventually cause breakage. Considering the potential damage and associated costs this entails, lubrication plays a fundamental role in protecting and guarding your machinery against various failures linked to corrosion, wear, oxidation, and deposit control, among others.

Experience has taught us that there is a lot to unfold when determining the type of oil best suited for your engine. Your first intuition might have been that any oil of a certain weight would do, or perhaps you are someone who believes that price equals quality, so you play it safe and get the most expensive one on the shelf. The truth is, choosing the best oil for your engine can be tricky if you don’t have all the information. We have decided to give you a run-down on the difference between conventional and synthetic lubricants to help you avoid downtime and expensive repairs linked to lubricant misuse.

Conventional and Synthetic: what’s the difference?
Conventional Lubricants

Conventional lubricants are made with what is commonly referred to as mineral base oils, which come directly from a natural source, namely crude petroleum. Producing mineral oil is more straightforward than the process required to create synthetic, thus making the end product cheaper and more accessible than its synthetic counterparts. This process mainly consists of removing natural contaminants and impurities from the vacuum gas oil feed, which are harmful to the lubricant’s performance.

Overall, these oils perform effectively under normal conditions — those which are not too extreme in terms of temperature or field quality — and are compatible with all vehicles. For optimal performance, it is crucial to follow the manufacturers’ recommendations and make timely changes to the conventional lubricant you use on your equipment.

Synthetic Lubricants

Synthetic oils are highly refined petroleum-based lubricants that have been specially synthesized to balance their molecular composition. With a more stable chemical structure than the more diverse one found in mineral oils, these synthetic base oils provide improved performance under extremely low or high temperatures while flowing more freely than mineral oils.

Some of the benefits of using these lubricants include maximizing and improving engine efficiency — resulting in fuel savings — and extending the overall durability of the engine and providing enhanced protection against deposits. However great the benefits may be, they come with a price tag. To tackle the cost, you can choose between fully synthetic, which tends to be pricier, and semi-synthetic, which mixes mineral and synthetic oils to reduce costs while still offering some of the benefits of using fully synthetic

The VISCOSITY Oil Solution

With over 125 years of experience developing products for all manufacturer brands and exceeding industry standards, VISCOSITY Oil offers top quality engine oils to ensure your off-road farming equipment delivers the performance and production you need.

Its UNITEK line offers a series of conventional, semi-synthetic, and synthetic oils purposefully designed and rigorously tested in the field. All products are formulated with highly refined based oils and high shear stability viscosity modifiers. Here, we present three products for each need:

High-performance conventional oil formulated to provide enhanced thermal and oxidation stability, offering outstanding protection for low-emission engines. It also neutralizes corrosive acids, offers film resistance, and good dispersion of soot and deposit control.

High-performance, low-emission, semi-synthetic oil formulated to provide enhanced fuel economy with low-temperature viscosity and protection under extreme mechanical stress. This engine oil also fights against high concentration of soot build-up, providing excellent wear protection for new and older engines.

High-performance, low emissions, semi-synthetic diesel oil, designed and formulated to provide optimal soot dispersion and deposit control. It also provides outstanding thermal and oxidation stability under extreme conditions and temperatures for extended protection and durability, neutralizing corrosive acids.

High-performance, low-emission, synthetic oil formulated to offer longer oil life and durability, providing excellent wear protection under extreme conditions of cold weather, and outstanding oxidation control, dispersion of soot, and deposit control.

In the end, choosing between a conventional, semi-synthetic, or synthetic oil will depend on your budget and the field conditions in which you are operating. Before deciding on your purchase, however, you should always check and follow the recommendations of your equipment’s manufacturer to assess oil change frequency and lubricant requirements.

Browse our product section to find more details on and other premium quality solutions for your equipment! Contact us and see the many options we have so you can continue keeping work in fluid motion.

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Blog-Aug_05

A technical question: Common tractor problems

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Tractors have been a staple of America’s fields ever since motorized vehicles first made their
entrance into the agricultural sphere, with model variations and advances dating back from the early XIX
century. Whether you work with a vintage model or you are operating a more modern version, tractors
are and continue to be the most critical tool for any farmer. Avoiding technical malfunctions becomes
fundamental to ensure a longer useful life and more efficient daily operations.

There are three possible culprits for every breakage: the manufacturer, the user, and time. From
manufacturers, failure can occur due to faulty design, missing or damaged parts, and even from poorly
written instruction manuals. Users, on the other hand, are mostly associated with operational and care
mistakes caused by wrong maneuvers, over-exertion of the machine, and poor maintenance. Finally,
regardless of manufacturing period or technological advances, tractors suffer what most machines do:
time and use eventually affecting their functionality. Even after a long and productive period, models can
become obsolete, and parts are no longer available to replace faulty ones. Moreover, upkeep materials
have adapted to times and changed formulations, so they may no longer be compatible with your
equipment.

