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Ready to go on new engine regulations

12 December 2012

Volkswagen engines are ahead of the curve when it comes to complying with the new Tier 4 Final/Stage IIIB requirements argues Robert Marshall, managing director, Marshalls Industrial. The new requirements come into force in 2013 and Volkswagen has a solution that is ready to go

Volkswagen engines are ahead of the curve when it comes to complying with the new Tier 4 Final/Stage IIIB requirements argues Robert Marshall, managing director, Marshalls Industrial. The new requirements come into force in 2013 and Volkswagen has a solution that is ready to go

56kw and above engines have had to comply with the Tier 4 Interim/Stage IIIB regulations on industrial engine emissions since January 2012 and the deadline for smaller engines (up to 55kW, equating to up to three tonne trucks) is January 2013. So how ready are engine manufacturers? Robert Marshall, managing director at Marshalls Industrial, which distributes Volkswagen industrial engines in the UK, says he has heard feedback from customers and potential customers that not all engine manufacturers are finding the transition easy.

"Some manufacturers seem to be a bit late getting the engines available for development into equipment," he says. "Volkswagen has a solution that is ready to go. We've got prototype engines available for running purposes, and we've got engines going into equipment in Germany."

Manufacturers have a certain amount of dispensation to use up old stock once the new law comes into effect and Marshall feels some manufacturers will rely on this. So, why are the new regulations so challenging to meet?

Marshall explains: "The move to the new emissions standard brings in additional technology requirements. Electronics come into play where they weren't required before. Some engine manufacturers are having to develop electronically powered small engines where they have not done in the past.

"We've been supplying electronically managed engines for over 10 years as industrial units, and Volkswagen has been using the automotive versions of the engines in electronic format for many more years. We like to think there are benefits to be had from using a company that has the strengths of a development structure you get with one of the largest diesel engine manufacturers in the world developing fully electronically managed engines."

According to Marshall, the main issue is that the combustion process must be controlled more precisely in order to achieve the lower emissions required by the new legislation.

"To achieve that you've got to be able to control pre and post injection to give you the required exhaust gases. The reduction in particulate levels has also been an issue. The only way you can control that is with the use of electronically managed fuelling on the engine and to bring in exhaust gas cooling to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. Once this was achieved using passive exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), it is now done through electronically managed EGR," he explains.

"It's important to measure the air volume coming into the engine, so the engine control unit can adjust the fuelling of the engine, to ensure you are getting the best possible driving experience with lowest fuel consumption while maintaining the cleanest possible exhaust. On that basis industrial engines that are developed from automotive engines, which have had to achieve even higher emissions standards, are more refined engines and run very smoothly."

The need to reduce particulates has led to a requirement for exhaust after-treatment, as well as catalytic convertors. This makes packages slightly larger.

Marshall adds: "The good news is the Volkswagen unit uses a close-coupled large capacity particulate trap that ensures the package is as tight as possible while giving an impressive 7- 10,000 hour service interval."

Engine Service intervals are 600hrs with the possibility of extending to 1,000hrs following successful evaluation of in service tests and use of compliant oil specification. He adds Volkswagen industrial engines are seeing the benefits of innovation in automotive. One example is that engines are typically lighter than counterpart pure industrial engines. "Downsizing is a the buzz word that started in the automotive sector and is now being seen more in the industrial sector," he says. "For example, greater use of turbochargers allows the manufacturer to use smaller engines in larger vehicles. This is something that is starting to happen in the forklift industry where the likes of Linde use Volkswagen engines in its trucks up to 5 tonnes and it is using the downsizing concept to great effect allowing the use of Volkswagen engines with excellent power to weight ratios.

"This trend will continue as fuel gets more expensive, packaging constraints become more of an issue, and ergonomics and operator comfort continue to grow as a focus area for forklift manufacturers. Factors such as much more regulation on noise, vibration, comfort and operating temperatures go into the melting pot for forklift manufacturers when they determine which direction to go in IC power."

With Volkswagen 3b / Tier 4 Final engines ready to go, Marshall is also keen to emphasise that they can offer both diesel and LPG versions.

The same mounting points and similar physical dimensions mean the engines will fit into the same envelope allowing the truck manufacturer to have a choice of fuels without huge differences in the mechanical part of the engine installation.