Caterpillar Unveils Tier 4 Strategy

Rod Sutton, editor in chief | September 28, 2010

Caterpillar's new Clean Emissions Module (CEM) will be integrated into its ACERT engine range to enable the company to meet Tier 4 Interim and Tier 4 emissions targets. The aftertreatment unit will be added to all 14-plus engine platforms and integrated into all 300-plus models.

The first five Tier 4 Interim engines are the C13, C15, C18, C27 and C32.

The additional hardware will be engineered within each machine's envelope, with nothing mounted outside, Cat officials say. Chief technology officer Tana Utley says the modules were “designed with the machine in mind,” so all packages will fit inside the envelope.

No machine designs have been finalized, but Caterpillar showed members of the trade press a field-follow 336E excavator incorporating one of several “builds” of the new engine configuration. About 12 inches were added to the top of the engine compartment, allowing Cat to put the CEM on top of the Tier 4 Interim diesel. The engine canopy was perforated to allow more air flow. A three-piece radiator replaced the stacked setup currently in the D model.

VP Rod Beeler declined to say when the first Tier 4 machine would be introduced, but he says a version of the 336E will be shown at Bauma in April.

Caterpillar has not finalized its Tier 4 Final solution and did not rule out an SCR aspect. Utley says the CEM was designed for bolt-on NOx-reduction technology, regardless of the final decision.

With more than 300 machines in its lineup, Caterpillar will redesign each one to incorporate the CEM. Utley says the module will eventually be its own product line, with fewer than 100 models in the family. Units will be designed for multiple products.

The 300-plus products to be introduced during this Tier 4 rollout will be the largest in the company's history. The investment, Cat officials say, eclipses the $1 billion spent on developing ACERT.

Caterpillar will recover those emissions-related costs through machine price increases averaging 12 percent over the three-year rollout. Yet, says Jim Parker, vice president, Americas distribution, that does not mean each machine willincrease 12 percent. Through a set of complicated EPA “flex” rules that allow OEMs to adjust pricing by volume of machine type, Caterpillar intends to adjust price increases according to machine categories.

“We're going to make is simple for dealers and customers,” Parker says. He says the strategy should minimize pre-buying.