The Power of 3: Cat debuts its new C13D engine

The Cat C13D engine
The new C13D engine from Cat.

The new C13D engine from Cat provides comparable power as its 13, 15 and single-turbo 18-litre platforms

For Cat, redesigning its 13-litre diesel engine is a once every three decades endeavor. 

So, when Caterpillar’s engineers set out to develop the new C13D engine, they were tasked with creating an engine that delivers best-in-class power density, torque and fuel efficiency for heavy duty off-highway applications.

The result is a new platform that can replace three existing engines in Cat’s portfolio. The C13D supplies comparable power and torque available from Cat’s current 13, 15 and single-turbo 18-litre engine platforms. 

Caterpillar unveiled the new C13D at Allegiant Stadium, home to the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, during ConExpo in March. 

“It gives us the ability to take this platform and use it in applications where our competition, and our own platforms, are using much bigger engines,” said Mark Stratton, Vice President of Large Engines at Cat Industrial Power Systems. “We only do this once every 30 years, so we’re going to do it right.” 

The Cat C13D engine is targeted for a wide range of off-highway equipment, including rock crushers, screeners, grinders, trenchers, agriculture tractors, harvesters, woodchippers, material-handling equipment and large industrial pumps.

The inline, six-cylinder engine platform will offer eight power ratings from 456 to 690 hp with up to 3,200 Nm of peak torque. Engine mounted aftertreatment and cooling packs will also be available from the factory to reduce installation and validation costs. 

20 per cent more power

The new engine platform offers up to a 20 per cent increase in power and up to 25 per cent more low-speed torque over the previous generation of Cat engines in its power class. 

Engineers designed the Cat C13D engine with 45 per cent less leak joints to improve reliability and maintenance. As well, service intervals are extended up to 1,000 hours. 

Depending on the application, the C13D also consumes between five and 25 per cent less fuel. 

“For many of our customers, it really helps their bottom line,” Stratton said. “A significant portion of their operating budget is their fuel bill and if we can help them make that a little less painful, that’s something we can be proud of.” 

More news from Caterpillar:

The engine is designed to perform at altitudes of up to 3,657 metres, twice as high as legacy Cat engines, and in temperatures as high as 60C or as low as -40C with aids.

 “We know our customers are going to put these engines in some very harsh environments,” Stratton said. “We’re pleased it can operate  anywhere in the world.”

The combination of the all-new rear gear train, stiffer core architecture and common rail fuel system reduces noise by up to 3 dB when compared with the C13D’s predecessors.

“We spent a lot of time and effort making the engine quiet,” Stratton said. “We analyzed the harmonics over and over again of the block, the geartrain, the head and all components to reduce the vibrations that create noise.”

Renewable fuel options

The Cat C13D engine platform enables the use of  100 per cent Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), B100 distilled biodiesel, and even up to B100 standard biodiesel. As well, its core architecture is designed to accommodate the future development of natural gas and hydrogen fuel capabilities.

The C13D will meet Tier 4 Final, Stage V, China Non-road IV, Korea Stage V, and Japan 2014 emission standards.

By modularizing and eliminating components, its architecture is space-protected to accommodate configuration adjustments anticipated for future tiers of emission standards in the United States and Europe without relocating customer connection points. 

The first digitally designed engine from Cat

The C13D is also the first engine that was designed and tested in a virtual environment. 

Previously, developing a new engine would require building a physical prototype for testing, refining the prototype, then testing again. 

“Before we ever made the first part or put it in our lab, we had extensive testing and validation in the virtual world,” Stratton said. “We can literally run thousands of different piston ring simulations overnight with our simulation capability.”

The virtual design process also allowed Cat to optimize the engine for manufacturing. 

“It’s not just the engine itself, we also fully simulated the assembly process to make sure when we get done with this engine, there’s not a bolt you can’t get to,” Stratton said. 

“We believe we’ve really optimised this platform to perform for the future.” 

Dedicated to diesel 

Jaz Gill, Vice President of Sales, Marketing, Service and Parts at Caterpillar Industrial Power Systems, explained the company is investing heavily in new power technologies like, battery-electric, hybrid and alternative fuels such as HVO.  

“While all of these new technologies bode well for the future, the tried and trusted internal combustion engine has been the primary workhorse of the vast majority of jobsites around the world,” Gill said. 

“At Caterpillar, we’re dedicated to diesel. We see huge opportunities now and in the future for internal combustion engines.”

The C13D will be available for early OEM pilots in 2025 and scheduled for production in 2026.