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Caterpillar ACERT Engines Gaining Acceptance: Says Company

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Cat officials trumpeted acceptance of their ACERT engines at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

'ACERTIVE' TECHNOLOGY': Cat trumps ACERT technology at Mid-America
'ACERTIVE' TECHNOLOGY': Cat trumps ACERT technology at Mid-America

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Cat officials trumpeted acceptance of their ACERT engines at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

Since Caterpillar started producing its full line of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified and compliant engines late in 2003, demand for engines equipped with ACERT has continued to grow, said Steve Brown, director of marketing for Caterpillar’s On-Highway Engines. He added more than 50,000 ACERT engines have been shipped since production began in 2003.

All five models-C7, C9, C11, C13 and C15-have been in full production since 2003.

“Based on customer reports, engines with ACERT are delivering the same reliability and durability that Cat engines provided prior to October 2002,” said Brown. “We’ve been telling fleets to buy a few engines with ACERT Technology, put them to the test, compare them to engines already in their fleets and evaluate the results. We knew going in that fleets would find our new engines to be a better value; and, sure enough, that’s what they’re telling us. Test fleets put more than 23 million miles on these engines in our field evaluation tests prior to production in October of last year. The reliability is there.”

Cat’s “buy and try” philosophy is working, Brown said, adding fleets are making repeat purchases in significant numbers.

“In fact, 15 of the 25 largest fleets have put engines equipped with ACERT technology on the road,” Brown said.

“This is the best new engine product introduction we’ve ever had-we’re shipping more than four times as many engines weekly as our nearest competitor to meet the demand.”

Brown cited industry sales figures that put Caterpillar at nearly 35 per cent of the heavy-duty industry.

He attributed the success to Cat’s track record for reliability. Fuel economy of the new Cat engines also is strong, according to Brown. “Many customers are telling us that not only has fuel economy proven to be three to five per cent better than competitive products, engines with ACERT technology also are achieving fuel economy comparable to pre-October ’02 Cat engines,” he said.

New engine ratings for

on-highway market

Cat also introduced several new engines ratings at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

Among them was the “King of the Hill” 625 horsepower C15, to be available as of fall 2004.

Caterpillar will also offer the C15 in a 600 horsepower rating. These C15 ratings will complement the entire Cat engine line of the C7, C9, C11 and C13-all equipped with ACERT technology. Several new ratings will be introduced for the C11 and C13 at the same time.

“Caterpillar already provides the most complete line of engines certified and compliant to EPA 2004 standards on the market today-the King of the Hill C15 and new ratings for the C11 and C13 further expand the range of high performance options for our customers, while still providing outstanding fuel economy,” said Brown.

The C15 will have 2,050 lb-ft of torque at 1,200 rpm and constant torque to 1,700 rpm, of interest particularly for owner/operators and heavy haulers working in extreme heavy-duty applications. Maximum horsepower of 625 is developed at 1,800 rpm, with 595 horsepower at 2,100 rpm. This rating has 38 per cent torque rise.

The King of the Hill C15 is built on a Cat engine platform with the same bore and stroke as the 550 hp C15. But the C15 has higher flow series turbochargers, a unique camshaft and the next generation Caterpillar electronic control module (ECM). This controller is four times faster than the former C15 ECM, with twice the memory.

Two engine retarders are available options for the King of the Hill C15, the Caterpillar compression brake and the Caterpillar BrakeSaver hydraulic retarder. The Cat compression brake provides 600 retarding horsepower, while BrakeSaver delivers 260 horsepower engine braking. For maximum retarding capability, these two retarders can be combined to provide up to 725 retarding horsepower, the maximum allowed by most driveline manufacturers.

Caterpillar also introduced a 600 hp C15 with 1,850 lb-ft of torque, as an option for the heavy hauler and owner/operator who want high horsepower with a lower cost driveline. This rating is also suited for recreational vehicles, emergency vehicles and fire trucks.

