Product Report
Brooke Wisdom | April 3, 2010

Caterpillar projects Tier 4 Interim price hikes

By Mike Anderson


Billed as “the most aggressive and expensive product development initiative in Caterpillar history,” the equipment manufacturing giant’s Tier 4 Interim diesel engine technology will use a “state-of-the-art integrated system” built upon established ACERT technology.

To complement Cat’s Clean Emissions Module (CEM), new powertrain technologies and aftertreatment devices will be specifically tailored to products, Caterpillar announced at a strategy update in Peoria, Ill. All new and additional equipment to come will be housed within the structure of the enhanced machines. With the engineering work for Tier 4 Interim products done with Tier 4 Final requirements in mind, the CEM “space claim” will not change, explained Tana Utley, Caterpillar chief technology officer.

Cat says this effort translates into an overall price increase up to 12 percent over “our overall Tier 4 Interim deployment.” For machines ranging 174 to 750 horsepower (130 to 560 kW), that three-year period begins Jan. 1, 2011, and about one-third of the price hike, or four percent overall, is anticipated on those machines effective that date. Actual machine costs will vary depending on equipment type and size.

“Our pricing strategy will focus on providing customers with the best value proposition in the market – a broad-based deployment process that minimizes disruption while at the same time allows the company to recover significant multi-year costs necessary to meet the new regulations,” says Stu Levenick, Caterpillar group president. And the costs will be spread around. “We plan to initiate broad-based emissions-related price actions also starting Jan. 1, 2011, for all products, including those using transitional provisions,” says Levenick. Under both Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and European Union (EU) regulations, “flex” programs permit a limited percentage of machines powered with engines meeting prior Tier emissions requirements to be introduced.

The costs of the Caterpillar program to accommodate power and product enhancement for the about 300 different machines affected haven’t been finalized, says Utley, “but it’s going to be easy to surpass the ACERT investment” of $1 billion. Caterpillar introduced ACERT Technology to initially meet EPA ‘04 regulations for on-highway trucks, followed by off-road machines. The fuel system allows for multiple, precise injections each combustion cycle. An advanced air system provides more cool air in the combustion chamber.


Now in field-follow development, the new 336E excavator will be among the first Caterpillar equipment models to incorporate the Clean Emissions Module (CEM) technology as part of Caterpillar’s Tier 4 Interim diesel engine strategy.

Tier 4 standards require emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides to be reduced by more than 90 percent from Tier 3. Cat projects it will accumulate nearly one million hours of testing on Tier 4 Interim engines by the end of 2010. Industry followers gathered at the Edwards Learning and Demonstration facility for the strategy update were shown a field-follow 336E crawler excavator featuring the new CEM technology. Other preview machines included a 140M motor grader, 980H wheel loader and 775 off-highway truck.

Beyond the Tier 4 Interim period designed to provide time to transfer technology from highway to off-road engines, Tier 4 Final will phase-in beginning in 2014, requiring an additional 50-percent reduction in oxides of nitrogen from Tier 4 Interim. For Caterpillar, the company says selective catalytic reduction (SCR) is among the technologies it’s considering for Tier 4 Final. SCR, or any other technology included in Cat’s Tier 4 Final solution, will be built upon its Tier 4 Interim solution. These engines will require new oil formulations, available through Caterpillar and other vendors. EW

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