"Customer satisfaction is the building block to success in almost any business."
Now more than ever, the trucking industry is reaping the powerful benefits of technology. During the past few years, developments in technology have enabled truck engine manufacturers to develop products that are more reliable, achieve better fuel economy and provide enhanced performance.
To stay competitive, a steady flow of new product innovations and enhancements is imperative. One reason Caterpillar can provide world-class, state-of-the art truck engines is its unwavering commitment to technology.
For the long-term future, the Caterpillar Truck Engine Div. is researching several important building blocks for product development. It's important to note that the potential product developments outlined here may not materialize in the market. These technologies are currently being investigated and could contribute to a new generation of Caterpillar truck engines.
The building blocks for product development include exhaust gas recirculation (EGR); aftertreatment systems (SCR); advanced fuel systems; advanced air systems; high peak cylinder pressures; and electronic engine control systems.
Exhaust gas recirculation is one of several NOx-reducing designs being used with diesel engines. EGR lowers peak combustion temperatures by absorbing part of the chemical energy released by the fuel. This not only results in lower NOx levels required to meet October 2002 U.S. EPA and proposed Euro 4 emissions standards, but it also improves the fuel economy-NOx trade-off.
Another technology under evaluation is a selective catalytic reduction aftertreatment system, or SCR. This system treats the exhaust of the engine to ensure emissions requirements are met.
As for advanced fuel systems (AFS), efforts are being focused in the area of engine performance optimization. This means developing a fuel system that is flexible enough to optimize injection characteristics over the entire engine operating range.
In addition to fuel systems, advanced air systems (AAS) will be required with EGR. Improvements will be needed to achieve increased steady state and transient airflow and to promote transport of exhaust from the exhaust manifold to the intake manifold.
Increased peak cylinder pressure will be necessary to provide increased thermal efficiency to offset the fuel consumption increase that occurs with lower emissions.
The last key building block for future product development is electronic engine control systems. The Caterpillar ADEM 2000 (Advanced Diesel Engine Management) electronics package has the processing power to provide more precise control of advanced fuel and air systems for improved fuel economy and performance.
And work continues on developing electronic prognostic tools to indicate when a component or system will need repair before it fails. This could mean significant savings for truck owners in reduced repair costs, reduced downtime and more importantly, keeping their customers satisfied.
Customer satisfaction is the building block to success in almost any business. Some of the building blocks discussed will form the foundation of tomorrow's engines, further reducing emissions while providing industry-leading fuel efficiency, enhanced reliability, and outstanding performance. The end result will be lower operating costs for owners and top engine performance for drivers - well into the new millennium.