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Profile in Clean Diesel Power: Caterpillar Increases Reliability & Efficiency While Meeting EPA’s New Tier 4 Final Standards


Washington, D.C. – As the world’s largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, Caterpillar faced diverse challenges in meeting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new Tier 4 standard for producing near-zero emissions in new off-road engines and equipment.

According to EPA:  To meet these Tier 4 emission standards, engine manufacturers will produce new engines with advanced emission control technologies similar to those already expected for highway trucks and buses. Exhaust emissions from these engines will decrease by more than 90 percent. Because the emission control devices can be damaged by sulfur, we have also adopted requirements for in-use diesel fuel to decrease sulfur levels by more than 99 percent.” (http://www.epa.gov/otaq/nonroad-diesel.htm)

Featured This Week: Caterpillar

As part of the Diesel Technology Forum’s video series about the research and development used by leading manufacturers to achieve the Tier 4 Final standards, Doug Mihelick, the Technical Sales Manager of the Engine Division at Caterpillar, explains the company’s successful strategy in achieving reliable and efficient Tier 4 Final equipment and engines. With 2013 sales and revenues of $55.656 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. 

“There is not one technology solution that fits all of the Tier 4, there’s multiple technologies that we’ve deployed,” Mihelick explained during an interview at the recent 2014 CONEXPO-CON/AGG convention in Las Vegas – the international gathering of more than 2,400 companies that attracted more than 125,000 visitors.

In each horsepower range we selected the technologies that best meet the customer’s needs.  It’s not a one size fits all.  That means that we had to develop multiple technologies and bring all of those technologies to bear within those power ranges.”

In this video - http://youtu.be/M6Dt3fOoDIk - Mihelick explained that Caterpillar made the decision to put a majority of their technology upfront in their equipment during the Tier 4 Interim phase instead of waiting until the Tier 4 Final stage.  This included adding during Tier 4 Interim:

  • Exhaust gas recirculation system that reduce NOx
  • New turbochargers and software to run the engines
  • Aftertreatment systems with supporting cradles
  • Diesel oxidation catalysts
  • Diesel particulate filters
  • And regeneration devices

Under this strategy, Caterpillar then only needed to add the Selective Catalytic Reduction system with diesel exhaust fluid to achieve Tier 4 Final standards.

“At Tier 4 Final we only implemented one additional technology,” Mihelick said.  “So at Tier 4 Final our product is very stable, is very reliable, and it’s proven.  It’s because of the way we phased this technology in.

“Right now Caterpillar has about 100,000 Tier 4 products in the field and our customers are operating these products and those customers have accumulated over 60 million operating hours of exposure on these products.

“The feedback from those customers has been very, very good. There’s very good reliability, very good fuel efficiency, they notice the machine is faster and it does more work.”

Diesel Power Is Dominant In Off-Road Construction & Farm Equipment

The new diesel technology is especially important because diesel is the dominant power source in agriculture, mining and construction – key sectors in the U.S. economy including:

  • Over 60 percent of mining and fuel production equipment is diesel-powered.  The U.S. gets 93 percent of its energy from mined sources, such as petroleum, natural gas, coal and uranium.
  • Diesel is the dominant power source in the U.S. agricultural sector which provides a total added value to the U.S. economy of $365 billion and two million jobs.
  • Diesel is the dominant fuel source, powering 60 percent of construction equipment and using 98 percent of all energy.

DTF Tier 4 Video Series

            Other DTF videos related to Tier 4 research and development include:

Upcoming videos will feature other strategies in achieving the Tier 4 standards for other leading manufacturers including Bosch, CASE Construction Equipment, Cummins, Deere and Company, FPT Industrial, Isuzu, Johnson Matthey, MTU America, Volvo Powertrain and Yanmar.


The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology, and working with policymakers and other stakeholders on common solutions.  Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology.  For more information visit www.dieselforum.org.

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