Caterpillar details its Tier 4 technology strategy moving forward

Tana Utley, Caterpillar Chief Technology OfficerTana Utley, Caterpillar Chief Technology Officer

Meeting Tier 4 engine emissions regulations is a marathon, not a sprint, says Tana Utley, Caterpillar’s chief technology officer, during the first press reveal of the company’s future technology strategy today at its headquarters in Peoria, Illinois.

A note of importance, Utley said Cat would be unveiling retrofit systems in the coming months to make the company’s Tier 4 machines usable in lower regulated countries. These systems will involve “packages and modifications.” she said.

Cat spent 4 percent of its sales last year, $2.3 billion, in research and development, devoting the time of 8,500 engineers. “Mining has always been the space where we can innovate, and as costs come down, we can spread the features down to the rest of our product line,” Utley says.

A lot of discussion in the company focused on how to make Tier 4 technology transparent to customers, Utley says. The company’s Tier 4 Final approach will involve its Tier 4 Interim solutions plus SCR (an SCR catalyst and DEF tank). “We had already designed-in the space these two elements would take in our machines.”

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Utley also says customers will see some slightly different technologies on higher and lower end of the horsepower ranges, where the regulations are less stringent.

Cat has 14 engine platforms with Tier 4, says Cat’s Brian Weller. A number of machines are displaying 10 percent increase in fuel efficiency and several machines are achieving more than 10 percent.

Dealers played a huge role in the program, Weller says. “They were the key to getting the voice of the customer and doing our field tests. We did a tremendous amount of training with dealers,” he says. “More than 15,000 dealer sales and service people were trained on Tier 4 and are now training customers.”