How To Tackle The Challenges of DEF & Tier 4 Final For Your Equipment Rental Business
Now that Tier 4 Final is in full play, rental houses are acquiring more new construction machinery equipped with Selective Catalytic Converter (SCR) technology as a form of emissions control. With SCR comes DEF – diesel exhaust fluid – and that adds new complexities to maintaining your new equipment. In the case of an equipment rental business, it’s not just how you care for the machine, it’s how your customers care for it in the field.
Diesel exhaust fluid requires strict attention to detail
With an SCR system, a specialized dosing mechanism sprays DEF into the engine exhaust. The DEF reacts with nitrogen oxide (NOx) in the exhaust, converting it to inert nitrogen and water. It is harmless as it is released into the air.
Diesel exhaust fluid is 32.5% automotive-grade urea and 67.5% de-ionized water. It has no color, and it isn’t hazardous. However, it can corrode a number of metals, including iron, steel, copper, zinc, nickel aluminum and magnesium. It is also very sensitive to other chemical impurities such as sodium, phosphorous, chromium and calcium. Just 1/10th of a teaspoon – picture it – of any of these common elements can contaminate 5,000 gallons of DEF.
If contaminated DEF gets into your Tier 4 engine, it could problems ranging from increased DEF consumption and loss of effectiveness to engine damage. That could void your manufacturer’s warranty. In fact, a number of OEMs have stated they will not honor a warranty if it can be proved the problem was caused by contaminated DEF.
This presents a special problem for any equipment rental business. Once your machine leaves your yard, it’s under your customer’s control. If they don’t take proper precautions regarding the use of DEF, their job could suffer if the machine breaks down. But the financial risk is even greater for you. You need a solution that simplifies things, for yourself and your customers.
The 50-gallon tote could be your new best friend
Of course you send equipment out with all the fluids topped off. But if the machine is on your customer’s jobsite long enough, it will need more DEF to continue operating properly. Customers could forget – or deliberately skip – refilling the DEF dispenser when it runs low. Or they could use the wrong fluid, one that isn’t API-certified. They could carry the DEF in a container – or use a funnel to dispense it – that was previously used for some other material. All represent contamination risks.
You could send a 2-gallon jug of DEF out with each piece of equipment. But here’s the thing: every time your customer opens the container, contaminants can get in.
To meet ISO and many OEM standards, you need to store and handle DEF within a closed system. A 50-gallon DEF tote is specifically designed to safely house this fluid, and it is easy to outfit with a closed delivery system. This 2-in-1 pumping system uses a closed coupler to connect the tote with the bulk DEF container for filling. For dispensing at the jobsite, a special DEF nozzle is used instead of the coupler.
Totes are also designed for easy transport, fitting easily into any truck. You can lift one with a forklift, or by using its multiple lift points. For higher-volume needs, you can use a dedicated DEF trailer, or you can build larger DEF systems into other types of fuel or service trailers.
As the equipment owner, it is incumbent on you to ensure your rental customers understand how DEF works and why it is so important to store and handle it correctly. Why not rent them the DEF storage/dispensing system along with the machine? Offering them a simple solution not only ensures their compliance, it makes it more convenient for them to rent from you. That’s a marketing plus for your equipment rental business. You can take it one step further, too.
All your customers using Tier 4 Final equipment have the same issue concerning DEF, whether they own the machines or rent them. Offering them the service of refilling and renting out DEF totes is a convenience and a DEF safety precaution everyone will appreciate. That could give your rental house a new revenue stream and protect your equipment investment at the same time.