Looking forward with great anticipation

Hans-Henning Manz spoke to Edwin Leber, UNITI Manager for Lubricants/Mineral Oil Technology about developments in the lubricant market as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, reprinted with permission from Mineralölrundschau.

After a year’s break, the UNITI Mineral Oil Technology Forum (UMTF) is to be held again, albeit later than expected. How are the preparations going? Of course, the current situation with the pandemic generally makes any planning difficult for the coming months, perhaps even until the end of the year. However, we have had a lot of feedback saying that the sector is really longing for this type of event. The longer the restrictions continue, the more people miss personal contact in particular.

That is why we are looking forward to finally being able to hold the event later this year, although we unfortunately still cannot be sure.

The preparations are really no problem for us; our organising team is highly motivated and we are always in a position to react to any requirements and new developments. Naturally, the health of all participants is our top priority. On one hand, this is ensured through thorough hygiene measures, and on the other hand, if it will be necessary and unavoidable, we would fulfil our responsibility to postpone the UMTF date again.

You mentioned a lot of feedback. Is there as much anticipation among the speakers and partners? As I said, after so many web conferences, webinars, etc. in everyday working life, most people can hardly wait to finally have personal contact with people in the sector. There is clear anticipation not just among the participants, but also among the speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and media partners.

Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed that this popular international meeting, which has recently been attracting over 600 participants, can go ahead as planned.

What are the hot topics at the moment for lubricant companies? The key issues at the moment are sustainability and reduction of CO2

emissions, and accompanying changes in mobility. As it is becoming an increasingly

high priority for lubricant companies, the issue of sustainability is now being strongly promoted at an international level by our European umbrella association UEIL, as well as through activities by national associations. At the end of last year, the structures were set up for working in committees and sub-groups of the UEIL, and specialists were appointed. Naturally, UNITI will continue to make active contributions in this area, both through its Berlin office and through experts among our members.

reduced mobility, particularly through e-fuels, has long been an important issue for UNITI. Some progress has already been made, although we still have a long way to go.


Of course, changes in mobility also have significant impacts on the lubricant market, which is still roughly 50% dominated by automotive lubricants. As well as the challenges for lubricant manufacturers due to the new requirements of e-mobility on the road, there are also opportunities for necessary new and further development, such as for coolants, lubricant greases, and bespoke fluids for the powertrain.

UNITI’s ongoing calls to ensure fair and unhindered free competition are still very important, particularly for medium-sized lubricant companies. Together with the European lubricant association, UEIL, the association continues to take up complaints about anticompetitive violations in the automotive sector and in the industrial lubricant sector, and successfully fight against them.

What awaits conference participants in Stuttgart this year? Our programme reflects these issues in particular, from e-fuels, to the potential of lubricants to increase efficiency, the influence of e-mobility on necessary new developments, and sustainability.

Due to the current development of the pandemic and just before this article went to press, the decision was taken to postpone the UMTF event to November 3rd and 4th 2021.


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