Knowing your tractor will eventually fail is something that could discourage you, but there is a
positive and important aspect that must not be overlooked: the average useful life for a tractor can go
between 10 to 20 years if tended properly and you can always choose to sell it before and renew it with
a better, more current model.

So, what failures can you expect? Here are a few common issues your tractor can have.

Fuel and Engine

The heart of the machine, the fuel system can present issues that derive from either lack or
improper maintenance. If you notice your machine is emitting an odor, loses power, or releases smoke,
chances are there is a problem building up under the hood. Sometimes it can only take a little bit of extra
care, cleaning parts and changing the oil; other times, it requires a closer, more thorough inspection by a
professional who can identify leaks, fuel pressure problems, clogged filters and can also change and
replace parts that are beyond saving. Using the proper fuel, oils and lubricants can help you avoid many
headaches in this particular case; most fuel system-based malfunctions occur due to poor quality fluids
and/or using ones that are not appropriate for your machine. Fuel that has been mixed or diluted with
alcohol, ether, or some foreign agent can and will kill your engine; the same thing happens with fluids that
have been altered or that don’t cover the needs your vehicle has for its proper daily operation. One small
detail can result in a domino effect that will cascade and create even worse conditions.

Electrical equipment

Having trouble starting? Headlights dying? You may be having a problem with your electrical
system. Wiring is a common reason why your equipment won’t start, or your console is not lighting up as
it should; maybe some animal is chewing on your cables, or perhaps there is a problem with your
grounding wires. Battery failure, dead cells, open fuse-links, alternator, and low voltage can also impact
its overall functionality. You can try and troubleshoot by checking the wiring and battery power, but if
there is no solution in sight, even with your user manual at hand, it’s best if you have a trusted professional
eye inspecting the mechanism. Unless you know exactly the issue—and have the ability to manage it on
your own—it’s best if you take your equipment for an assessment before getting your hands dirty.

Implements

Not all problems are internal. Sometimes the vehicle itself works perfectly, but the external
components and main craft tools are the ones presenting issues. This is common especially for blades; a
dull blade will obviously not yield the same results as a sharp one and it can cause damage to the crop
and your production. Bent blades represent the same issue, even risking accumulating material and
causing clogs; having the wrong model installed will also negatively impact both your machine and your
field. Make sure that not only you are choosing the right piece of equipment according to your needs, but
also, if the piece is detachable or purchased as an extra add-in to your regular tractor, make sure to get it
properly installed and secured before start using it. Any additional tech—both hardware and software—
will also need your attention, so take note of any unusual glitches and malfunctions and report them to
your manufacturer to get assistance before you lose vital information.

No safety measure is too much. Tractors are your best tools, but they also pose risks for you as a
driver and user. Here at VISCOSITY, we got your back with what we know best, but the rest is up to you!
Find some alternatives on what we can offer in our Products section and contact us to learn more about
our solutions to keep working safely and in fluid motion.

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30, 60, 90

horsepower demand show example for different

30-60-90: The Rules of the Field

Different equipment requires specific and specialized formulations. The oils and lubricants you use on your everyday vehicle will not perform the same on your off-road equipment, no matter the products’ quality, the power requirements between a mini excavator, a tractor, or any machinery used in field operations are, nonetheless, vastly different from each other.

At VISCOSITY Oil, we know how critical the quality of what you put in your equipment is for you and your work. We have formulated several products to account for the various needs that your daily operations and maintenance require, so it is really a matter of finding what’s best for your equipment and following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.

To better understand the importance of choosing the right products, there is a very interesting and useful way to illustrate it. Have you ever heard of the 30-60-90 rule?

The 30-60-90 Rule

horsepower demand usage benefits example

The best way to recognize just how different regular cars and trucks are from heavy machinery is to think about the 30-60-90 rule. This refers to the horsepower required for different vehicles to run properly on the road, and it notes that:

  • 30% of the horsepower is required by a light-duty truck to run under regular conditions.

  • 60% of the horsepower is required by a semi-truck to run on the highway while cruising, reaching its peak when going uphill.

  • 90% of the available horsepower is often used in your agricultural or construction machinery while performing in the field.

As you can imagine, the strain and pressure levels between a regular truck and off-road equipment differ considerably. And so does the maintenance that must be conducted to ensure it keeps working efficiently. One of the biggest differences that you will find is the regularity of the preventative maintenance (PMs), which are also based on different criteria; for starters, regular vehicles and trucks receive a checkup in accordance with the mileage, while agricultural and construction machinery usually measures its maintenance intervals in hours worked.

