A Complete Varnish Solution for Turbines

The key? Clean, then control

Turbines Turbines

Industrial plants and operators today are doing all they can to maximize productivity. Equipment reliability and optimal performance are critical to that effort. Unfortunately, varnish buildup in turbine oil systems can be a serious drag on reliability. At a minimum, persistent and unchecked varnish resulting from oil degradation can cause costly downtime. In the worst case, it can cause severe enough damage to require repair or even replacement of expensive equipment.


Finding a sustainable solution to varnish mitigation has been among our highest priorities at Chevron. As turbine technology has evolved to boost efficiency in more compact footprints, Chevron has worked closely with turbine OEMs to develop lubrication products that stand up to the stresses of modern turbine engines.


In 2020, we launched our VARTECH™ Industrial System Cleaner (ISC) for the removal of varnish and sludge. This solution provides turbine operators with a non-solvent-based alternative that improves significantly upon existing varnish dispersal and detergent products. Through both exhaustive lab testing and real-world experience, VARTECH ISC™ has proven to outperform competing products on several key measures – it cuts and captures varnish and is found to be compatible to reduce the need for flushing at system cleanings.


But we knew that cleaning away varnish buildup was only half the battle – the other half was minimizing the risk of its recurrence. This year, we are following up on the VARTECH ISC launch with GST Advantage™ EP and RO with VARTECH™ Technology, the latest evolution of our well-established line of GST turbine oils. GST Advantage oils are formulated with our proprietary VARTECH Technology, an advanced chemistry that helps improve oxidation stability, reduce oil degradation, and inhibit the precursors of vanish formation.


VARTECH ISC and GST Advantage are intended to complement each other in a holistic two-step “clean and control” approach to varnish mitigation, which we call the VARTECH Solution. Here’s how it works:


Step 1: Clean

The first step in this approach is to clean away existing varnish buildup in the oil system using VARTECH ISC. You add the cleaner directly to the oil in advance of a planned oil change. Equipment can continue to operate during the cleaning process, which prepares the system for fresh oil.


Step 2: Control

Following the cleaning process, the second step is to fill the newly cleaned system with the appropriate GST Advantage oil for the application. Based on VARTECH Technology, these oils are formulated specifically to limit the varnish precursors that can precipitate from the oil, helping to control varnish formation, extend oil life, and ultimately reduce the risk of costly turbine downtime or damage.


The compatibility between these two products is what makes the VARTECH Solution work. A deep, thorough and effective system cleaning process, followed by an oil formulated to mitigate varnish formation, will enable operators to maximize turbine reliability, performance and uptime. Contact your Chevron Lubricants industrial representative to learn more about the test results and use cases that demonstrate the effectiveness of the VARTECH Solution for long-term varnish cleaning and control.


Zach Sutton
About the Author: Zach Sutton works for Chevron and has had a variety of roles with the company, his current post is the Industrial and Services Sector Specialist in our newly formed Americas Customer Experience organization. His role is to focus on the Customer Experience in using Chevron Industrial Lubricants and services such as our Chevron LubeWatch® program and ISOCLEAN® Certified Lubricants. Prior to joining Chevron, Zach worked for a number of organizations, in particular Michelin North America, providing an extensive experience in product sales and marketing. In 2000, he graduated from California State University, Fresno with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing.

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