|Rob Jackson shares updates to the E Series mini hydraulic excavators.|
CLAYTON, N.C. – Lawn & Landscape visited Caterpillar’s Clayton and Sanford, N.C., facilities in March to see how its new lines of Building Construction Products are assembled on the factory floor and to see how the equipment operates in real applications. The three-day trip was part of a media blitz to introduce the new equipment.
The BCP division has had a busy 2012 so far, rolling out:
- New work tools
- K Series small wheel loaders
- K2 Family small track-type tractors
- 272D skid-steer loader and 299D compact-track loader
- E Series mini hydraulic excavators
- F Series backhoe loaders
- TL 1255C telehandler
- New vocational trucks
The theme that carried across all of the equipment lines was Tier 4 Interim emission standards, which are part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s national program to reduce emissions.
The final stage of the tiered program – Tier 4 Final – will go into effect in 2014. Essentially, the EPA is requiring manufacturers to build equipment where the air coming out of the exhaust is virtually as clean as the air going into the engine.
So what does Tier 4 mean for contractors?
Basically, it will now start to show in the cost of new equipment because of the technology needed to make a cleaner, more fuel efficient product. Tier 4 Interim, the second-to-last stage of the regulations, went into place Jan. 1, 2012. Meaning all equipment with 75-174 hp – your skid-steers, compact track loaders, backhoes – had to meet new requirements.
|Kevin Hershberger talks about the upgrades to the F Series backhoe loaders.|
The industry standard for price increase will be about 8-10 percent. At the same time, there are performance advantages. With Tier 4 Interim, contractors can expect to see a fuel efficiency increase of up to 5 percent compared to the Tier 3 models. Tier 4 Interim also includes a 50 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides (smog) and a 90 percent reduction in particulate matter (smoke). Tier 4 Final, the last phase in the program, will burn fuel even cleaner than Tier 4 Interim.
Chris Thomas, an engineering specialist at Caterpillar, said with Tier 4 Interim, operators will feel more performance from equipment. Also, the new technology the company developed provides a more efficient system. “It’s not what you see, it’s what you don’t see,” Thomas says about Tier 4 Interim and Caterpillar’s cleaner fuel burning equipment. He uses this example: “If a referee in an NFL game does his job well, the fans don’t notice.”
Roy Brookhart, a Caterpillar product and application specialist, said the company didn’t want customers to feel like Tier 4 was forced upon contractors. So in meeting Tier 4 Interim requirements, it made multiple upgrades and overhauls to the new lines rolled out.
The author is an associate editor at Lawn & Landscape. She can be reached to email@example.com.
Caterpillar is working on ways to educate consumers about Tier 4. For more, visit www.cat.com/technology/tier-4. For a photo gallery of the new equipment and our visit to North Carolina, visit www.facebook.com/lawnandlandscape.