Coal Age

JUN 2017

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26 June 2017 high horsepower Diesel Update: New Engine Platforms and Updates Aim for Higher Versatility, Lower TCO High-horsepower engine sales are stuck in the slow lane, but suppliers are adding new services and performance improvements to pave the way for future fleet expansion opportunities by russell a. carter, contributing editor Like an audience holding its collective breath while a performer prolongs a diffi- cult note at the end of a song, mining-in- dustry suppliers probably won't take a deep breath until they hear a higher note of interest from mine owners in placing big- ger orders for new production equipment. In today's business climate, hard rock producers are largely focusing on reduc- ing operational costs, paring future project plans to an absolute minimum and preserv- ing/extending the useful life of their current mobile equipment assets. One of the con- sequences of this focus is that trucks and other equipment are in some cases sitting idle — or on their way to an auction site — at mines around the world, and large fleet orders are few and far between. Although some commodity prices showed signs of recovery over the past year, any surge in large fleet purchases is probably still over the horizon for most mining original equip- ment manufacturers (OEMs). Sitting in the front row of the supplier audience are the major providers of the diesel engines that power mining-class haul trucks, excavators, wheel loaders and bulldozers. As third-quarter 2016 finan- cial reports from Cummins, Caterpillar and others indicated, demand for new, high-payload haulers and diggers — and the large-displacement engines that power them — remains weak, particularly for top- of-the-line, ultra-class trucks and shovels. The most optimistic forecast from these suppliers predicts, at best, a near-term flattening of the downward sales curve that followed the end of the mining boom. Consequently, it's been a period of revenue realignment, goals adjustment, and for some engine manufacturers, re- structuring to cope with economic reality to better serve the needs of their mining customers. This was evident at MINExpo 2016 — the industry's largest equipment trade show, held last September — where engine suppliers emphasized new prod- ucts and services primarily aimed at help- ing customers keep their high-horsepower diesels running longer and more reliably, even with extended service intervals. 2 New Platforms From Liebherr To be sure, however, economic conditions haven't totally stifled new engine develop- ment. Earlier in 2016, Liebherr debuted two new engine platforms — the D96XX and D98XX series, covering the 700-kilowatt (kW) to 4,500-kW (940-hp to 6,000-hp) range. The first of the D96XX series will be a V20 model rated at up to 1,500 kW at 1,900 rpm. The new Liebherr engines comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Tier 4 final exhaust emission limits and can be equipped with the company's selective catalytic reduction (SCR) exhaust gas aftertreatment system. During the de- sign phase, said Liebherr, its engineering team incorporated a system that uses mul- tiple fuel injection pulses at a pressure of 2,200 bar (32,000 psi), made possible by a new common rail fuel injection system, and providing enhanced performance and im- proved emissions control. According to the company, engine cylinder banks also were designed at an optimum angle of 108° and the firing order was sequenced to minimize the need for rotary vibration damping. With a specific power output of up to 43.5 kW or 60 hp per liter, Liebherr's D98XX series engines are claimed to have the highest power density available in this market segment. In addition, said Liebherr, principal components such as injectors, high-pressure injection pumps and intelli- gent engine control units are designed for high efficiency and maximum fuel econo- my. The D98 series will be available in three A worker tightens a valve spring retainer on a 12-cylinder Series 4000 diesel at MTU's Aiken, South Carolina, engine plant. MTU, a unit of Rolls Royce Power Systems, delivered the first Series 4000 unit to a mining customer in 1996.

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