Tier 4 basics

By |  April 25, 2013

tier4-jcbMany aggregate producers have a love/hate relationship with new technology. On one hand, they love when it increases production, reduces downtime and simply makes their job easier. On the other hand, incorporating new technology into an operation involves upfront costs, retraining of employees and the potential headaches of a learning curve.

New Tier 4 engines are one example. The good news about Tier 4 emissions technology (in addition to cleaner air) is that the equipment manufacturers have sought solutions to make Tier 4 engines as easy as possible on the end user. But there is still a learning curve. According to the Diesel Technology Forum, “Technicians need to have a general familiarity with electronically controlled engines, exhaust aftertreatment control devices, the concept and practice of measuring backpressure, along with general exhaust equipment maintenance and operation.” Also, some Tier 4 machines use particulate filter technology that requires maintenance and cleaning and/or removal.

In addition to the increased purchase price of Tier 4-equipped vehicles, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average cost increase for the ultra-low sulfur fuel used in Tier 4 engines is about 7 cents per gallon. Offsetting this is the fact that Tier 4 engines are more fuel-efficient.

Tier 4 requirements apply only to new engines, and there is no federal requirement to upgrade an existing engine to Tier 4. However, more states and localities are regulating the use of diesel engines. This requires dealers and end-users to keep up-to-date with state and local laws and regulations in regards to emissions, idling times and fuel use. And as they strive to capture bids, contractors may be more apt to purchase material from an environmentally friendly aggregate producer.

See a special report on Tier 4 coming in our May issue.

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