Underground Market Faces Tier 4 Equipment Adjustments In 2011

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | April 2010 Vol. 65 No. 4
The Cummins model QSB6.7 with a displacement of 6.7 and available power rating ranging from 155 – 300 hp.

“Depending on the type of equipment and model, size probably will be the most significant change,” Campbell says. “Most machines will be bigger because of increased engine size, caused in part by incorporation of diesel particulate filters (DPFs) and cooling packages that are about 30 percent larger than older engine models. New engine features such as cooled exhaust gas recirculation (CEGR) and variable geometry turbochargers will have less impact, but still a significant effect on space requirements.”

When more space is needed for engines, Campbell says the goal is to add height to avoid increasing widths. Finding space for larger engines in smaller machines often is a challenge.

Equipment also will be slightly heavier than comparable models with pre-Tier 4 engines, but increased weight should not be as significant as size.

OEMs preparing
Campbell says by early spring 2010, preparations for equipping models with Tier 4 engines was accounting for approximately 20 percent of Ditch Witch design engineering resources. He adds engine manufacturers have done a good job preparing for the transition, providing OEMs with the engineering data they need, and educating customers. Web sites contain a wealth of information, engine dealers offer assistance and training, and the trade press is publishing articles about the transition.

New maintenance requirements
Operating new Tier 4 powered equipment is about the same as with older models, Campbell observed.

“The operator will need to monitor indicator lights for the emission control components,” says Campbell. “Periodic maintenance is required to clean the DPF at intervals mandated by EPA to be at least every 3,000 or 4,500 hours, depending on engine size. If the engine has cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), it also is sensitive to sulfur content. Likely results of misfueling or using a high-ash oil include a DPF replacement and major engine overhaul.”

To assist customers, Campbell said Ditch Witch is training dealer personnel to understand Tier 4 engine maintenance requirements, failure modes, and price adjustments.

Impact of local regulations
Even though Tier 4 regulations permit older equipment to remain in use, Campbell advises that local emissions requirements could significantly restrict use of older machines on projects within their jurisdictions.

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