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A Forklift Facelift: Superior Diesel helps Harlo Products meet upcoming emissions regulations

When looking to meet upcoming emissions regulations, Harlo Products took a unique route. For years, the company powered its rough-terrain forklifts with 74-kW (99-hp) John Deere engines. But to meet Final Tier 4 emissions regulations without requiring diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), Harlo engineers had the forethought to redesign its forklifts with a lower-horsepower engine. Harlo Products found that solution in the 55-kW (74-hp) John Deere PowerTech™ EWX 4.5L Final Tier 4 engine.

Lowering the forklift’s horsepower from 74 to 55 kW (99 to 74 hp) led Harlo to rethink a few design elements to maintain the same speed and lift capacity as previous John Deere–powered forklift models. Some of the forklift design improvements began several years ago. Harlo engineers improved the hydraulic system by incorporating a piston pump for more controlled pressure efficiencies. They also enhanced the cooling system, which is now more durable and has better convection numbers to meet Final Tier 4 requirements.

Harlo purchases customized drop-in power units from its John Deere distributor, Superior Diesel. The new forklift design required the aftertreatment system to be repositioned away from the vehicle's hydraulic tank. To accomplish this, Superior Diesel engineers designed and fabricated a cradle for the diesel particulate filter (DPF), including custom mounts and exhaust tubing. Superior Diesel also supplied cab controls so that operators could monitor the engine and its aftertreatment system.

"We've had very, very minimal challenges with this changeover to EWX 4.5L Final Tier 4 engines," says Dean McCarrick, director of sales and marketing. "People are very happy that we went with the smaller engine to steer away from the DEF and that we still maintained the same speed and lifting power as before."

The EWX 4.5L engine does its job, too. Running at 2400 rpm, the EWX 4.5L engine delivers 304 Nm (224 ft-lb) of peak torque.

"Torque is king," says engineering manager Mike Erhardt. "That's what you use to power the hydraulic system and to turn the wheels at the same time."

While customers may notice some external changes, deep down, it's still the same reliable, powerful forklift they've always known.

"Our main goal was for the operator to hop on our unit and not see any difference when they drive it," says COO Mike Birkmeier. And he believes the EWX 4.5L engine will deliver the goods, just like its 4.5L predecessor engines. "A lot of people like the 4045 (4.5L) engine," says Birkmeier. "It's a tried-and-true workhorse in the John Deere lineup."

"Our main goal was for the operator to hop on our unit and not see any difference when they drive it,"

Mike Birkmeier
COO of Harlo Products Corporation

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