Cars usually get PM after their first 30,000 miles on the road and continue to get them after each 30,000-miles mark as a preventive measure. That maintenance schedule is also referred to as the “30-60-90 rule” (a PM after 30,000, 60,000, and 90,000 miles), but that rule doesn’t take into account the load (how hard the engine worked) placed on the engine during that period. For trucks, the recommended PMs happen after the first 10,000-15,000 miles of use, generally under regular conditions. Since reaching the mileages mark in off-road equipment is different from doing it in your city car or truck, one must take into consideration its much more severe duty cycle.

The general recommendation, regardless of the type of vehicle you have, is to conduct inspections regularly to make sure its operational. Changing oil, filters, coolants, checking the air levels on your tires. and a general visual inspection can make the difference and help you note possible issues. You can perform these revisions yourself following your manufacturer’s recommendations, or you can ask a professional; either way, these inspections by themselves are not enough and require a more thorough intervention to make sure everything, from the mirrors, to the alignment, to the internal components, is working properly.

Remember: there is heavy-duty and then there is WORK-DUTY. For a piece of equipment that uses 90% of its horsepower during the majority of its operations, counting on lubricants and oils designed to withstand such pressure and strain is key to maintain your daily production, but also to keep you safe from any unplanned equipment downtime and increase costs of ownership. Here at VISCOSITY, we’ve designed our products to endure weather, corrosion, rust, pitting, and heavy usage, among many different aspects, to ensure durability. Our comprehensive portfolio of superior products offers diesel engine oil, transmission hydraulic fluid, coolants, and everything your off-road equipment needs, so browse our website and find what fits your equipment the best!  Combined with unmatched customer service and over 125 years of lubricant leadership, VISCOSITY is the trusted solution for your off-road equipment needs for ALL MAKES and ALL CONDITIONSFORMULATED FOR ALL!

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Trusted Optimal Protection

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ULTRACTION Premium THF: the best choice for your equipment.

VISCOSITY Oil was founded on the basis of progress and development. We have always been willing to experiment and dip our toes into murky waters in the hopes of finding a niche to thrive, especially when it comes to construction and agricultural solutions, which has been our specialty since day one. Perseverance and resiliency have been our motto for almost 130 years—yes, more than a century! —and that’s how our company has kept working like a well-oiled machine for so long. 

Progress, innovation, and customer satisfaction are the pillars to our continuous success and were the cornerstone for the development of our most well-regarded products. Such is the case with ULTRACTION, our premium synthetic and semi-synthetic THF line that aims to keep your equipment working in fluid motion.

Our Product

ULTRACTION Transmission Hydraulic Fluid was developed by experts of our R&D Lab in 1963 to create an unmatched formula that has been leading the market ever since. It was developed based on the most stringent OEM standards in the industry, meaning it is not only designed to meet very detailed and high-performance requirements, but also exceed these expectations and deliver an even better protection. After all, why settle with the basics if we can provide so much more? 

The main performance advantage of our ULTRACTION THF is water tolerance.  As we all now, water and metal don’t go well with each other; rust and corrosion are two of the greatest enemies for machinery everywhere and it causes malfunctions from within multifunctional transmission if not addressed properly. Water can freeze too, causing damages due to flow restriction and pump cavitation. 

You are probably thinking “well, if I don’t put my machine out in the rain, my transmission is safe”. That is all well and good (keep at it!), but don’t forget that liquid can find its way into our equipment in more discreet ways, such as condensation. That can happen especially if you work under heat or high operating temperatures; it is a natural and inevitable part of the process, but one we’ve taken into account and found a solution too. 

Now, it is important to understand that a transmission hydraulic fluid is not an umbrella; think of it more like a paper towel, one that takes on the excess water that deposits where it shouldn’t be. The better the quality and thickness of the towel, the more it will take in; it will provide you with the necessary absorption and retain the liquid appropriately because it is specially designed to do so. Comparatively, a thin, cheap piece of paper that doesn’t cover the basic standards required to take care of the problem, will probably just give you more to clean after.  

Still unsure? Maybe knowing our formula has passed water volume tests may help to make up your mind. For over 20 years, ULTRACTION has been the only product in the market that has been able to pass a 1% water tolerance test; as a matter of fact, VISCOSITY is the only lab that has been approved and given gold standard to run it. And there is more! We have been working closely with OEMs to create the industry standard for water tolerance that is in place today, and only our ULTRACTION product—and direct predecessors— have been able to pass. You have our word that there is no other product in the market that can claim that is superior to our ULTRACTION formula.

So, not only will you be getting a premium-level, tested, safe product with industry leading water tolerance, but also one that has exceeded the standards for sheer stability and temperature performance, with no additive dropout, no haze, no water separation and no color changes. Its zinc-free* formulation will also ensure not only an extra layer of optimal efficiency, but also environmental protection. 

