May 16, 2020

The Financial Implications of Tier 4 Implementation

Construction equipment
US Construction
Environmental Prote
Construction equipment
3 min
The EPA says exhaust emissions from Nonroad diesel engines will decrease by more than 90 percent
The past few years have seen vast improvements in the way diesel-powered equipment engines are built to meet the Environmental Protection Agencys (EPA...

The past few years have seen vast improvements in the way diesel-powered equipment engines are built to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final Tier 4 emissions reduction standards. 
Tier 4 engines were introduced in 2012, starting with the addition of a variety of safe, efficient products that adhere to emissions requirements and use the latest technology from major manufacturers.

The final Tier 4 engines have a 60 percent reduction in emissions compared to Tier 4i (interim). The emission output from 25 Tier 4 engines will be equivalent to one Tier 1 diesel engine from 1996.
Contractors will see an increase in the cost of Tier 4 equipment, which has been the case during the last few years with the evolution of the products. The 10 percent to 25 percent increase comes from the engine design, build and installation, as well as government requirements. 

Keep in mind, the cost of an engine in a small air compressor may be 50 percent of the total unit cost compared to an engine for a wheel loader, which may account for less than 20 percent of the overall cost. Companies also should expect higher maintenance costs, as special fluids, filters and servicing is required for proper maintenance.              
Prior to renting or purchasing equipment, see if the project scope calls for final Tier 4 diesel engines to be used. Additionally, be sure to familiarise staff with how to operate the unit correctly so projects stay on schedule. Training packages are available to ensure that every mechanic and operator is properly educated on how to maintain this new technology.
If equipment costs are on the rise, where do contractors see a break? Many Tier 4 engines on units with at least 75 hp use one to four percent less fuel compared to Tier 4i engines in certain applications. With the addition of selective catalytic reduction technology, Tier 4 engines use Diesel Exhaust Fluid, which costs less than fuel and decreases the overall costs related to consumed fluids. 
Also, by renting instead of buying, contractors minimise their cash outlay and capital requirement because they only pay for the time needed to complete the project. As such, any additional costs are only fractional because usage is minimised when renting compared to purchasing.

By renting more equipment, contractors may better direct their dollars to do what they do best: managing and completing projects. Rental companies can deliver the latest high-tech equipment to the site with the assurance that the job is 100 percent compliant. 
Many contractors may take into consideration the resale value of pre-Tier 4 equipment. This has been a common question and challenge due to the fact that resale equipment frequently is shipped outside the United States, where EPA regulations are not required. What happens to the equipment with Tier 4i engines?

Major manufacturers are working on kits to restore these engines back to Tier 3 so they can be shipped overseas without dramatically affecting resale value and cost. All newly produced units inside the United States are required by the EPA to be Tier 4, which then adds greater cost to engines that have to be reprogrammed back to Tier 4i and below.
Implementing the final Tier 4 engines comes at a great cost. However, meeting the new EPA regulations allows contractors to better compete for sustainable projects. As rental and purchasing decisions arise during the course of the year, closely consider the project’s guidelines and budget, as Tier 4 engines cost more but can improve production and efficiency.   

Steve Michaels is Vice President of fleet operations at Neff Rental. For more information, email [email protected].

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Jun 11, 2021

How could drones be used in the construction industry?

2 min
As artificial Intelligence (AI) and drone technology develop, how could might drones be used in other industries such as construction?

The use of drones and drone technology including artificial intelligence in several industries has become increasingly popular in recent years. Whether it’s for security purposes or even a bit of fun, drones are a convenient way of monitoring situations from above. So, could this be beneficial to the construction industry? In short, yes, and here are some of the ways the industry can use them. 

Promotional photography

Whenever a construction project is complete, it’s always important to take images of it looking its best so that the project itself or even a business can be promoted. With drones, the ability to record aerial footage and take photos from the sky adds a new dimension to displaying a construction project. A drone, provided it specced correctly, can capture video and photos in 4K HD from unique angles and provide an interesting perspective on a building project. A drone could be particularly useful to estate agents who are looking to show properties that they are trying to sell. 

Laser Scanning

Occasionally surveyors need to laser scan parts of a building for planning and design reasons. This can be particularly challenging when trying to scan higher parts of a building due to not having a laser scanning tool that can reach. However, laser scanning capabilities in drones mean that they are able to capture things like the exact detail of topography and buildings while also having the ability to point cloud scan, which was previously difficult due to the restricted access of high points on buildings. 

Virtual “walk-around”

In construction, there are often times when a high level of risk is involved. This usually means have to complete certain tasks virtually. Drones can help workers do this through the use of their First Person View (FPV) technology. With this, a drone can stream HD footage to the project team and provide them with a live view of what it is seeing. This can be enhanced further with Virtual Reality (VR) glasses. 

Site logistics   

Activities on-site don’t always go as planned and if it’s a large site, it can especially difficult for managers and other interested personnel to determine the location of their workers, tools, and vehicles. Thanks to a drone’s ability to be operated remotely, they can provide managers with a birds-eye view of the whole site, as it flies around to each individual area. That way, they can gain a better understanding and awareness of exactly where everything is. 

Drones, therefore, have many uses for the construction industry from security to locating specific tools or vehicles, to laser-scanning features, all in 4K HD video. Maybe drones will become the future of not just the construction industry but many others, too.


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