Consider a future in which construction machines deliver on their purpose more sustainably, fueled by what we consider “waste.” What if these machines also produce 80% less emissions while improving the working environment of the operators? This was the ambitious goal the CASE Construction Equipment team set for itself. And it’s become more than a goal. The project designers and engineers have achieved it.

The project, code named TETRA, shows how professional construction operators could help spearhead the move away from fossil fuel-powered vehicles toward renewable sources by playing a fundamental role in the “closed loop” virtuous cycle, which sees methane-powered wheel loaders help produce the fuel from waste products and renewable sources, which ultimately powers them. And although this is a concept, CASE, a global construction brand of CNH Industrial N.V., is already working towards ultimate market viability.

Consider a future in which construction machines deliver on their purpose more sustainably, fueled by what we consider “waste.” What if these machines also produce 80% less emissions while improving the working environment of the operators? This was the ambitious goal the CASE Construction Equipment team set for itself. And it’s become more than a goal. The project designers and engineers have achieved it.

The project, code named TETRA, shows how professional construction operators could help spearhead the move away from fossil fuel-powered vehicles toward renewable sources by playing a fundamental role in the “closed loop” virtuous cycle, which sees methane-powered wheel loaders help produce the fuel from waste products and renewable sources, which ultimately powers them. And although this is a concept, CASE, a global construction brand of CNH Industrial N.V., is already working towards ultimate market viability.

The CASE concept uses an FPT Industrial six-cylinder methane engine that has been specifically developed for construction applications and delivers maximum power of 230 hp – identical to the equivalent diesel power plant – and torque up to 1,184 Nm. This is achieved with a 50% reduction in drive-by noise levels, which makes it suited for municipal applications and when working in close proximity to offices, residential areas and people. The engine also offers the same reliability and durability and fuel savings up to 30%. It runs on compressed natural gas (CNG), ensuring 15% less CO2 and 99% less particulate matter than its diesel-based counterpart.

The engine features stoichiometric combustion technology, developed by FPT Industrial and first introduced in 1995. It ensures the correct chemical balance between air and methane in every working condition, delivering clean combustion and low emissions. The technology is applied across the entire natural gas engine portfolio as it enables comparative performance to diesel engines, while delivering ultra-low emissions and high efficiency.

The loader is able to complete the full range of tasks that a standard diesel-powered wheel loader would undertake. From efficient work in quarries, waste handling facilities, agricultural applications, and wood yards through to municipal applications, and those which require extensive transport, this concept machine delivers optimal performance in a productive and sustainable package. Furthermore, it is compatible with the complete range of buckets, and was fitted with high tip and quarry versions from Leonardi Benne during the initial testing activities.

To make efficient use of space, the loader’s fuel is stored within technologically advanced tanks within a sleek and integrated storage unit fitted at the rear and sides of the wheel loader. This configuration enables a full day of autonomy. The wheel loader is as easy to refuel as one powered conventionally by diesel, using a single nozzle, from ground level, and with comparable filling time.

Due to the reduction in polluting emissions arising from methane combustion, a simplified aftertreatment system is used, which features a maintenance-free single standard catalytic converter.

Innovative, Productivity-focused Design

The minimalist design of the cab offers intuitive, clutter-free operation, with instant access to all key controls via ergonomic joysticks and an integrated, armrest-mounted, color touchscreen monitor. The armrest-mounted monitor is the operating hub, and can be used to control the following functions:

  • Face scan to activate start-up sequence.
  • Bucket load-fill assist screen which displays target load, current bucket load, via loader arm mounted sensors, and remaining load.
  • Jobsite map, which tracks incoming trucks, indicates the fastest route to the selected work area and displays general site information.
  • Weather screens showing real-time weather reports.
  • Lighting parameters, Bluetooth telephone, heating and ventilation and music controls.
  • Access to secondary machine parameters, machine settings and additional submenus.

All of these settings can be directly modified on the touchscreen. Upon request, the screen can be swiped from the armrest monitor the lower right-hand A-Pillar screen. When no longer required, the operator simply selects another screen from the armrest monitor to swipe and replace.

The inclined A-Pillar screens have been mounted to align with the cab’s pillars and provide at-a-glance key information:

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  • The top right and left screens display the front and rear camera feed. Cab-mounted cameras replace traditional wing mirrors, and the display is automatically linked to the direction of travel, changing in sync with machine shuttling.
  • The central right A-Pillar screen features all key machine operating parameters including machine speed, engine speed, fuel level, engine and oil temperature, selected gear, engine hours and time.
  • The lower right screen can be customized, and enables operators to select, using the armrest color touchscreen, the desired view.
  • Voice control functionality has been integrated into the cab, through the use of ‘home hub’ technology – a device integrated into the cab roof, which uses Internet of Things technology to action verbal commands. Operators can control cab temperature, select music, make and receive calls and dictate messages using this technology.

Safety First Design

Jobsite safety is a top priority for today’s construction equipment professionals, and ensuring that only fully-qualified operators have access to machines is essential. That is why biometric facial recognition technology has been integrated into the access and start-up sequence. A door-mounted facial scanning sensor, scans the operators face, upon approach, to activate door opening. Once the operator is in the cab, a second scan is conducted from the armrest monitor for final confirmation and to initiate the start-up sequence.

Elements of CNH Industrial’s autonomous vehicle development program have been incorporated into the machine’s design. Advanced obstacle detection technology, which automatically brings the machine to a halt and informs the operator if an obstacle comes into range, is available to further enhance jobsite safety.

Advanced Tire Technology

In order to spotlight the key role tire technology plays in machine productivity, the CNH Industrial and MICHELIN design teams worked in partnership to develop a vision for a future airless tire. This cutting edge design foresees a fusion of the tire/wheel combination and features inbuilt suspension. Furthermore, thanks to its pure rubber and patented composite material construction, it has been designed to withstand the extreme conditions present in construction environments, and could be considered indestructible.

The tire’s honeycomb spoke design is lightweight yet robust and thanks to its bespoke asymmetric tread pattern traction, motricity and grip are significantly improved. The tripod blocks on the inner tread section enhance overall operational stability, as well as assisting turning performance. The airless tires reduce overall machine weight and its large footprint delivers low contact pressure. The striking edge bumpers improve overall tire robustness as well as enhancing protection for extended life. Advanced connectivity is foreseen with integrated sensors providing a stream of real-time data to both the operator and the control room – including a tire wear sensor. When active, the integrated sidewall lights are illuminated, which also function as an additional safety feature.

Source: redheadequipment.ca

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