Like our customers who are building a better world, being the best is what Cat Racing strives for week in, week out. The team might have enough fuel to run 40 laps, but there are 50 laps left. So, engineers work with the driver and the crew chief to understand what choices to make in those types of situations. “We’ll give them strategies for how to save 5%, 10% or 15%,” said Dr. Andy Randolph, ECR Technical Director (ECR is the engine supplier for Richard Childress Racing). “Now they’re armed with all that information at the race to make those decisions.”
The pursuit of excellence is no different for Caterpillar engineers and both recognize that when it comes to engines, technology is at the heart of innovation and a game changer that enables customer results and success on the track. Caterpillar Oil and Gas customers depend on our engines for everything from drilling and production on land and off-shore to well service and gas compression – a critical part of the process that gets natural gas to the end-user.
Award Winning Engine
Technology has been significant in the development of the Cat® 3512E Tier 4 Final engine with Dynamic Gas Blending™. This award winning engine achieves the industry’s best diesel displacement, widest fuel flexibility and greatest greenhouse gas reduction.
This includes In-Cylinder Pressure Sensing, which monitors the pressure, then adjusts the gas flow to help customers achieve significant cost savings.
Solenoid-Operated Gas Admission Valves are high-pressure gas-metering devices that control fuel injection through each cylinder. The engine’s electronic control module determines how long each device is activated to admit the proper amount of gas into each cylinder for high fuel efficiency and low emissions.
The Engine Idle Reduction System reduces nonproductive idle time by automatically shutting down the engine between pumping stages.
And of course, these engines are supported by our dealers with a wide range of services that customers have come to count on.
Technology Impacts Racing
Race fans know that winning races is about generating more power than the other teams. You want to go as far or farther than anyone else on a load of fuel, to avoid having to come into the pits earlier and more often than is optimal. For Cat Racing, it’s about efficiency. Using technology to help design parts is critical to the No. 8’s performance. They’ll look at things like coatings and the surface finishes of parts that are mating to each other. All the technologies that apply from an efficiency standpoint, relate directly to what happens on the track.
For example, when it comes to the efficiency of an engine’s mechanical components, Randolph asks, “How much of the fuel that you use to generate power are you losing to friction? At that point, it’s not only an efficiency loss, that’s a durability loss.” And if you don’t address that, it shows on race day.
When it comes from fuel economy and power, it’s not always a matter of what’s the fastest you can go, but what’s the smartest way you can go fast.
“It’s important for us to keep in mind fuel mileage and what the fuel window is for each track to determine the best strategy to get the most out of our engines,” said RCR Crew Chief Randall Burnett. “When we won at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway last year, it was in a large part due to our fuel mileage strategy and engine power. We were able to slow down Tyler’s lap times just enough to conserve the amount of fuel needed to stretch our window by about 10 percent and get the win. We still had to be faster than our competitors so they couldn’t catch us, but we also had to slow down to make the fuel economy strategy that we were running at a reduced rate last until we took the checkered flag, Burnett said.”
And in the end the efforts pay off… on the track and for our customers. The 3512E Tier 4 Final with Dynamic Gas Blending was awarded Engine of the Year >175 hp by Diesel Progress. “The Caterpillar team is proud to be recognized by Diesel Progress for the hard work and dedication that made this engine possible. It is exciting to launch a product that reduces both environmental impact and fuel costs for our Oil & Gas customers,” said Caterpillar Well Service Marketing Manager, Darin Bohlmann.
For Caterpillar and Cat Racing, technology is game changing… on and off the track.