Wednesday 7 November 2012

Navistar Big Bore engines to restart in 2013

Navistar International Corporation expects to announce this month the date of start of production (SOP) of its Big Bore engines that have been found to be non-compliant with US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.

The US engine builder has been forced to halt production of MaxxForce 13 and 15 diesel engines following the EPA’s decision to oppose the company’s type of engine emissions technology.

So, in an embarrassing about-face, Navistar will adopt SCR technology and is working closely with Cummins to resolve its current issues. Navistar, based in Lisle, Illinois, has opposed SCR technology for years and is now paying the price.

Navistar has come to a long-term supply agreement with Cummins Inc. of Columbus, Indiana to use its heavy-duty diesel engines and “emissions after-treatment systems” for Big Bore engines.

Navistar’s Troy Clarke, president and chief operating officer, is master-minding the company’s dramatic change of heart – and change of direction.

Engineering teams from both Navistar and Cummins have been working furiously together in the last few months to resolve matters quickly since the engine builder halted production. This has not been an easy time for Navistar’s senior executives who have had to eat humble pie for the past decisions that have been taken.

This month, pilot production of International ProStar trucks fitted with Cummins ISX15 I6 diesel engines will begin. First shipments are expected in December.

However, it will not be until March 2013 that International ProStar vehicles fitted with Navistar’s MaxxForce13 engines will enter pilot production. Regular production is expected to begin in April 2013.

Then it is understood the company’s line-up of regular trucks, all fitted with appropriate SCR-based technology, will gradually begin to be unveiled throughout 2013.

During the transition to full production, Navistar will continue to build and ship EPA-compliant vehicles in all vehicle classes, using appropriate combinations of earned emission credits and/or non-compliance penalties (NCPs).

The interruption of production that has affected Navistar engines and trucks is likely to impact heavily on the company’s financial results for the year. 

One of the principal casualties of MaxxForce’s emissions dilemma is Tupy SA of Joinville, Brazil. It has had to interrupt shipment of Big Bore compacted graphite iron (CGI) I6 cylinder blocks. Interrupted production at Tupy’s foundry as well as Navistar’s Pure Power foundry in the US has also affected third-quarter financial results of SinterCast which has developed CGI process control technology and earns royalties from each CGI block cast.

A source close to the foundry noted: “Navistar has indicated that production (of engines) will resume during November 2012.”

Meanwhile Cummins, unlike many other heavy duty truck OEMs in Europe and North America, has yet to adopt CGI cylinder blocks and heads for its diesel engines. The company has, however, conducted many studies and carried out development work on CGI materials.