Engine makers are well aware of deadlines for meeting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for emissions on off-road diesel engines. That includes farm tractors. The program has been phased in over several years, with the easiest steps that take out a good portion of the emissions that supposedly contribute to pollution taken first. For most manufacturers those early changes didn't involve asking companies who mount the engines in their equipment to make changes in design.
However, meeting later requirement sin the program does require both the engine makers and companies using the engines to jump through more hoops. There are different methods to reach the new standards. Some methods involve processes where chemicals must be added to the engine. So far, most companies have tried to avoid that option.
Equipment Technologies is an assembly company that buys form more than 100 suppliers and designs and assembles Apache sprayers. They use Cummins engines in their machines. For the first time in several years, they drastically changed their models for 2011, and introduced these models at the 2010 Farm Progress show in Boone, Iowa. They included many features customers have asked for, and have made the machines much more efficient, notes Matt Hays, CEO of the company.
However, at the same time, they made adjustments in design that will make it much easier to adapt to Tier 4 regulations and engines once they become effective. With the new design, there will still need to be some updates, notes Chad Ringer, engineer for ET, but nothing like what would have been necessary if they hadn't updated to these new designs now. The problem with meeting Tier 4 requirements is that engine makers have to add devices or increase engine design, which affects how it can sit in the engine, and how much space it takes up.
The new Apache 2011 models feature Tier 3 Cummins engines. Tier 4 requirements for engines over 175 horsepower take effect January 1. Then requirement for engines under 175 horsepower phase in Jan 1, 2012. ET is using what the EPA calls credits or certificates to legally go ahead and use Tier 3 engines in all models this year.
Then before 2012, they will install a Tier 4 engine in their most popular model, the1020. They will continue using certificates so they can use Tier 3 engines in smaller and larger models.