How is the new Stage IV emissions standard being implemented at CLAAS?
Interview with Jan-Hendrik Mohr, Director of Sales and Services
A step-by-step EU schedule for exhaust emissions reduction, stipulating the respective introduction and transition periods, has been in place for some years now. The schedule currently concerns passenger cars and trucks, later extending to agricultural machinery. Unlike our competitors, CLAAS adopts a highly systematic approach in exploiting these permitted transition windows and will continue to offer proven Stage IIIa technology right up until the introduction of Stage IV.
What does emissions reduction mean for CLAAS?
Mohr: New emissions standards have long been a topic of interest to CLAAS, and we're working with our suppliers to develop the perfect engine configuration for our machines. At the SIMA event in Paris, we presented the AXION 900 as a Stage IIIb machine. Since the product range offered by CLAAS to its customers is technically very young overall, we purposefully intend to offer Stage IIIa technology in the current and upcoming financial years and make very flexible use of the transition periods. The reasons for this are clear: current technologies with extensive emissions reduction that comply with current standards work without expensive supplementary equipment such as a diesel particulate filter (DPF) or SCR catalytic converter.
What is your impression on the current debate over SCR and EGR with DPF?
Mohr: We are familiar with both systems and intend to continue using both in future. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. From our highly comprehensive test programmes, we know that current (promotional) campaigns are based on "laboratory values" that are by no means substantiated in practice. The matter has almost become a battle of opinions, and we don't want to get mixed up in it. We prefer instead to provide pragmatic answers that our customers can act on.
Why is CLAAS continuing to focus on the Stage IIIa emissions standard?
Mohr: The new legislation comprises not only the introduction of emissions standard Stage IIIb, but also calls to further reduce the NOx threshold values after three more years up to the final emissions standard Stage IV. Our current engine technology meets the applicable standard Stage IIIa, and has demonstrated just how well it works in the field. We therefore plan to use the two-year transition period for Stage IIIa. This will enable us to synchronise our planned product development cycles with the introduction of emissions standards. For many CLAAS products, that means we will skip standard Stage IIIb entirely and go straight on to emissions standard Stage IV, which, based on current forecasts, is expected to remain in place for a very long time.
And what does that mean for your customers?
Mohr: It means that our customers are not forced to make costly investments in the next emissions standard at the present time. With Stage IIIa, our customers are using a technology that already cuts out a large proportion of exhaust gases in the engine, and which, globally speaking, will most likely become standard. That means further favourable pricing for CLAAS machines sold later down the line, so why pay more now?
How is Stage IIIb (Tier 4i) being introduced at CLAAS?
Mohr: The AXION 900, which will be available for purchase from spring 2012, will be equipped with Stage IIIb technology in line with future requirements. For many other model series, we intend to synchronise product development with the introduction of emissions standard Stage IV. Field testing for this is currently under way.
What are your thoughts on competitors' assertions that certain technologies ought to be more fuel-efficient?
Mohr: At present, our competitors are focused solely on one aspect, namely fuel savings based on highly specific tests. In contrast, we look at the system as a whole from the perspective of application in the field. The discussion on SCR and EGR detracts from crucial matters. What's important is determining the working system that works most effectively with available engine output. In this respect, CLAAS has been and continues to be at the forefront. The engine is just one factor; efficiency in the field is key. With CLAAS POWER SYSTEMS, you can be assured of success, whichever exhaust gas treatment system is installed.
Comparison of European/US legislation.
Overview of countries participating in exhaust emissions legislation.