c&d recyclingThe final phase of Tier 4 is upon the industry, and equipment manufacturers are for the most part embracing the change. As the deadline for the final phase of implementation nears, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) projects improvements in operating efficiency and a cleaner industry.

What Is Tier 4?

Each tier represents an acceptable level of emissions defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The current Tier 4 standards aim for a 90 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter emissions over previous Tier 3 numbers. The change is mandatory for all off-road vehicles, including construction and demolition recycling machinery.

The EPA divided Tier 4 into two phases. The interim phase began on January 1st, 2011, and the final phase is set for enforcement in 2015. The changes are part of the Clean Air Act, targeted at reducing off-road emissions to almost negligible levels. Changes to engines are projected to increase fuel efficiency by 5 percent over Tier 3 machines.

Who Does Tier 4 Affect?

All North American machinery manufacturers must comply with the new emissions regulations. Failure to do so can result in fines, lawsuits, decreased profits, and license revocation.

Balancing the Costs and Savings

New technology brings higher costs, and the construction and demolition recycling industry is no exemption. The costs of manufacturing new machinery with upgraded components inevitably result in higher prices for construction companies.

Part of these costs come in the form of specific fuel and oil requirements. Tier 4 machines must use Ultra Low Sulfur Fuel (ULSF) and CJ-4 Low Ash Oil, both of which are designed to reduce wear and tear and extend machines’ useful life.

The good news is that the changes to engines and other machine components will help companies save money down the road. Tier 4 machines bring increased durability, which will reduce maintenance and repair expenses. Improvements in fuel efficiency will likewise drive down operating costs and boost productivity, according to industry experts.

Upgrading Your Fleet to Tier 4

Ensuring that your machinery complies with Tier 4 standards gives your business an edge in the market. Early adoption shows customers that you strive for the utmost in efficiency, performance, and safety. Here are some ways to make the transition easier:

  • You don’t have to invest in an entirely new fleet of machinery. Depending on the engine, many older machines can be fitted with the Best Available Control Technology (BACT). This bumps up the machines to a higher emissions tier and may enable them to become Tier-4 compliant.
  • Check your smaller off-road equipment for compliance. Many smaller pieces of machinery may already be Tier-4 compliant.
  • Train your staff in Tier 4 applications, regulations, and technology. While Tier 4 machines function nearly identically to their Tier 3 counterparts, technicians must learn how to operate a few new lights and switches and fill tanks with compliant fuel and oil.

General Kinematics offers advanced heavy-duty C&D and recycling equipment that can help your company achieve Tier 4 compliance. GK is a global leader in bulk materials handling, striving to help businesses improve safety and performance.

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  • Amy Donahue

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