Keeping Up with Crane Industry Ever Changing Engine Standards, part 2

You may read the Part 1 here.

Around the world in regulations

The problem with engine regulation as with many other rules is that there is no global standard.

Europe and America have led the way when it has come to engine emissions but many regions have shown a reluctance to follow suit.

It's understandable particularly in regions where the market is not as developed, as the majority of working cranes tend to be older and the finances to comply with stringent regulations not there. Another issue is fuel, in certain geographies the ultra-low sulphur fuel required to run engines that meet the European and US standard to engines is simply not available. This means if a crane is to have a second life outside of Europe or America the engine must be retrofitted with an engine that takes regular sulphur fuel, a long and potentially expensive process.

It's an issue that Liebherr has had to wrestle with more and more as Wolfgang Beringer explains: "The difference between the fuel qualities available on the different markets has become more important, in particular because the highly regulated markets of Europe and North America have introduced stricter emissions regulations.

These can only be satisfied using exhaust gas after-treatment systems such as SCR catalytic converters - which have higher requirements on the fuel composition. If, for example, the sulphur content is too high, we - the engine manufacturer - can no longer guarantee that the chemical processes in the SCR catalytic converter will run as required to ensure that emissions limits are not exceeded.

"To reflect the differences between the different markets, we offer different equipment versions for our engines. The base engines (without exhaust gas after-treatment) are ideal for use in unregulated markets. An external exhaust gas recirculation system makes them suitable for partially regulated markets, and the SCRonly exhaust gas after treatment system enables them to be used in highly regulated markets.

"Liebherr engines for highly regulated markets with the SCRonly system can be converted for resale to unregulated markets.

The exact procedure, whether the conversion has to be performed at our production facilities or if it can be done at one of our service centers, is established individually for the specific application. Besides technical questions and economic considerations, we also have to comply with statutory stipulations relating to engine certification and warranty factors. In short, it can be said that the international resale of engines is becoming much costlier and more complex."

Volvo Penta has also had to deal with these challenges, says Darren Tasker: "There is no contradiction between lifting capacity and compliant engines. Many solutions for complying with EU and US regulations offer better performance and lower operating costs compared with previous models. It is important to have solutions that can operate in any condition without interruption.

The avoidance of DPF with regeneration needs is important in this type of application.

"At present the majority of the volumes are in non-Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD) markets.

This is however changing. Both as more and more markets are being regulated and as the availability of ULSD becomes more widespread. Most engine manufacturers offer a "de-tiering" solution so that the product can be sold to non-regulated markets. This should not have an impact on the resale value."

The future

Rarely do rule makers stay inactive. There are constant reports and meetings analyzing what exactly the next move from the regulators should be. New measures are constantly being drafting and compliance dates being set. When it comes to crane engines the area is no different and there are already new rules in the pipeline in both the US and Europe. Wolfgang Beringer says that Liebherr has made changes to ensure they keep up with the changes: "In order to keep pace with the increasing emissions requirements, we have thoroughly revised our modular system to make it easier to modify the engines more flexibly to different requirements.

Secondly, we have expanded our development and production knowhow to other subsystems and we now manufacture our own Common Rail fuel injection systems and engine control units. The extensive system expertise for diesel engines allows us to match the individual engine components even better and to respond faster to new requirements.

"In preparation for emissions level Stage V, which is currently being discussed in the various EU committees, we are testing a combination of SCR catalytic converter and particulate filter. This solution will also be employed in tunnel-building applications."

Volvo Penta is also planning for the future says Darren Tasker: "There is already a stage V foreseen in Europe in the year 2019-2020. Solutions of how to meet this in the best way are already under development. Volvo has the solutions already in place for the on road applications. These solutions will need to be tuned to suit the different types of usages in the crane sector."

It's not only regulation that drives innovation, the regular search for greater efficiency also pushes manufacturers forward. Liebherr has been working on a range of new engine developments says Wolfgang Beringer: "Besides the further development of the engines to satisfy future emission standards, engineering measures are moving primarily towards greater efficiency, i.e. reduced fuel consumption. Here, for example, we are investigating downspeeding concepts and the optimization of the entire drive-train to achieve higher levels of efficiency.

Besides major innovations, we are also working on many lesser measures to decisively improve the power-to-weight ratio of mobile and crawler cranes.

"Liebherr and some other manufacturers have also introduced single-engine concepts in the field of larger mobile cranes. The engine in the upper carriage has been omitted, and with it the complex exhaust gas aftertreatment system. In addition, the weight that has been saved can be used for load bearing construction elements.

"Other innovations are control engineering solutions for optimizing fuel consumption, for example ECOmode, which Liebherr presented at the Bauma 2013 exhibition."

Volvo Penta is also working on new ways to make their engines more efficient as Darren Tasker explains: "There are many new exciting technologies for this market.

The possibility to go more and more towards electro mobility solutions is there. With this (being hybrid or fully electric) there is a good potential to save fuel (CO2) and lower noise from the operation. The control of the crane can be further enhanced with electric drives.

"Normal diesel engines will still remain as the major power source for a number of years. But in the future there will be movement towards more environmentally friendly alternatives."

With so much attention being paid to crane engines, it seems that this is one area that manufacturers will have to consider in even more detail with every new model. Future regulation will no doubt play a significant role. It's hard to predict what manufacturers will do to come up with modern products that are both regulation compliant and offer greater efficiency but it will be fascinating to see what they come up with.


Source: Cranes Today Magazine

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