Engine Emission Ratings – What they mean for Caribbean-based operators…
If you are considering buying a new piece of equipment for the Caribbean with a diesel engine, beware! Whether you are buying a generator, backhoe loader, excavation equipment, lawnmower, welder, compressor, light tower or any of the myriad of equipment powered by diesel engines, you need to check what the emissions rating of that engine is. The higher the EPA rating is does not mean it is better. In fact, depending on where you are using it, it might be worse.
The newest emission rating for diesel engines is Tier 4. It started with Tier 4 Interim in 2010 and has already progressed into Tier 4 Final in many applications. Tier 4 engines will only operate with Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel fuel. Anything else will damage the exhaust treatment devices installed on the engine. Why do you care if you are in a non-compliant, Lesser Regulated Country (LRC)? The reason is that there are sensors in the exhaust system to monitor the amount of NOX and Diesel Particulates (soot) in the exhaust. If those sensors detect unacceptable levels, they will continuously de-rate the engine until it will only idle.
This will render your new piece of equipment useless. The repair for this is very expensive and is NOT covered by warranty. Warranty does not cover misapplication. This is a very unfortunate circumstance for the unsuspecting customer.
Advice to Vendors
We have seen several situations where customers purchased equipment without telling the vendor where it was going. Or, even when advising the vendor, the vendor did not know that the correct fuel was unavailable in the customer’s home country. We’ve never yet seen any vendor or manufacturer pay for the required repairs or modifications required to put that engine, and its equipment, back into service.
So check the make of the engine and contact the engine manufacturer to see if the engine’s rating is acceptable for the fuel available in their country. While checking, it is also a good idea to see if there are any qualified dealers in your country to repair the engine in the machine you are buying.
Fully Electronic Engines
Many Tier 2 rated diesel engines, and all Tier 3 rated engines and above are fully electronic. The training and tooling requirements to be certified on these engines routinely cost $5,000 and can be considerably more. Then there is a licensing fee that needs to be paid every year that can run up to $1500 or more. With such a large investment, few Engineering companies bother to buy the Electronic Service Tooling necessary to repair the equipment. So you may have to fly someone in from a neighboring island (if you are lucky), or the US or the UK. It is common in such cases for the Servicing Company you need to ask for a $10,000 to $15,000 deposit before they will even get on a plane…even if the unit is under warranty!
With the inevitability that you will someday need to Service that diesel engine, it is worth the time to find out, up front, what your costs will be. It also makes sense to “buy local”. There is a much better chance that, if you buy from your neighboring region, you can get it serviced. But don’t assume. Ask if the selling agency has ALL the equipment to service your diesel engine and the machine it is in.
Engine Selection in the Caribbean
When selecting an engine for applications in the Caribbean, it is wise to select a Perkins engine. Why? There are Perkins dealers on most Caribbean islands. They might not have invested in the Electronic Service Tool, but all Caribbean dealers have access to the tool through Parts & Power, who are the Perkins Distributor for the Eastern Caribbean.
Of equal or, possibly higher, importance is that Perkins parts are very reasonably priced and readily accessible. With Perkins Global Technical Support (GTS) located in the Midwest US and UK, there is nearly 24 hour access to service information and support. Better, local, support available 7 days/week backed by readily available, affordable, parts makes Perkins engines the best serviced engines in the Caribbean.
So, when you buy new equipment, check which engine is in it. Always look for equipment with a quality Perkins engine in it. Perkins Engines…the Heart of Every Great Machine.