Delivering the next generation of emission-compliant construction machines to the market in time to comply with the latest European Commission proposal will be a complex challenge, manufacturers say.
Last month the EC published its proposal for a revision of the directive 97/68/EC covering exhaust emissions reduction for engines installed in non-road mobile machinery, setting standards that are the strictest in the world.
This year saw the introduction of stage IV emission-reduction controls, which reduce the mass of NOx and particulates from new engines by more than 95 percent compared to 15 years ago. The next stage will bring more equipment into scope —from hand-held equipment to the largest mining machines — further reduce the mass of emissions and target the number of small particles emitted.
This is expected to result in the increased use of diesel particle filters (DPFs) on engine exhausts.
The European Committee for Construction Equipment (CECE) has identified the key elements of the regulation for the sector as: Introductory dates of 2019 to 2020; limit values that will reduce emissions to extremely low levels; and “an unprecedented rate of introduction across the entire power range of equipment, irrespective of combustion cycle and fuel”.
“We welcome that highly essential requirements are met, such as a predictable introduction pace and emission limits that acknowledge the vast technological progress made in the industry,” says Eric Lepine, CECE President and Managing Director of Caterpillar France. “But the proposal certainly needs further studying and refining, in particular with regard to further provisions for replacement engines and the concerns of niche equipment manufacturers.”
Lepine says that the construction equipment industry is working hard to provide its customers with machines offering the highest productivity and lowest environmental impact. However, delivering the next generation of machines to the market in time will be a complex challenge.
“Product cycles are long and product diversity is huge, putting a tremendous strain on development time,” he adds.
In response, the CECE has called on the European Parliament and Council to facilitate a swift reading of the proposal, in order to secure sufficient lead-time ahead of the legislation entering into force.
European construction equipment manufacturers — many of them niche producers or SMEs —need economy of scale to stay competitive in a global environment and maintain profitable manufacturing sites in Europe, the body says.
“The global market for highly-regulated products is, in comparative terms, quite small,” Lepine says. “Europe cannot afford to deviate too much from requirements in other ambitious nations in this field.
“We urge the EU to maintain alignment in standards and limits with other regions, notably with the US, and actively promote worldwide alignment.”