Benefits of Stage V Engines For End Users

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The environmental need for cleaner and fuel efficient engines is obvious, but what are the benefits of Stage V engines for end users? As more stringent environmental controls are introduced, manufacturers of plant and other construction equipment have no choice but to comply. It can often seem that the needs of the end user have no bearing on the decisions made by government either. However in the wake of Stage IV emissions regulations, it became obvious that reduction of harmful substances in exhaust gases was an EU priority. Manufacturers, with long-range visibility of upcoming requirements, could factor in design elements in anticipation of these with customer priorities in mind.

What Is Stage V Legislation?

Stage V legislation (Regulation 2016/ 1628) is an EU ruling governing harmful emissions in exhaust gases. This specifically applies to all Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) with spark/ compression ignition engines. It was designed to reduce emitted particulate matter (PM) and gases from construction, industrial and agricultural machinery in a similar manner to existing legislation for road vehicles. By limiting emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particle emissions (mainly diesel soot) across these industries, air pollution can be significantly reduced. Compared to Stage IV, Stage V places a higher emphasis on not only lowering the mass of PM in exhaust gases, but the number of particles emitted from individual filters. This will bring the emission limits down to 3 to 4 per cent of those allowed by Stage I, introduced in 1999.
This was introduced incrementally, allowing the affected industries a year to catch up. In January 2019, the new legislation was introduced for engines below 56 kW and engines of 130 kW and above. From January 2020, this was extended to include engines in the 56 kW to 130 kW range, to bring all relevant NRMM into line. This has necessitated a number of solutions, as there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to make all engines compliant. For example, in the 19 to 37 kW engine range, previously unseen common-rail fuel systems and exhaust after-treatment are now being applied as standard.

Benefits of Stage V Engines

1. Lower Fuel Consumption

Replacing or refitting plant machinery to comply with Stage V legislation will inevitably drive up outgoings for all businesses involved. As a result, it is imperative that savings be made elsewhere to compensate for this wherever possible. As noted earlier, after Stage IV legislation was implemented, engine manufacturers were well aware that Stage V would not be far behind. Rather than see this as a drawback, it was taken as an opportunity to completely rethink many aspects of engine design. For example, replacing the unit injectors on heavy duty engines with common rail injection improves combustion and optimises fuel injection rates. Integrating aftertreatment systems into engine designs means no add-ons are needed that could add to overall weight. More efficient engine designs also provide owners with the opportunity to downsize engines with no loss of power. Again, this reduces weight which lowers fuel consumption. Most manufacturers cite a reduction of at least 5% from Stage V engines compared to Stage IV. This offers a significant reduction to total cost of ownership over the engine’s lifetime.

2. Reduced Noise Output

In urban or metropolitan construction areas, noise pollution is becoming less and less acceptable. During operation, diesel engines will produce noise and when many are operating at once this can be a major issue. In addition to plant machinery, compressors and generators will usually be diesel powered, compounding this issue. Stage V engine architecture significantly reduces engine noise in all diesel powered machinery and equipment. Not only will this reduce complaints and foster better relationships with businesses or residents nearby, it will create a healthier work environment for construction workers. Work will also be able to continue for longer hours without causing disruption or nuisance to others. This is particularly useful in the winter when extra generators will be required for heating and lighting in addition to normal plant machinery.

3. Increased Power Density

A further benefit of Stage V engines over their predecessors is their higher power output, in both mobile machinery and generators. Improved engine design has led to increased power output at all sizes of engine. All industrial applications were considered, with an emphasis on maximum power and torque at low rpm. In some models increases in power density of up to 28% and torque up by 29% have been possible over previous generations of diesel engines. Again, this allows engine downsizing, reducing initial outlay and ongoing fuel costs. More compact engines have allowed systems using fast-paralleling twin generators for independent or parallel work, boosting power output and lowering costs.

4. Lower Maintenance Costs

The radical redesigns that engine manufacturers undertook in advance of Stage V legislation greatly increased engine reliability. The total engine lifecycle was taken into account, with ease of maintenance and service intervals a priority. This not only saves money on servicing, maintenance and parts, it reduces equipment downtime. This allows the end user to get the maximum use of all equipment, with interruptions in work kept to a minimum. As most Stage V engines are essentially improved versions of prior Stage IV models, the platform and footprint usually remain unchanged. This makes installation of Stage V engines as quick, simple and cost effective as possible. Often, a complete engine replacement will not be necessary. Most, if not all, Stage IV engines were designed ahead of time with Stage V compliance in mind. By fitting the appropriate exhaust aftertreatment system from the same manufacturer, your engine will be Stage V compliant with the minimum of fuss, cost and downtime.

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