It’s running like clockwork


Engine test bench, 1961

In the 1950s, the motorization of motor transport boomed worldwide. Increasingly powerful engines placed new and higher demands on engine oils, which could only be met with the help of oil additives. In 1954, Röhm & Haas GmbH launched a polyalkyl methacrylate under the name VISCOPLEX®.

This oil additive caused a high ageing resistance of the engine oils and prevented engine-damaging changes in their viscosity at strongly varying temperatures. Thus, when the engine was started, the oil remained thin enough to supply all areas quickly, but also viscous enough not to cause the lubricating film to crack at permanently high temperatures. These characteristics were not only important in motor transport. For this reason, the additive specialists also devoted themselves to the development of additives for hydraulic and other lubricating oils.

In 1962, the additives business underwent a significant expansion with dispersing additives that regulated the viscosity of the oil at cryogenic temperatures more reliably and also better withstood the mechanical requirements in the engine. The customers of Röhm & Haas' oil additives, the oil manufacturers, were then able to develop multigrade oils that freed drivers from seasonal oil changes for the first time. The new products also had a positive impact on the service life of the engine.

In response to the introduction of low-cost olefin copolymers (OCP) around the mid-1970s, Röhm's specialists expanded their product range to include mixed polymers. With them, sales of VISCOPLEX® once again skyrocketed.

In the 1990s, the researchers took a different approach when new lubricants based on renewable raw materials came onto the market that were better ecologically compatible than mineral oils. Röhm developed additives that, like the new vegetable oils, were biodegradable.

Today, Evonik's Oil Additives Business Line focuses on its two core competencies: Lubricant Additives and Specialty Methacrylates. The Lubricant Additives division develops additive and base oil technologies that improve the fuel consumption and flow efficiency of automotive lubricants in passenger cars and commercial vehicles, as well as the energy efficiency and productivity of industrial lubricants in construction, mining, agriculture and production machinery.

The international headquarters and research centre are located at the Darmstadt, Germany. The regional technology centers are located in Shanghai (China), Singapore, Tsukuba (Japan) and Horsham, (PA, USA). There are production facilities in Mobile (AL, USA), Houston (TX, USA) and Morrisburg (ON, Canada) as well as in Worms, Darmstadt and Weiterstadt (Germany), Lauterbourg (France), Shanghai (China) and Singapore.