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The new Stage V engine emissions limits regulations devised to meet the requirements of EU Regulation 2016/1628 for non-road mobile machinery have been on the horizon for some time, but the deadline dates on which they will come into force are now looming.

From 1 January 2019, all newly manufactured engines in the ranges of up to 56kW and those above 130kW must meet these new regulations; for engines of capacities between 56kW and 130kW, the requirements come into effect a year later on 1 January 2020.

Understanding the full details of the Stage V regulations is no mean feat - indeed, even one of the more helpful and frequently consulted guidance documents runs to more than 60 pages. This is hardly surprising, however, given the differences in engines and their capacities, applications, markets and user requirements that have to be considered. Equipment covered includes construction, agricultural, material handling and garden machinery, amongst others. This will also encompass fixed speed as well as variable speed applications.


As with the earlier stages of the EU regulations (the first date back to 1999), their aim is to reduce the gaseous and particulate emission levels to decrease pollution and lower health risks. As well as further reducing the level of emissions of contaminants like nitrogen oxides (NOx) based on the weight or total mass of particles emitted, Stage V introduces a new limit on the size of particulates that are allowed. This is in order to address the problem of extremely fine contaminants being released into the atmosphere (especially from diesel engines), which are increasingly regarded as being amongst the most potentially harmful to health.

In many cases, in diesel engines above 19kW, to achieve the necessary limit concerning particulate matter emissions and particle size, engines will need to be fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and, perhaps, other technological solutions in the combustion and after-treatment processes. This also leads to periodic regeneration or cleansing of the DPF to avoid clogging. Manufacturers are addressing this with the introduction of various solutions and systems, following automotive technology, to enable the automatic regeneration of the DPF during normal operation of the engine within the application.


Again, there are different approaches and solutions. For Stage V, larger engines such as those between 56kW and 130kW will also use selective catalytic reduction (SCR) using a water/urea based fluid like AdBlue, familiar to many diesel vehicle owners. Some hirers and end users will already be familiar with this on certain items of plant complying with Stage IV regulations. For many others, however, this may mean new servicing and site storage considerations.


A further important aspect is that there is a transition period to help engine manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and end users in moving to Stage V. However, manufacturers can only make engines to a previous Stage’s standards until the end of this year for engines of up to 56kW, and those above 130kW, and by the end of 2019 for those of 56KW to 130kW. If hirers will want to buy their familiar machines with pre-Stage V power units, they need to let their suppliers know so that the engines can be ordered and manufactured before the deadline. Otherwise, as time passes, they may face the increasing prospect of a ring-round to see who still has machines available.

Engines manufactured to the previous standard can be fitted into newly manufactured equipment up to 18 months following the introduction of Stage V. The OEM has a further six months to place these machines on the market - thereafter, all new equipment must meet Stage V regulations.

Some hire companies will likely adopt machines with Stage V engines as soon as possible, seeing them as a premium product that meets requirements of users working, for example, in the Low Emission Zones in London and other cities. Specific projects might also call for contractors to use only equipment fitted with Stage V engines, which would further encourage take-up.

The introduction of the new regulations has implications for hirers, manufacturers and suppliers in terms of assessing future requirements and planning production. It also has significance for service personnel and training requirements. As stated earlier, this is a many-angled topic with various responses and solutions. People are likely to need advice and guidance, which proves once again the importance for hirers and suppliers to maintain close working relationships.

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