A few years ago, Thomas Higgins decided to start his own business repairing header equipment for the harvest season from his home on Eyre Peninsula in the South Australian grain belt. 

He promoted his business by word of mouth, operating solely on referrals and repeat business. It was not long before he identified some issues with the recommended oils and lubricants on his John Deere headers, finding some components were prematurely failing 

Chris Wheatley, the Agriculture, Food & Beverage Manager at BSC in Adelaide had been supporting Thomas’ business needs for several months and was quick to suggest that Thomas consult with Viva Energy’s, Shell Lubricants Technical Helpdesk Service so that he could better assess his lubrication options. 

“It’s an efficient option,” says Chris. “I felt Thomas would benefit from having that service on hand when he’s out there in the field alone. He can have peace of mind knowing the oils he is using will keep his machines running optimally.” 

When it comes to aftermarket service on his lubricant products, Thomas has come to rely on the Shell Lubricants Helpdesk for quick solutions. 

“Sometimes it’s easier to consult the professionals when it comes to technical advice regarding the selection of optimum oils for specific situations, rather than to do all the research yourself, which would eat into time that would be better spent elsewhere,’ says Thomas. 

He emphasises the importance of predictive maintenance on machinery while preparing for the harvest season.

“I may have a header that I’m unsure of what lubricant is correct for the machine. If I need a quick solution, I can call the helpline and provide the details of the machine and receive immediate guidance on what lubricant is best to prevent the possibility of a future breakdown.” 

Australian owned and operated, Viva Energy is the exclusive Australian licensee of one of the world’s most recognisable brands, selling high quality Shell fuels and lubricants to across the country.  

After Shell sold their refining and distribution business in Australia to Viva Energy, many of their employees stayed on to participate in the transition and contribute their product knowledge and expertise. From this was born the specialty Shell Lubricants Technical Helpdesk arm of Viva Energy’s business. 

Today, Shell’s Lubricants Technical Helpdesk services provide live support services from Product Support Engineers and Technicians. Live agents are available over the phone or through email during business hours. 

The service allows customers to match the correct oil and lubrication product to their application, perform equipment audits, reduce downtime on production and book on-site engineers for greasing, fitting and condition monitoring. 

Outside business hours, Shell Lube Diagnostic services are also readily available on the Helpdesk website.  

The Shell LubeMatch service is a search engine platform where users enter their vehicle name, description or enter their registration and state to find out what oils and lubricants are best suited for their vehicle and stocked nearby. 

The Shell LubeAnalyst is a condition monitoring tool that performs a health check on machinery using situation modelling and predictive maintenance to identity potential equipment failures before they happen. 

BSC and Viva Energy have worked in partnership to make this service more accessible to managers, equipment operators, and on-site engineers and tradespeople.  

Steve Keown, National Product Manager, Lubricants at BSC, looks after the relationships between customers, suppliers, and key brands such as Viva Energy and says that BSC will often recommend the service to their customers.

“The support engineers provide specialised knowledge. They will give the customer a baseline for how often the product should be used or if it should be improved upon.  They will look at a unit that requires lubrication and grade solutions for the customer into good, better and best,” says Steve. 

Steve manages the full range of lubrication equipment at BSC, including transfer equipment, pumps, delivery systems, oils, pastes, sanitisers, degreasers, and basically all things liquid. Yet even an expert in his field can use a reliable knowledge desk like the one Shell offers.

“They can also do a hands-on lubricant analysis. In this instance, an engineer will visit on-site, and a sample of the lubricant will be taken from the equipment and sent away to get analysed. This allows the customer to see how the compound is performing on a machine.”  

When header repair season is at its peak, the ease and convenience of the Shell Lubricants Technical Helpdesk service comes in handy for farmers and mechanics alike.