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In search of greener pastures

  • Magazine Feature Article
  • OFHAPR00_03
Published April 01, 2000 by SAE International in United States
  • English

Agricultural OEMs are looking at the total life cycle to develop more environmentally conscious products and processes.

As environmental regulations become more stringent, agricultural OEMs have created environmental safeguards for their manufacturing plants and products as part of their overall marketing. They have incorporated environmental standards for controlling emissions from vehicles as well as manufacturing plants, recycling products at the end of their lives, and controlling hazardous wastes. They produce better designs for their combines and tractors to satisfy environmental regulations for fuels and emissions. They also make their vehicles more operator-friendly by reducing noise and in-cab pollution.

“Customers for the most part want products that are environmentally friendly and place expectations on manufacturers to provide them,” said Mike Campbell, Product Development Manager for Caterpillar Ag Products, a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc. “They do not share the same willingness to pay more for a product just because it's environmentally friendly. It's always a challenge to make such improvements cost-effective-recognizing that the value customers place on them will vary, both on an industry basis as well as a geographic basis. Traditionally, the U.S. and Europe have led the environmental effort. Tax credits are available to consumers who purchase products with lower emissions or sound levels. But as international standards are developed, this aspect will become less prevalent as the world continues to become a smaller place.”