Engineer profile: Introducing Hermann

Lubrication Field Engineer, Hermann Kerzendorf

Introducing Hermann Kerzendorf, a Lubrication Field Engineer at ExxonMobil and a genuine gas engine expert. Before joining the team, Hermann held a position at Rolls-Royce working with light-aircraft engines and at Bosch, working with stationary internal combustion engines, with a key focus on safely extending oil drain intervals.

Through both these roles Hermann became adept and passionate about overhauling engines. Indeed in his spare time he is currently overhauling the engine of a 1981 Mercedes-Benz Diesel 200 D, ‘the OM 615 with an NA inline 4 cylinder…for the experts’ he jokes.

It was during his time at Rolls-Royce and Bosch that Hermann gained an appreciation for how crucial the right lubricant is for the efficient performance of an engine. With this in mind, when a job opportunity in the lubricants field at ExxonMobil arose, he believed that the company ‘was searching exactly for me’.

In his current role, Hermann sees himself as ‘a kind of industrial investigator’. He brings an objective gaze and insight to operational problems. For example: oil build up in valves caused by using an unsuitable viscosity of lubricant. Hermann can identify and analyse a problem like this using services such as borescope inspection, used oil analysis and oil drain interval studies. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, he also offered customers technical training on lubrication and gas engine operation.

For a man who loves interacting with machinery, Hermann believes the best thing about his job is the wide variety of people he meets. As interaction with people has been quite limited in the past months, Hermann has been solving problems and advising customers virtually through email and video calls. And his least favourite part about his job? Admin work. He’d much rather be elbow deep in an engine compartment. No surprise there.

While no day is ‘typical’ for Hermann, his favourite type of day is when he can make a tangible impact on a customer’s operation. One such example is when Hermann helped a customer to more than triple the Oil Drain Interval (ODI) of an MWM engine from 500 hours to 1700 hours. Hermann suggested switching the oil to Mobil Pegasus™ 605 Ultra 40 and monitoring the engine closely with the help of used oil analysis program Mobil Serv℠ Lubricant Analysis, to ensure that the increased efficiency did not compromise engine health.

Even more satisfying? The customer has now become an expert in used oil analysis reports. This is just one example of how engineers such as Hermann can pass on their enthusiasm and expertise.

Due to the varied Mobil Industrial Lubricant portfolio, it’s rarely a challenge to find the right lubricant for a customers’ application. The biggest challenge is to make people understand that buying cheap oil often results in buying twice as much oil and investing more in spare parts and repairs. Hermann comments: “It’s been my experience that when you invest in a good oil, at the end of the engine’s lifetime you will typically have reduced oil changes by up to 30% - 50%, compared to a low price oil.” Sadly, it’s also his experience that many operators learn the hard way before they recognize the need to use a premium oil.

Hermann believes that the key to a successful project is working closely with the engine operator, to ensure that their separate experiences and perceptions complement each other. “Operators know their machine inside out and I respect this. What I offer is an objective view, supported with the knowledge of what I have seen with other engines. Together, we can find a solution to meet their operational and business needs.”

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