Engine manufacturers are revising product ranges to ensure that they will comply with upcoming emissions legislation. PEi examines Perkins’ strategy to update its product range to meet the complexities of world markets.

Siân Green

The global power market is a demanding place to be for any equipment manufacturer: diverse markets, differing legislation and varied and unpredictable demand mean that suppliers must have the right portfolio of equipment at the right time and right price to satisfy customer needs. It’s a logistical headache and requires companies to continually monitor changes in the markets and update their products accordingly.

One example of market complexity that manufacturers must overcome is emissions legislation. While this is generally becoming more stringent all over the world, there are vast differences between regions both in terms of emissions levels and types of pollutant under control. This means that a piece of equipment may be suitable for installation in one part of the world but not for another.

Figure 1. Perkins is developing its range of engines to meet current and future emissions legislation
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Legislation for emissions from off-road engines is a case in point. Emission standards are well advanced in North America, with the European Union following close behind. Other parts of the world – for example parts of Asia – have also implemented standards of some sort, while most other areas have little or no emission control legislation. Thus engine manufacturers must be able to tailor their products for up to four different levels of emission compliance.

In North America, engine manufacturers will have to certify that diesel engines built for stationary applications such as power generation meet new EPA regulations by January 2007. The EPA emission standards cover nitrous oxides (NOx), unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter and are being phased in for stationary diesel engines so that between 2007 and 2010, engines must meet Tiers 2, 3, or 4, depending on their power output. From 2011 onwards, they must meet Tier 3 or 4 standards.

European legislation is following that of North America. Thus in the EU, new requirements on mobile generating sets will come into force in January 2007. These EU Stage 2 requirements are equivalent to EPA Tier 2 standards, and will be tightened in 2011.

According to Tony Robinson, product engineering manager for large engines at Perkins, meeting EPA Tier 2 and EU Stage 2 standards is largely about adjusting the mechanics of an engine to optimize the combustion system and fuel system. Higher standards (Tier 3) require engine electronics, and Tier 4 engines will need exhaust aftertreatment such as selective catalytic reduction (SCR) for NOx abatement and particulate filters.

Market complexities

Perkins, the UK-based diesel and gas engine manufacturer, is finding that the lifetime of its engine platforms is falling due to the evolving emissions legislation. “Product development is key,” says Tim Cresswell, industrial marketing manager at Perkins. “We are making changes annually to keep pace with legislation and customer needs.”

The increased complexity in managing the different legislative environments around the world has driven Perkins to consolidate its range of engine platforms. While the rationalization exercise will reduce the number of platforms that it offers, there will be greater commonality between platforms in terms of design, while each platform will ultimately be compliant for multiple emission standards, giving them maximum market access.

Figure 2. Perkins has invested over £8 million ($16 million) in its Stafford, UK site to increase productivity and efficiency
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A rationalized range with common design elements will, believes Perkins, simplify things for its customers, reduce the service burden, and will also allow Perkins to react more quickly to changes in the market.

To illustrate the new concept, Cresswell uses Perkins’ 1100 Series, which began life as a Tier 2 solution. However, this 30-200 kVA platform now meets four emission compliance levels (Tiers 0-3). “So we have one product family with a common design that covers the world for this power range,” says Cresswell.

The latest addition to Perkins’ 1100 Series is the 1100D, the electronic versions of which use Caterpillar’s ACERT technology to meet Tier 3 requirements (see PEi March 2006, p33). At the heart of these engines is an advanced combustion management system that employs a precisely controlled, multiple fuel injection strategy and common rail delivery to control NOx and hydrocarbon levels. Significantly, cost of ownership and fuel consumption will remain comparable to that of existing Tier 2 engines, says Perkins, despite the availability of up to 43 per cent more power available across the range.

The six cylinder version – the 1106D – is already on the market, while the four and three cylinder version will be ready in January 2007 and January 2008, respectively.

Figure 3. New paint booths have been installed at the Stafford, UK facility
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The new 1106D will also play a key role in the future development of Perkins’ 1300 Series by replacing the lower output (150-180 kVA) engines of that range. This will simplify the 1300 platform, providing Perkins’ customers with a product that has a high power density and reduced footprint. It will also give Perkins increased competitiveness in this output range, it says.

The higher-rated engines of the 1300 Series (200-250 kVA), meanwhile, have been undergoing development to bring them in line with the EU 2007 emissions requirements. These engines are undergoing certification and will be available in October 2006.

New products

Perkins has sold over 21 000 units of its 2000 Series (300-650 kVA) but to meet forthcoming emissions legislation and to increase platform simplicity and commonality, it is replacing two of the three platforms.

Perkins is to replace its 14 l, 300-400 kVA 2300 Series engines with a new engine product, the 2200 Series. This 13 l model will be EPA Tier 3 compliant and will offer a reduced package size and lower fuel consumption compared to its predecessor when it is launched in October 2007.

Similarly, the 16 l version of Perkins’ 2800 Series is to be replaced by a new 2500 Series which Perkins plans to have available in July 2006. These 500-550 kVA, 15 l engines will also be EU 2007 and EPA Tier 3 compliant, with new turbochargers giving an improved fuel consumption over the existing 16 l engines. The ‘A’ variant of the range will be suited to operation in non-compliance areas.

In the 550-650 kVA range, Perkins is developing its 18 l 2800 Series engines to be EU 2007 and EPA Tier 2 compliant by applying technology from the new 2500 Series. The upgraded package will be on the market in October 2006, says Perkins.

4000 Series

Perkins’ 4000 Series range of engines is comprised of 6, 8, 12 and 16 cylinder diesel and spark-ignited gas engines in turbocharged form. While these engines are already TA Luft compliant, new legislation for engines greater than 650 kVA means that Perkins must make further developments.

Key areas of development in this range are new exhaust manifolds, a revised turbo arrangement, an uprated fuel system, a new digital governor and a revised charge air pipe arrangement. In addition to emissions compliance, these changes will lead to an increased power density and reduced package size.

Perkins is tackling this project in a phased approach; a new injector introduced to the 4006 is now in production, and the company has embarked on the 4012 development. The 4016 engine development will start towards the end of 2006, with the first 4016-61 product available from the beginning of 2008.

Perkins is also updating its 4000 Series gas engine range to achieve a simplified product offering and a more standardised manufacturing build. The addition of a new cylinder head, turbo and exhaust manifolds will result in a 23 per cent power increase and a 3.5 per cent thermal efficiency increase. It is also developing the engine to run on waste gases such as landfill gas and biogas.

Perkins: a foundation for the future

Perkins operates in six market sectors, but it is the genset market that provides the bulk of its revenues, accounting for 29 per cent of units sold and 44 per cent of revenues in 2005. Aware of the importance of maintaining its market share in this competitive environment, the company invests annually around $20 million in research and development, and $15 million of capital in its business.

One of its major recent investments has been in the operations of its Stafford, UK manufacturing site, home of its 2000 and 4000 Series. In a major re-engineering project, the company has redesigned and relocated assembly lines, invested in its supply chain, reorganized its structure, retrained employees and invested in flexible core machine tools. A total investment in the Stafford facility of £8.8 million ($16 million) has resulted in an increase in turnover at the site from £64 million in 2003 (with 340 employees) to £200 million (with 500 employees) in 2005.