4S Technology

When it comes to design and formulation, all of our products are based on the same precepts, which we have summarized into four key concepts: Systems, Seasons, Stresses and Surfaces. Yes, it is a bit of a tongue-twister when you say them all together, so, to make things simpler, we just call it 4S Technology.

Having an online presence becomes fundamental, not only as a response to the crisis, but as a way of keeping up with modern times. The consumer’s shift is expected to be rather permanent; people, who were usually reluctant to buy fresh produce online, are now open and even accepting of the possibility.

We want our products to be compatible with ALL systems, to make sure we are covering all the basis when it comes to powered equipment. We also strive to help you in ALL seasons; we know operations are conducted all year long, and we want you to trust you’ll get the best protection regardless of the external weather conditions. Another very important aspect we consider when developing our products are ALL stresses taken on by different machinery; to account for that, we’ve tested our products off-road to deliver the best possible resistance to the intense pressure your equipment takes daily. Finally, we have formulated our fluids to be compatible with ALL surfaces, making it easier to work with materials of different equipment brands.  

Our commitment

Quality and exceeding our costumers’ expectations are at the forefront of our growth. We want to keep providing the best option in the market, but we also want to keep you informed about our products; you can browse our website to view all our portfolio of solutions and contact us to receive assistance and guidance if needed. Remember to always follow your manufacturer’s suggestions on what fluids and lubricants are best for your equipment! 

* The components of this product do not contain zinc. Traces of zinc may be found as a result of the manufacturing process.

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Maintenance

Why maintenance is important
Maintenance
Maintenance: “the key to a cost-effective farming operation”

It comes as no surprise that the current pandemic has put a strain on the production and development of many companies throughout the country. The USDA estimates that production expenses in the farming industry will increase 2.5% for 2021; and added to that is the pressure of making smart investment choices to maintain a steady revenue stream. The focus, therefore, should be in the details; the small changes that can significantly and positively impact the farming process and generate the least loss. In this regard, maintenance and proper care of machinery should be considered a cornerstone.

Farming equipment is not cheap, and different heavy-duty machinery is required depending on the work. A new tractor can cost, on average, between $300,000 and $750,000. On top of that, one must consider at least 5% more to account for annual repairs, any additional associated operating costs, and another 10% annually for the ownership costs such as taxes, insurance, and housing. This is all for a single piece of machinery, which can have an economic life of 15 to 20 years if tended properly. Plows, seeders, irrigation systems, and harrows will all add to that annual cost of production.

Proper maintenance becomes fundamental not only to keep your equipment in shape—which will ensure daily, steady production—but also to avoid damages due to wear and tear, work-related accidents, and extra expenses such as paying for new parts and repair-avoidable malfunctions. Taking good care of your machines will not only impact your business, but it will also ensure less depreciation of value on the equipment.

The role of lubricants

Lubricants must fulfill a series of requirements in order to ensure the proper functioning of the machinery and respond to the harsh conditions in which the different elements of the engine work. These functions are vital to reducing energy consumption and improving engine performance, together with protecting mechanical elements against wear and corrosion, keeping mechanisms clean, and maintaining temperature by evacuating the heat generated in the engine. Having the right lubricant in accordance with the needs of your machinery is crucial for its correct performance and to ensure its longevity.

There are multiple types of engines out in the market, so you can’t just choose any lubricant, as they are not all suitable. Finding the right one for your equipment is vital and, as a result, oil manufacturers must work to develop quality products that meet the standards of each OEM. It is also important to understand the API and SAE classifications, which indicate the degree of demand and viscosity of the lubricant, respectively.

We must remember that oils and lubricants are not miracle workers. An underlying technical problem will not be fixed solely by using better-quality products; however, finding the right one for your engines and parts will help avoid certain concerns and expenses. Low-quality products, though cheaper, can result in overheating, oxidation, and sludge buildup, among other issues, which will, in turn, further damage your machinery.

The chemicals present in low-quality formulas might be diluted or mixed with recycled or virgin-based oils to reduce production costs, and they can be highly contaminating.

A low-performance oil will probably require you to change it more often; this means another expense sooner rather than later. In the long run, a cheaper band-aid type solution will become an expensive headache.

Our alternative

VISCOSITY Oil offers a wide range of premium oils and lubricants aimed to extend the economic life of your equipment. We work with the highest standards regarding testing and formulation for both our formulation processes and products, centralized under our Quality Management System (QMS) Policy and HSE Policies, ensuring their effectiveness. Our emphasis in agricultural solutions and innovation has placed us as a reliable choice, providing our customers with high-performance, safe, and money-saving products, developed to protect your equipment from damages such as corrosion, cold, mechanical stress, and wear.

Visit our Products section and learn more about all the alternatives we have for you!

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