JCB launches low emission backhoes and telehandlers

02 July 2012

JCB is now fitting its own Stage IIIB/Interim Tier 4 compliant engines to its telescopic handlers an

JCB is now fitting its own Stage IIIB/Interim Tier 4 compliant engines to its telescopic handlers and 3CX & 4CX backhoe loaders.

JCB has launched new backhoe loaders and telescopic handlers, along with several mid-sized excavators, which meet the latest Stage IIB/Interim Tier 4 emissions requirements without the use of exhaust aftertreatment systems. This achievement, which is unique in the industry, is thanks to the use of JCB's own 4 cylinder Eco Max diesel engine in the machines, which has been specially designed to meet the new standards.

"While most manufacturers chose to reduce particulate matter (PM) with a diesel particulate filter (DPF), JCB chose to innovate and deal with the problem at source," said JCB engine service manager, Ollie Howlett. He added, "The new combustion chamber is where the magic starts to happen. It is a very different burn process - cleaner and more efficient."

The company says there are several advantages to not having to use aftertreatment. The absence of these bulky components reduces cost and often aids visibility for the operator, because engine compartments can be kept small.

In addition, JCB says it has achieved between 5% and 10% fuel economy compared to the Stage IIIA/Tier 3 versions of its engines. Further operational savings come standard oils can be used, rather than the low ash oils that are required with aftertreatment systems. The company says low ash oils are around +30% more expensive than standard lubricants.

There is also no need to periodically clean or replace aftertreatment systems such as the DPF, and there is also no need to use the urea-based diesel exhaust fluids (DEF) that are required by selective catalytic reduction (SCR) aftertreatment systems.

"No DPF means no need to buy costly filters and no aftertreatment means no additives," said group engineering director Mick Mohan.

Resale options

Another key advantage is that machines can be modified for use in unregulated emissions markets without any hardware changes. JCB says its 'recalibration' system is a simple software change that any of its dealers can do. In contrast, engines using aftertreatment must be fuelled with ultra low sulphur diesel, which is only widely available in Japan, the EU and US. "This opens it up to markets that only have access to lower grade fuels," said Mr Howlett.

JCB's Eco Max engine is available in power ratings from 55 to 129 kW, which makes it suitable for telescopic handlers, backhoe loaders and rough terrain forklifts as well as certain models of wheeled loader, excavator and skid steer loader.

The company makes some 220 variants from the same 4.4 litre block and this year passed the milestone of manufacturing its 200,000th engine, having started production in late 2004. Most of these have been at the main JCB Power Systems factory near Uttoxeter, UK, but in April last year it started up production in Pune, India, and has made 30,000 engines there to date.

New machines

JCB has now launched a range of new machines that feature its Stage IIIB/Interim Tier 4-compliant engines, including its flagship backhoe loaders and telescopic handlers. The engines have also been fitted to several medium-sized excavators and all these new machines are available with an expanded version of JCB's Live Link telematics system.

The absence of aftertreatment mean there are no styling changes to the range of backhoe loaders that were launched two years ago at Bauma - including to the sloping hood that houses the engine. However, where JCB has made a significant departure is in the range of power ratings it is offering.

A more economical 3CX is available with a 55 kW engine, as well as the mid-range 68 kW machines and high powered 81 kW variants - the same rating as the 4x4x4 4CX. However, JCB says that the more efficient engine means even the most powerful 3CX achieves 2% fuel savings compared to the previous range-topper, rated at 74 kW. JCB says it is the only manufacturer in Europe to offer such a wide range of power options, most notably the economical 55 kW machines.

"While some manufacturers have purely chased the high horsepower market, JCB continues to meet the needs of all backhoe loader customers, with both standard and high horsepower models, said chief innovation and growth officer, Tim Burnhope.

The company says that the use of a variable flow hydraulic pump means that fuel savings of up to 6% have been achieved on the new models, while increasing peak hydraulic flow across the range.

Improvements to the backhoes' electronic control system mean there are no under-bonnet daily checks to be carried out, as any alerts will show on the in-cab display and also be registered on the Live Link telematics system. JCB says this is likely to prove popular with rental companies in particular, which can't be sure daily checks are always carried out by its customers and their operators.

At the excavator end, the side-shift (for markets that do not favour a central king post design) has been improved, with the powered version no featuring a wire rope, rather than the less durable chain of previous versions.

In the telehandler segment, where JCB says it is the world's top manufacturer, the company is now fitting its own engines across the range, rated at 55 kW, 81 kW or 93 kW.

The 55 kW engine is standard on the seven smallest construction handlers in the range, from the 3.1 tonne capacity, 7 m vertical reach 531-70 to the 4 tonne, 14 m 540-140, but many of these are available with the 81 kW engine as an option. The next three models - up to the 4 tonne, 17 m 540-170 - come with the 81 kW engine as standard, but 93 kW version is an option. The largest engine is standard in only the range-topping 550-80, which has a 5 tonne capacity and 8 m of vertical reach.

On the European-style low boom machines, the absence of aftertreatment in the engine means the wheel base has been kept short for a tight turning circle, and there is good visibility across the engine cover to the driver's right. Air circulation through the engine compartment has been redesigned so hot air now exits to the top, rather than to the side, which helps prevent dust being blown around at ground level.

JCB-powered excavators

JCB is also fitting its own engines into excavators for the first time in highly regulated markets. Earlier this year it announced it would keep using Isuzu Stage IIIB/Tier 4 Interim engines in its 24 tonne+ models, but it has now launched JCB-powered versions of the JS 115, JS130 and JS145, which weigh in at 11.5, 13 and 14.5 tonnes.

The combination of the new engine and other fuel saving features, such as automatic idling in all work modes, means the new models are around 10% more fuel efficient than their predecessors. JCB says this translates to savings of € 4200 (US$ 5250) over the course of three years for an owner in the UK using a JS 145 for about 1600 hours per year.

In the cab a new LCD display is available in either a 100 mm or 180 mm size, with the larger version being compatible with optional cameras on the machine. As well as showing the usual information - hours, fuel, time to next service and so on - the display also allows the operator to name and store ten different settings for machine attachments. On-board electronics meanwhile automatically match engine speed and hydraulic performance to the work mode selected.

Also new

In addition to machines powered by its own engines, JCB has also launched two new additions to its wheeled loader range, the 427 and 437, which follow in the footsteps of the range-topping 457 launched at the start of the year. Cummins engines and ZF drivetrains are a feature of all three machines, as are a range of boom options.

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