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JCB Sees Growth in OEM Demand for Clean Engines

Fri April 29, 2011 - Midwest Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

A year after the unveiling of the JCB Ecomax T4 engine range — in readiness for Tier IV Final/Stage IV emissions legislation in the United States of America and in Europe — JCB is experiencing a surge in demand from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from around the world, according to the manufacturer.

The company invested approximately $140 million in developing the new fuel-efficient JCB Ecomax T4 4.4 liter engine, the latest generation of the JCB Dieselmax engine, and delivered a solution that eliminates the need for any exhaust after-treatment and cost savings for customers.

The JCB Ecomax T4 engine has been honored with the presentation of two awards in 2011: the 2011 Diesel Engine of the Year Award by Italian magazine Diesel and also an award for innovation from the organizers of the SIMA agricultural show in Paris.

The key benefits of the JCB Ecomax design are:

• Reduced fuel consumption

• Reduced cost of ownership

• Better reliability

• Better packaging and no compromise in machine design

Alan Tolley, JCB’s director of engine programs, said: “Meeting Tier IV emissions legislation is a massive challenge but also a huge opportunity for innovation; an opportunity to come up with a solution that has real advantages for our customers. We believe the result is not only the off-highway sector’s cleanest engine, but a first for our industry.

“The expectation for the first part of Tier IV interim/Stage 3B legislation was that to achieve these really low particulate levels you needed to fit a diesel particulate filter (DPF). But when you look at that technology for our particular part of the market, namely mid-range construction equipment, we see there are some real disadvantages with that solution, in particular increased fuel consumption through increased back pressure to the engine. Also, in many applications load cycles are light and the DPF doesn’t self-regenerate so you have to force it to do so and it needs fuel to do it.

“Our strategy has been to meet Tier IV interim emission standards without a DPF but also to achieve this without any exhaust after-treatment. We have focussed our research and development efforts on a high efficiency combustion system; in other words we have made sure we don’t create the pollutants to start with rather than try and deal with them later. This approach also gives us very low fuel consumption levels.”

It is an approach that also has been well-received by OEMs, with a huge amount of interest generated since the engines were unveiled at last year’s Bauma exhibition. With an extended range now available from 74 to 173 hp (55 to 129 kW), JCB Power Systems will provide power for a wide range of off-highway equipment.

2010 was a record year for engine sales to OEMs, with new customers in a variety of industry sectors, from power generation, water pumping, crushing and screening, forklift truck and even the marine sectors. Further expansion of the engine sales and distribution network is under way in countries such as North America, Australia, New Zealand, Benelux and South Africa.

Better By Design

Since its launch in 2004 the JCB Dieselmax engine, which powered the JCB Dieselmax car to a world diesel land speed record of 350 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats, in 2006, has undergone continual development. More than 100,000 engines are now working in the field globally.

The latest developments will see the Dieselmax engines cleanly past the Tier IV Interim/Stage IIIB legislation that will come into effect for engines of this size in 2012 and they are well set for Tier IV/Stage IV Final in 2014.

As many engines within the 75 to 175 hp (56 to 129 kW) range are used in a variety of applications where equipment is operated under variable light loads, there can be concerns about diesel particulate filter regeneration, with the engine management system having to force the regeneration process by burning additional fuel. This is not only inefficient but can result in additional service requirements, substantial cost increases and the risk of damage to the DPF if a contractor uses a high sulphur fuel.

To achieve the next round of emissions regulations, JCB Power Systems has worked closely with research and development specialist Ricardo, using computational fluid dynamics, finite element analysis and a Ricardo designed combustion bowl to perfect the combustion process.

With second-generation common rail fuel injection technology, injection pressures have been raised to 2,000 bar and nozzle hole geometry has been refined to provide highly effective atomization and distribution of the fuel within the cylinder. JCB has incorporated variable geometry turbochargers on all but the lowest powered 74 hp (55 kW) Dieselmax engine, which falls under a slightly different emission regulation. Cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) also is used to clean up the exhaust gases before they are passed from the engine. This means that there is no requirement for any exhaust after-treatment components to meet these emissions levels on the 4.4 L JCB Ecomax T4 engine.

The company has worked with fuel system and electronics specialist Delphi to develop an electronic control system with a form of learning capacity, that will ensure that the engine stays within its intended parameters even as the components settle throughout their design life, according to the manufacturer.

Benefit to the Customer

As well as there being no need to fit a costly exhaust after-treatment system, there has been no requirement to increase the cooling pack size or to reduce service intervals from their standard 500 hours. In addition, under test conditions, the engines have been achieving a 5 to10 percent fuel consumption improvement compared to the previous generation.

The engine design also is future-proofed, as the structural architecture, the componentry and systems will remain the same for Tier IV/ Stage 4 Final regulations in the future, at which time exhaust after-treatment for NOx reduction may be unavoidable.

Investment in the Future

The original 4.4 L Dieselmax 444 engine has been joined by a 4.8 L Dieselmax 448 version, while power ratings have been extended at both ends of the scale.

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