Fea­ture: Fu­els and lu­bri­cants

The in­tro­duc­tion of Tier 4 ma­chin­ery and the in­sis­tence that con­tac­tors who are gun­ning for New South Wales Gov­ern­ment ten­ders must use the lat­est low-emis­sion equip­ment is bring­ing us into the fu­ture

Earthmovers & Excavators - - Contents -

Few costs fo­cus minds quite as strongly as fuel prices, though high diesel prices have never seemed to last quite long enough for fu­els other than diesel to be­come en­trenched.

Liq­uid fuel, such as petrol, diesel and jet fuel, ac­counts for 37 per cent of Aus­tralia’s to­tal en­ergy use, in­clud­ing 98 per cent of trans­port needs.

Aus­tralia’s liq­uid fuel sup­ply in­creas­ingly de­pends on over­seas sources and re­lies on mar­ket forces to main­tain re­li­a­bil­ity and af­ford­abil­ity. The Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment has an­nounced this month that it will as­sess Aus­tralia’s liq­uid fuel se­cu­rity to help de­liver more af­ford­able and re­li­able en­ergy … by 2026.

Un­til then ma­chin­ery op­er­a­tors must find a way to keep their fuel costs down, even if this re­quires a larger ini­tial cap­i­tal in­vest­ment on gear with the lat­est emis­sions stan­dards.

While the price of diesel does fluc­tu­ate; un­like some other out­go­ings, fuel con­sump­tion it­self is, to a cer­tain ex­tent, a con­trol­lable cost for con­struc­tion and earth­mov­ing com­pa­nies.

Two main fo­cuses of fuel burn re­duc­tion are on the ve­hi­cle and the driver.

This fo­cus on fuel burn re­duc­tion was driven home in Aus­tralia with Ko­matsu’s new gen­er­a­tion of Tier 4 low-emis­sion ma­chines mak­ing their of­fi­cial Aus­tralian, New Zealand and New Cale­do­nian de­but this month with the re­lease of 25 new ma­chines.

Based on Ko­matsu pro­pri­etary tech­nolo­gies de­vel­oped over many years, the new diesel en­gine re­duces ex­haust gas par­tic­u­late mat­ter by more than 90 per cent and ox­ides of ni­tro­gen by more than 45 per cent – when com­pared to cur­rent Tier 3 lev­els – while still con­sum­ing less fuel.

A big part of the Tier 4 equa­tion are newly de­signed vari­able ge­om­e­try tur­bocharg­ers that vary the air-flow and de­liver op­ti­mum air quan­tity to the en­gine com­bus­tion cham­ber un­der all speed and load con­di­tions. The re­sult is cleaner ex­haust gas and im­proved fuel econ­omy while main­tain­ing power and per­for­mance.

Tier 4 also re­quires a highly ef­fi­cient diesel par­tic­u­late fil­ter, whereby pas­sive and ac­tive re­gen­er­a­tion is ini­ti­ated au­to­mat­i­cally by the en­gine con­troller as needed to burn the par­tic­u­lates while the en­gine is run­ning al­low­ing un­in­ter­rupted ma­chine op­er­a­tion.

A spe­cial ox­i­da­tion cat­a­lyst with fuel in­jec­tion sys­tem elim­i­nates the need for a tra­di­tional fuel burner – thereby re­duc­ing main­te­nance costs and in­creas­ing re­li­a­bil­ity.

A more heavy duty cooled ex­haust gas re­cir­cu­la­tion has also al­lowed en­gi­neers to fur­ther re­duce ox­ides of ni­tro­gen to Tier 4 lev­els. This es­sen­tially just means that larger more ro­bust com­po­nents are used in Tier 4, to en­sure more re­li­able per­for­mance that is needed due to the de­mand­ing op­er­at­ing con­di­tions that con­struc­tion equip­ment must en­dure day in-day out.

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