Equipment Type

Tier 4 Final Stretch

October 14, 2012

Rod Sutton is editorial director of Construction Equipment magazine. He is in charge of editorial strategy and writes a monthly column for the magazine, The Sutton Report. He has nearly 25 years in construction journalism, and has been with Construction Equipment since 2001.

I’m heading to Peoria this week to hear what Caterpillar has to say about its Tier 4-Interim and -Final engine solutions. A couple of years ago, Caterpillar presented a similar event for its Interim solution that was informative and detailed. I expect more of the same this week.

But the bigger question in many fleet managers’ minds is not so much what technology will bring their machines to Tier 4-Final status, but rather what effect such engine technology will have on residual values and disposal plans.

After posting a blog addressing this question last month, I opened a discussion in our LinkedIn group. Here are some of the responses:

  • Until ultra-low sulfur diesel is available worldwide, it will be difficult to sell Tier 4 machines into areas without said fuel;
  • Environmental requirements will change so rapidly that Tier 4 machines will be useless in 7-10 years;
  • Other engine builders will follow JCB’s lead and find ways to “de-tier” their engines for use in other countries;

After the issue of universal availability of cleaner fuel and new formulations of lubricant, equipment managers remain nervous about the life span of engine components. Professional asset managers use historical data and telematics to determine lifecycles and to track and predict costs over time. Tier 4-Interim added a lot of engine hardware that, quite frankly, hasn’t been around long enough to provide either.

What concerns do you have with Tier 4 technology?

 
 

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