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General Considerations When Purchasing a Tier 4 Machine

by Moderator ‎03-22-2013 03:28 PM - edited ‎03-22-2013 04:00 PM

Industry trends tell us that there’s still some confusion surrounding Tier 4 emissions regulations. As we approach Tier 4’s final phase, we want to help address some questions people still have. We’ve revisited the importance of Tier 4 and outlined some of the important questions to ask when purchasing Tier 4 equipment. This way you’ll know what to expect, and it will help you make a more informed decision because no two Tier 4 solutions are the same.


How Does Tier 4 Affect You?

The industry response to Tier 4 regulations is a mixed one. Either way you look at it, Tier 4 will reduce exhaust emissions from diesel engines on nonroad machines by 90 percent, improving air quality dramatically. You can see the progress illustrated in the chart below, which reflects the difference in NOx and particulate matter emissions from Tier 1 through Tier 4 Final.


Tier 4 graph 2.jpg

 Small graph.png

While manufacturers are required to produce Tier 4 equipment, customers are not required to buy it. However, machines that do not meet Tier 4 regulations may keep you from winning new projects. Some regions are even declaring ‘Tier 4 only’ sites making Tier 3 machines obsolete. While this is still a minority case, there’s no denying the increasing trend.


Tier 4 Considerations

Each manufacturer has provided its own solution for upgrading to Tier 4 equipment. Not only do you have to research different manufacturers’ options, you also have to consider several other factors specific to your application.




This is where things get confusing. The key to making the right equipment purchase is in the fine print. Below are the three most important questions to consider when purchasing Tier 4 machinery.


Where should I get my Tier 4 equipment?

Each Tier 4 solution varies by qualifying factors such as manufacturer, horsepower and country. The best way to figure out your individual Tier 4 solution is to meet with a dealer sales representative. Your representative will have access to the details that will answer any questions you have.


Your local Cat® Dealer can help you determine the best Tier 4 solution for your needs. Visit www.cat.com/dealer-locator to learn more.


What are my responsibilities as an owner/operator?

Learning about any extra owning and operating costs is a good place to start. The upgrade to Tier 4 equipment is an expensive investment, so any extra costs are going to matter.


Tier 4 emissions components automatically affect machine pricing, but they don’t have to affect performance. Ask your representative for the anticipated life of the emissions components, any details on fuel efficiency impact, or productivity changes in the machine. Answers to these questions will help you develop a timeline of expected costs that you can compare to your allotted budget.


Where’s the added value?

Determine what else (besides a Tier 4 engine) is included by considering things like increased operator comfort, better productivity, reduced sound levels, programmable features, ease of routine maintenance and reduced fuel consumption. Ask your representative to list all of the improvements that come with the Tier 4 upgrade.


Rental Options

If an upgrade is not manageable, you could rent the equipment needed to complete a Tier 4-required project. Rental is a great way to get what you need while managing risk and controlling cost.


With 1,600 locations, Cat Rental provides the flexibility needed for each job, a large equipment inventory and a high level of skilled support—all at a cost that works for you.


We’d like to hear about your experience with Tier 4.


  • Have you upgraded to a Tier 4 fleet? If so, what was the most important consideration you had when purchasing new equipment? 
  • Do you plan on upgrading your equipment to meet Tier 4 regulations? If not, what’s holding you back? 
  • What can Caterpillar do to help make the Tier 4 transition easier?


by GreenParts on ‎03-30-2013 08:45 AM

If history is any guide at all on this subject, 1. cost and complexity increase. 2. Durability and reliability decrease. 3.Overall ownership for any machine with these "improvements"

irregardless of manufacture will prove to  be short term with a resulting loss of equity as resale value will be considerably lower. 4. Renting will be at a higher premium as manufacturers are forced to rent instead of sell outright will be stuck with these imposed costs. Just saying.

by Moderator on ‎04-07-2013 10:29 PM

Implementing the Tier 4 solution increased the cost of the current generation of machines.  How much the cost increased varies with the type of machine, the horsepower level, and the solution selected by each manufacturer. 


Improvements in productivity and performance and enhancements in machine features and benefits are intended to have a positive impact on the total ownership period.  The marketplace will determine how well each machine meets these goals.


What machines or systems are you referencing when you make your predictions on issues such as durability, reliability, resale value, and rental rates?

by tyson_jt on ‎05-29-2013 09:43 AM

What about Scrubbers?  I have heard of many state jobs requiring T4 Machines that have allowed engine scrubbers, attached between the turbo and exhaust, that makes the emissions rating good enough for T4 type jobs.  An alternate solution I believe for those that are not ready to invest in the new machines.  


-Tyson Ely


by Moderator ‎06-06-2013 04:25 PM - edited ‎06-06-2013 04:58 PM

Great question regarding scrubbers and if they can substitute for a Tier 4 solution. I had to do a little investigating so sorry for the delay in my response. Here are a few comments.


Tier 4 emissions requirements are regulations that are clearly defined by the EPA. You mention that some state jobs that require Tier 4 machines will allow engines equipped with scrubbers. While scrubbers may reduce the emissions, they may not meet the Tier 4 standards.


Tier 4 compliant machines have a system that not only reduces the emissions but also self cleans the components so that the system performs to specifications for a regulated period of time. This is a major differentiator that is a part of a Tier 4 compliant system. A scrubber equipped machine may have reduced emissions levels initially but it may not be able to maintain this performance over time.


I would recommend that you get the details and specification requirements for the job to find out if a scrubber equipped machine does indeed meet the local requirements.

About the Author
  • I am a Marketing Communications Specialist for Caterpillar with over twelve years of experience marketing the Cat brand to customers in Latin and North America. My goal is to arm customers with the information needed to make well informed purchase decisions; to maximize the value of Cat machines by using an array of Cat Work Tool attachments; and to minimize the total cost of ownership by using Cat parts and Cat Dealer service.
  • I am an expert Operator and Application Specialist for Caterpillar concentrating on products used in the construction trades industry. I operate, evaluate and train on Cat machines and Work Tool Attachments worldwide. I have a Degree in Agricultural Engineering, Craftsman Certified and was named Apprentice of the Year 1981 at the University of East Anglia, UK.
  • I am the National Association Manager for Caterpillar and have responsibility for customer associations and partnerships in multiple industries for Caterpillar. I have 12 years of experience at Caterpillar, and have spent most of those years in the field with dealers and customers around North America. I have always had a passion for equipment and find myself fortunate to be able to work with dealers and customers almost every day.
  • I am a Sales Support Manager for Cat Financial and have responsibility for ensuring that the right financial products are available to Cat customers who purchase, lease or rent to own. 8 of my 10 years with Caterpillar Financial have allowed customer and/or dealer interaction as part of my daily responsibilities including over 3.5 years as a Territory Manager. I take personal satisfaction in finding financial solutions that work for our customers and CAT dealers.
  • I am a Product and Application Specialist with over 35 years experience at Caterpillar. I focus on helping you to determine the best Cat machines, work tool attachments, and services for you to use in the building and general construction, landscaping, specialty trades, and agricultural industries.

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