Five new horsepower ratings will be available for the C13: 470 horsepower with 1,550 lb-ft of torque; 470 horsepower with 1,650 lb-ft of torque; an economy rating of 470 horsepower Multi-torque with 1,550/1,750 lb-ft of torque; 470 horsepower Multi-torque with 1,550/1,750 lb-ft of torque, which yields maximum fuel economy when spec’d with Cat’s “Gear-Fast-Run-Super-Slow” gearing recommendations and the Eaton RTLOC16909A T-2 transmission; and 500 horsepower with 1,650 lb-ft of torque available as a field up-rate. These engine ratings, teamed with the lightweight C13, are suited to the truckload, tanker and vocational market and should be available this fall.

Two new horsepower ratings will also be offered for the C11 engine: 350 horsepower with 1450 lb-ft of torque and 370 horsepower with 1,450 lb-ft of torque. These ratings, combined with the rear power takeoff capability and low weight of the C11, make this engine an option for the mixer and dump truck market.

A new “Super Fuel Saver” multi-torque rating, combined with jointly developed Eaton transmission model RTLOC-16909A-T2, should optimize the fuel economy benefit of Cat engines with ACERT, said Cat officials. The new rating and transmission combination is an available option on the C13 and C15.

When combined with the 10-speed Eaton transmission, the Cat Super Fuel Saver rating improves fuel economy by taking full advantage of the torque curve provided by ACERT technology, explained John Campbell, director of on-highway engine products, Caterpillar On-Highway Engine Department. When spec’ing a drivetrain for a truck equipped with a Cat engine with ACERT, set the cruise at 65 mph while only turning 1,325 rpm. The vehicle can be operated at higher speeds, but optimum fuel efficiency will occur at 65 mph.

“One major advantage of ACERT Technology is that it allows the driver to operate the truck efficiently at a lower rpm and still maintain a reasonable cruise speed, resulting in superior fuel economy,” said Campbell.

“This Cat Super Fuel Saver rating, combined with the Eaton transmission, is designed to optimize that fuel economy benefit-trucks spec’d with this combination can improve fuel economy by one-tenth of a mile per gallon, which to a large fleet translates to significant savings.”

Another key strength of the new transmission is flexibility, said Brown. Although it was designed primarily to help fleets get the best possible fuel economy from their engines with ACERT, at trade time it is easily converted to specifications preferred by owner/operators. Simply up-rate the engine to 1,650 lb-ft torque at 500 hp, convert the transmission to a 13-speed (model RTLO-16913A), and it cruises at 1,465 rpm at 72 mph.

“Fleet owners who spec’ their trucks powered by Cat engines with this transmission will enjoy superior resale value, since owner/operators can convert it to achieve optimal performance,” Brown said.

Several other features enhance driveability, he added. To take advantage of the performance and higher boost ACERT offers, modifications were made to the electronics.

Improvements to the cruise control enhance responsiveness by allowing a smoother transition from coasting episodes to acceleration by better anticipating the need for power.

An “auto-retarder in cruise” feature provides three stages of retarding action: medium retarder, high retarder and high retarder with automatic downshift. The transmission shifts automatically in the top two gears, which helps protect drivers from fatigue.

Caterpillar brake

available for C15

The Caterpillar heavy-duty compression brake will become an option on the C15 this fall.

The brake is currently available as an option for the C11 and C13.

The system provides 25 per cent more braking power
in the recommended operating range when compared to previous systems, said Campbell.

“The optional Cat compression brake is integral to the engine and delivers increased braking power, along with lower operating costs, higher productivity, shorter trip times and better vehicle control,” he said.

The Cat compression braking system provides engine-braking torque by opening the exhaust valves during the compression stroke of the engine. Using a conventional master/slave brake actuation system, the retarder opens the cylinder’s exhaust valves to release compressed air.

The electronic control module (ECM) controls the actuator valves through a data link that supplies and receives information from vehicle subsystems, automatically activating and deactivating the system as needed.

Compression braking is available at all times, provided engine speed is greater than a preset minimum (typically 800 rpm), and the fuel command sensory signal is less than or equal to zero, so no fuel is supplied to the engine.

The enhanced control provided by the Cat compression brake translates to numerous benefits for the driver, according to Campbell.

More information is available at

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