In the heart of the Rogue River Valley in Medford, Ore., a remarkable company has been making tracks in the snow vehicle industry for over a century. Tucker Sno-Cat Corporation, founded by E. M. Tucker Sr., has been at the forefront of developing snow machines that conquer deep snow and steep terrain with ease.
Now, as environmental emission standards continue to evolve, Tucker Sno-Cat has once again taken the lead by introducing new models that meet the stringent requirements, ensuring a cleaner and more sustainable future.
The history of Tucker Sno-Cat Corporation traces back to the early 1920s when young Emmitt Tucker recognized the need for machines that could traverse snow-covered landscapes effortlessly. Born and raised near Grants Pass, Ore., Tucker’s passion for inventing snow transportation devices led him to build several spiral-driven machines. However, it wasn’t until 1938 that Emmitt had his eureka moment, designing a revolutionary snow vehicle that would change the industry forever.
This breakthrough design featured tracks that allowed the vehicle to float atop the snow, surrounded by a steel track for traction. In March 1948, Emmitt demonstrated the snow machine’s capabilities on a grueling 600-mile trek from Mount Shasta in California to Mount Hood, Ore., leaving no doubt that his creation was a game-changer. Over the years, Tucker’s snow machines evolved, incorporating innovative technologies and offering various customizations to meet the diverse needs of their customers.
As environmental concerns have intensified, governments worldwide have begun tightening emission standards for off-road diesel engines, including those used in snow grooming equipment. Tucker Sno-Cat took a proactive approach to these changes by investing in the development of products that meet the new requirements head-on.
The current Environmental Protection Agency emission requirements for off-road diesel engines in North America are referred to as Tier 4 Final (4F). The emission requirements have changed significantly in the last 15 years which have major implications for the snow grooming industry. These standards are currently being enforced as a North American standard, so both the United States and Canada share the same standards.
“There are two major issues for the snow grooming industry,” said John Meilicke, sales manager for Tucker Sno-Cat. “The first would be the added cost to manufacture and certify aftertreatment packages to meet the Tier (4F) requirements. Aftertreatment packages consist of several components primarily within the diesel exhaust system. These components will work together to remove diesel exhaust soot and particles prior to exiting the vehicle. The use of Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is also required to work within the aftertreatment system. DEF is the second issue for the snow grooming industry. DEF is a liquid solution made up of urea and deionized water which has a freezing point of 12 degrees Fahrenheit. This freezing point requires heating systems to be designed within the DEF system to prevent the aftertreatment system from failing. DEF also has a shelf life and requires added maintenance and cost to the organizations using this product.”
Meilicke says that Tucker Sno-Cat is currently producing grooming equipment that meets the Stage 5 European emission standards. These standards are like the Tier 4F package with the exception of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). Stage 5 systems are often referred to as EGR Free aftertreatment, which is simpler than the Tier 4F system and requires less maintenance.
“We felt the oversized DEF tanks would help operators have ‘peace of mind’ while out on the trail.”John Meilicke, Tucker Sno-Cat
The Stage 5 groomers boast more horsepower (HP) and torque compared to their predecessors, with available engine packages of 210 HP and 326 HP. Tier 4F products are available with either a 173 HP or 300 HP engine package. The standard engine used on all Tucker Sno-Cat groomers is the Cummins 6.7-liter with six cylinders.
“Tucker Sno-Cat groomers are mechanically driven for power efficiency, utilizing the horsepower produced for the drive system. The Tucker mechanical drive system also produces less duty cycle on the engine, leading to outstanding fuel efficiency,” said Meilicke.
Tucker Sno-Cat has also incorporated oversized DEF tanks in its new models, ensuring they can accommodate 2.5 full tanks of diesel fuel under 100 percent load. The use of DEF has added to operations and maintenance training for customers since it is required to educate them on the aftertreatment system and DEF usage.
“We felt the oversized DEF tanks would help operators have ‘peace of mind’ while out on the trail,” said Meilicke. By ensuring sufficient DEF capacity, Tucker Sno-Cat empowers their customers to be environmentally responsible without compromising their work efficiency.
While meeting environmental emission standards is critical for Tucker Sno-Cat, the appeal of their vehicles extends beyond their eco-friendly features. Tucker snow machines are known for their four articulating tracks, providing unparalleled traction in even the most challenging conditions. This makes them a favorite for companies needing to access remote and snow-covered locations.
Tucker also offers a wide range of customizations, from snow grooming and removal to search and rescue, avalanche control and even ambulance services. Their snow machines are designed for various industries, including oil and gas exploration, mining, telecommunications and agriculture.
As Tucker Sno-Cat continues to pioneer change in the snow vehicle industry, they remain committed to crafting reliable, powerful and environmentally responsible machines. Their new models not only meet the ever-evolving emission standards, but also offer enhanced performance and fuel efficiency, making them an attractive choice for businesses seeking dependable snow grooming equipment.
Tucker Sr.’s legacy lives on in the company he founded, where innovation and environmental consciousness converge to create a sustainable future on the snow. Tucker Sno-Cat Corporation, a family-owned business with a global impact, continues to leave its tracks on snow-covered ground while conquering the world of snow machines.