CAM2 ready for new world of motor oil, execs sayPublished 10:40am Wednesday, May 14, 2014
As the American motorist and auto industry chieftains move to higher fuel-efficiency standards in the next few years, the newest industry at the Port of Vicksburg figures to be ahead of the curve.
“Viscosity is going down in motor oils,” said Walter Tyson, president of CAM2 International LLC, during a tour Tuesday of its oil-blending facility at the Port of Vicksburg after executives and local officials unveiled the new plant publicly. “As you’ll see through 2017, it will go to 0W-16 and 0W-20, which will be the most common viscosity grade.”
In 2011, Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, regulations enacted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration set forth higher fuel economy for small and large vehicles. For example, small subcompact cars like the Honda Fit must achieve an extra 6 miles per U.S. gallon of gasoline by 2016. For pickups like the Ford F-150, fuel economy must rise about 10 more miles to the gallon by then. For large tractors in agribusiness, the trend is the same. The only way to get there, Tyson and other industry watchers say, is with thinner motor oil.
“10W30 is about 20 percent of our business now,” Tyson said. “Five years ago, it was about 50 percent. 5W30 is now about 50 percent.
“It increases fuel economy, and that’s what it’s all about — the CAFE standards. Viscosity is one way for engine manufacturers to be able to make it without really spending a lot of engineering dollars on engines. They know they can dial it down with lower viscosity because it’s easier for the engine to work.”
CAM2, which will move its corporate base to Vicksburg from Evergreen, Colo., plans to hire 35 people initially and up to 60 within five years, according to a release last week. On Tuesday, multiple pallets of buckets were on display inside the plant. Each five-gallon drum was filled with hydraulic tractor oil for shipment to farmers, loggers or operators of heavy-duty construction equipment.
Tyson said the company hopes to begin moving its line of specialty motor oils and other products aimed at heavy industry within 30 days. Other executives touted the port’s access to barge, truck and rail routes to move a product line that includes 275 products and a distributor network that exceeds 900 in 22 countries.
“We came a long way and I’ve had great people around me,” CEO Jack Baker said.
The plant takes the place of Shell Lubricants in the 93,000-square-foot building at 685 Haining Road, vacant since operations closed there in 2009. CAM2 plans its new location as a prime blending and packaging operation for its Southern region of clients.
“Our market is lubricant distributors,” Tyson said. “There’s a big one right up here, Waring Oil. They’ll be a customer of ours. McPherson Oil of Trussville, Ala. is another one.”
The site’s 42 storage tanks are expected to handle 7.2 million gallons of oil annually, said Lindsay Baker, vice president of sales and marketing.
The CAM2 brand of lubricant products began in 1975 with high-end oils used in auto racing, including a blend that powered the engine of the winning car in the Indianapolis 500 multiple times in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In March, Baker, previously the president of the company, acquired the business with investors that included Tyson, previously of Martin Lubricants/Cross Oil.
The company’s arrival at the port comes on the heels of ISA TanTec’s announcement Monday that the German-invested leather tanner will open a plant at Ceres Research and Industrial Interplex.
“Two announcements in two days,” Warren County Port Commission executive director Wayne Mansfield said on Tuesday. ‘It’s a good habit to have.”