Internal Combustion Engines, NEC

SIC 3519

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This industry includes establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing diesel, semidiesel, or other internal combustion engines, not elsewhere classified, for stationary, marine, traction, and other uses. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing aircraft engines are classified in SIC 3724: Aircraft Engines and Engine Parts, and those manufacturing automotive engines, except diesel, are classified in SIC 3714: Motor Vehicle Parts and Accessories.

Diesel engines are used primarily in large trucks and buses, high-powered farm tractors, and heavy construction machinery. Other markets include marine vessels and lawn and garden equipment. The industry dates from 1893, when Rudolph Diesel, a young German engineer, filed a patent application entitled "Theory for the construction of a rational thermal engine to replace the steam engine and other internal combustion engines currently in use." Four years later, Diesel built the first diesel engine.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Justice Department cracked down on diesel engine manufacturers' installation of "defeat devices," or software that changed engine performance and emissions under highway driving conditions, in the late 1990s. The industry defended itself by pointing out that the use of the defeat devices was filed on public record, and that the EPA never expressed opposition to this use until the sudden crackdown. Regardless, the EPA slapped the industry with what it called the largest civil penalty in the history of environmental law: an $83.4 million fine, on top of an estimated $850 million in costs for meeting tighter emissions standards on a quicker schedule than before the settlement. Additionally, six companies, including the "Big Three" industry leaders, would have to rebuild existing engines in order to meet cleaner emissions specifications and recall pickup trucks to remove defeat devices from them.

Caterpillar Inc. of Mossville, Illinois, shared the brunt of the civil settlement with Cummins. Each company paid $25.0 million of the $83.4 million fine. Navistar International Corp. of Chicago paid only $2.9 million and was not required to conduct the environmental projects that cost Caterpillar and Cummins $35.0 million each. The other companies that shared the blame (as well as the fines) were Mack Trucks Inc., which paid $13.0 million of the civic penalty and $18.0 million in environmental projects; Detroit Diesel, which paid $12.5 million of the civic fine and $12.0 million in environmental projects; and Volvo Truck Corp., which spent $5.0 million on the civic penalty and $9.0 million on environmental projects.

Despite this setback, or perhaps even spurred by it, the industry continued to introduce innovative new engine designs that increased both efficiency and power. For example, Caterpillar replaced its 3406E model with the C-15 and the C-16. Not only did this extend the company's model numeration past C-10 and C-12, but it also incorporated design specifications from these other models into their designs, such as the ADEM (Advanced Diesel Engine Management) 2000 electronic control system to monitor the engine's function. The new models were 200 pounds lighter, quieter, more reliable, and more fuel-efficient than their predecessor, the 3406E. Cummins also introduced new designs: the ISX series with optional additional torque, and the Signature 600 engine that delivered 600 horsepower at 2,000 revolutions per minute.

In 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that non-road diesel engine emissions could be reduced by 90 percent with the newer planned regulations. Due to the emission regulations, manufacturers were adding particulate filters as standard components of the diesel engine. The filters were designed to act as barriers, preventing the diesel emissions from being released into the air. In addition, engines manufactured in earlier years were being retrofitted with the filters by the thousands. In certain heavy-duty engines, the high temperatures of the exhaust allowed for passive filtering. This was the filter of choice for retrofitting existing engines in the early 2000s. All the filtering systems were expected to need active management in order to remain compliant and in working order, especially with the stricter regulations expected in the years ahead.

Into the early 2010s, the industry was set to spend research and development hours and dollars on innovative products. The challenge was to manufacture products that were both compliant with emissions standards and the right design to fit with standard equipment and also more powerful and reliable than ever before. Hydrogen fuel was one power alternative garnering significant attention by those in the marine transportation industry. For large offshore service vessels, diesel-electric power was seen as more economical over the long haul than other propulsion methods, primarily due to fuel cost savings. Manufacturers were looking to design systems that could be easily tailored to current needs, whatever they might become.

The fortunes of U.S. diesel engine makers also depended heavily on the market for heavy-duty trucks. The end-user has the option of choosing the engine, so companies must impress both truck operators and truck makers, which may decide to make an engine standard on a specific line. Although the heavy-duty truck market fell in the mid-to-late 1990s, it was still healthy by historical standards. Some industry observers thought the traditional boom-and-bust cycle of the industry had softened somewhat, due to modest inflation and a more stable economy.

By the late 2000s, the industry felt the effects of the economic recession as well as the near-collapse of the U.S. auto-making industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that output in the transportation equipment manufacturing industry overall would grow only 2.5 percent between 2008 and 2018, while employment in the sector would dive 169.2 percent in the same period. Employment had already dropped from 2.0 million jobs in 1998 to 1.6 million in 2008 and was expected to fall further to 1.4 million by 2018.

In the early 2010s, manufacturers of diesel engines were preparing to meet stringent new EPA regulations regarding air pollution emitted by off-road engines. As part of the 2004 Clean Air Nonroad Diesel Rule, the EPA finalized new requirements for nonroad diesel fuel that would decrease the allowable levels of sulfur in fuel used in boat engines by 99 percent. The standards were adopted in "tiers." Tier 1 regulations set limits on particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen emissions, whereas Tier 4 regulations required the air coming out of the exhaust to be virtually as clean as the air going into the engine. The first stage of Tier 4 was scheduled to go into effect 2011 and the second stage in 2014.

Diesel engine manufacturers were required to find ways to meet the new emission standards. One was the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) method, whereby exhaust gas is cooled and mixed with incoming fresh air. This lowers the engine's peak combustion temperature and thus reduces the oxides of nitrogen that are emitted. In addition, particulates are caught in an exhaust filter and oxidized into nitrogen gas and carbon dioxide before being expelled through the exhaust pipe. The other method, called Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), sprays exhaust with a special solution of chemical urea and purified water before routing it through a catalytic chamber, where it is broken down into water vapor and nitrogen before being expelled. The SCR method required less fuel and accommodated wider fuel compatibility, whereas EGR was promoted as more user-friendly and easier to maintain.

Industry leaders in 2010 included Mercury Marine of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, a division of Brunswick Corporation. Mercury Marine manufactured engines, propellers, and other parts for boats in the commercial, recreational, and government sectors. In the early 2000s the firm had $20 billion in annual sales and 6,000 employees. Cummins Inc. of Columbus, Indiana, was also a leader in the industry, with $10.8 billion in sales and 34,900 employees in 2009. Detroit Diesel Corp., a subsidiary of Daimler, was based in Detroit and made diesel engines for boats, trucks, and cars. By 2010, Detroit Diesel had produced more than 5 million diesel engines since its founding in 1938.

© COPYRIGHT 2018 The Gale Group, Inc. This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to the Gale Group. For permission to reuse this article, contact the Copyright Clearance Center.

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