Field service made easy with OTC Portable DPF Cleaner

Since 2007, the U.S. EPA's clean diesel regulations guidelines have required that all on-highway diesel engines use diesel particulate filters (DPFs) to reduce harmful engine emissions and improve the worldwide quality of the air we breathe.

In 2011, the EPA took another significant step in the march to clean diesel technology by extending DPF cleaning requirements, known as Tier 4, to off-road diesel engines and equipment.

With this development, Caterpillar approached OTC to help it develop a DPF cleaner that could be used in the field, as it was costly and time-consuming to brings machines into a shop to clean their DPFs, explained Eric Adamson, product manager, equipment and heavy duty tools, SPX Service Solutions.

OTC is an SPX Service Solutions brand.

SPX Service Solutions is a leading global developer and manufacturer of advanced diagnostic systems and service solutions for automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), their dealer networks and retail and aftermarket channels.

Meet the need

Caterpillar and OTC, along with a third company, worked together to meet the needs of both on-highway and off-highway DPF requirements with a single cleaning machine that could be used in all environments, Adamson said.

The objective was to design a DPF cleaning solution that was robust enough for everyday use with on-highway DPFs, yet compact enough to be transported easily onto the construction, industrial and agricultural job sites for on-site cleaning.

From these efforts, engineers developed the new OTC Portable Diesel Particulate Filter Cleaner (No. 5286).

"Lightweight, portable and easy to use, the OTC 5286 provides the most cost-effective and efficient means of cleaning ash-laden DPFs both in the shop and in the field," he said. "Operating on 110-volt electricity using shop or compressed air of at least 100 psi, the unit can be moved easily around the shop or loaded onto a trailer for transport to the point of service in the field."

The unit can also operate using 240-volt electricity.


Cleaning technology

The OTC 5286 incorporates Focused Air Jet Technology that concentrates a precise high pressure stream of air directly into every cell to clean each DPF chamber individually as it moves in a spiral pattern toward the center of the DPF, explained Adamson.

A patent-pending "floating puck" serves to prevent "splash back" and concentrates a precise high-pressure stream of air directly into every cell.

"This helps ensure optimal cleaning of the DPF by maximizing the volume of air entering each cell," he said, and "the result is maximum cleaning efficiency that exceeds traditional burst cleaning methods."

The Portable DPF Cleaner comes with three nozzles: two straight nozzles (short and long) for standard "open face" DPFs, and one curved nozzle for angled-flange DPFs.

The flexible seal rings allow the unit to clean virtually any DPF from 6 to 15.5 inches in diameter.

Once started, the cleaning process can be completed with minimal operator oversight, freeing up the technician to simultaneously do other work in the shop, Adamson noted.

"The OTC Portable DPF Cleaner contains no internal filters that require user maintenance, and its rugged design provides maximum durability, he said. Minimal downtime time means extremely low cost of operation."

The unit comes with an innovative ash disposal system that enables a technician to quickly and easily remove and dispose of particulate matter in accordance with local environmental requirements.

At a suggested list price of under $10,000, the OTC 5286 pays for itself in as few as 25 cleanings, assuming an average price of $400 or more per cleaning to the service center, said Adamson. All future cleanings beyond the initial 25 cleanings produce additional profit for the service center.

For more information on the OTC 5286 Diesel Particulate Filter Cleaner, call (800) 533-6127 or visit