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JCB invest £80m to come clean

JCB has made one of the biggest investments in its history to develop what it claims is the off-highway sector’s cleanest engine in readiness for incoming emissions legislation.

The company has invested around £80million in researching and developing a new combustion system for the new JCB ‘Ecomax T4’ 4.4 litre engine - the latest generation of JCB Dieselmax engine - which is now undergoing full in-field testing before going into production in 2012 to meet Tier 4 interim/Stage 3B legislation.

To achieve the next round of emissions regulations, JCB Power Systems has worked closely with research and development specialist Ricardo to develop the Twin Vortex Combustion System which is capable of meeting Tier 4 interim/Stage 3B legislation without the need for any form of exhaust aftertreatment. There are consequent benefits in terms of reduced fuel consumption, lower total cost of ownership, improved reliability and greater package flexibility through the elimination of potentially bulky and expensive aftertreatment, which give this system clear advantages for mid-range off-highway equipment manufacturers and engine customers. Alan Tolley, JCB’s Director of Engine Programmes, said: “Meeting Tier 4 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 4 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 therefore has been to meet Tier 4 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.

“The solution we have come up with gives significant advantages for our customers for packaging and integration. On machines there is not much spare room in the engine compartment and we had a lot of discussion about how to optimise the machines, their design and functionality. The risk with something like Tier 4 is that in order to package everything you have to compromise those elements and we were not willing to do that which is what drove us to pursue a different technology solution.”