Cummins plays key role in producing masks to curtail spread of COVID-19

Employees make masks at the Columbus Engine Plant in Indiana. It is one of three locations making masks for essential Cummins employees around the world.
Employees make masks at the Columbus Engine Plant in Indiana. It is one of three locations making masks for essential Cummins employees around the world.

Cummins used its filter technology to produce 146 metric tons of filtration media for mask manufacturers around the world in 2020, enough to make more than 108 million masks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

That total includes media the company produced to make masks for its own employees, an initiative starting in June 2020 when Cummins announced it would purchase the necessary equipment to begin mask manufacturing at three sites. Those sites produced about 10 million masks for use companywide in 2020 and continue in operation today.

Mask making at the Columbus Engine Plant.
The mask-making initiative at the Columbus Engine Plant in Indiana produced about 3.5 million masks in 2020 for employee use. Collectively, the company's three mask-making locations produced around 10 million masks in 2020.

“When the pandemic first started, Cummins re-evaluated our supply base and manufacturing capabilities to identify how we could support healthcare professionals and essential workers who rely on critical personal protective equipment to do their jobs,” said Steph Disher, Executive Director of Cummins Filtration, which designs and manufactures filtration products for diesel and natural gas powered equipment.

“It has been an honor to use our technology and workforce to help communities around the world during these challenging times,” she said.

PARTNERING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

The overwhelming majority of the filtration media produced for masks last year went toward the standard masks people are wearing at work, school, shopping and other activities outside their homes. Cummins Filtration, however, also produced media for N95 and KN95 masks.

In addition, the company partnered with 3M to produce 566,000 filters for 3M’s powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) used by health care professionals at risk of airborne pathogens. That partnership used equipment typically employed to produce diesel engine filters to manufacture the high-efficiency particulate filters used in 3M’s PAPRs.

It was one of several partnerships resulting in Cummins playing a key role in the production of equipment to help guard against the spread of COVID-19. The company worked with DuPont to address the shortage of N95 respirator masks, using Cummins’ NanoNet® filter media.

And Cummins partnered with the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory on a process converting microfibers into a fabric capable of reducing the spread of viruses, including COVID-19.

“Cummins was an ideal partner to scale what we had accomplished and help us produce material that passed all required testing for filter media,” said Merlin Theodore, Director of the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility at the laboratory.

MASKS FOR EMPLOYEES

As part of the company’s efforts to enhance safety for employees working in essential positions, Cummins reconfigured its plants to allow for social distancing, increased cleaning protocols, implemented health checks upon entry to open facilities and required masks. Early in the pandemic, the company scrambled to find masks for its thousands of employees until deciding to produce its own.

Cummins started mask manufacturing at company plants in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.); San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and Phaltan, India, with each site serving a particular region. Operations started first in Columbus and soon followed at San Luis Potosi and Phaltan. 

The company’s virus prevention efforts have been overwhelmingly successful, with the vast majority of COVID-19 cases involving employees resulting from exposure outside Cummins facilities.

WHAT’S NEXT

The company’s various mask production efforts will continue as long as they make sense to meet demand, Cummins officials say. Hopefully that won’t be too much longer as vaccine distribution has started around the world.

Why is Cummins, a global power leader, so heavily involved in an activity like masks? Cummins believes a company is only as strong as the communities and the world around it. Using the company’s knowhow to help guard against the spread of COVID-19 is merely the latest example in its more than 100-year history of Cummins living its values.
 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

Sale of mask operation advances Cummins’ goal of creating sustainable Black-owned businesses

Mask producing operation inside Cummins Engine Plant

Global power leader Cummins Inc. is using its U.S.- based mask-making operation, created to guard against the spread of COVID-19 in company facilities, to partner with a minority-owned business that wants to expand.

The equipment used to make masks at the Cummins Engine Plant in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.), has been sold to a Black businessman in nearby Indianapolis, who plans on creating a disability-friendly employer producing masks beyond the immediate response to the pandemic.

“This sale created a new Black American manufacturer,” said Helena Hutton, Senior Director of Cummins’ Center of Excellence for Supplier Inclusion in Strategic Purchasing. “It illustrates Cummins’ commitment to partner with diverse-owned companies and contribute to generational wealth-building with business leaders of color. I am proud to be part of a company that makes deals like this one happen.”

Christopher Barney, the owner of Team Cruiser, a logistics and supply company that has worked with Cummins in the past, hopes to offer masks for sale to the public later this year. 

“We were very interested, for two specific reasons,” Barney said. “The first reason is the ability to learn and grow from a manufacturing perspective with a global manufacturing company like Cummins. The second reason is that it provides us the opportunity to impact and serve the communities that we live in by providing jobs and supplying a quality American-made personal protective equipment mask.”

THINKING OUT OF THE BOX

In 2020, Cummins established mask-making operations in the United States, Mexico, and India to provide some 10 million masks to its employees worldwide. With the pandemic seeming to wind down in the United States as more people get vaccinated, and with a healthy surplus of masks at the ready if needed in the U.S., the time was right for the company to think about selling the operations in Columbus, said Cummins Partnership Strategy Manager Tarek Elharis. 

The company never intended to produce masks beyond the pandemic, said Elharis, who has been active in the mask-making operation. Since the sale, the Cummins employees who had been making masks have been redeployed to areas of the company experiencing heavy demand as the U.S. economy recovers.

When selling the mask operation became a possibility, the company’s Supply Chain organization and Strategy function began looking for ways to accomplish something more than simply getting the equipment out of the engine plant.

They found that opportunity in Barney and Team Cruiser.

LOOKING TO EXPAND

The Team Cruiser Conversion Company was established in 1983, providing heavy-duty automotive and industrial equipment customization and up-fitting solutions to meet commercial and municipal specifications. Over the past 30 years, Barney’s business has worked with companies like Navistar, Arvin Meritor, Cummins and others.

Barney said he is always looking for new challenges and the chance to develop a new line of business for Team Cruiser was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

“We have been blessed to have a unique relationship with Cummins in the fact that we sold millions of dollars of engine products to our customer base and are familiar with their culture and desire to be first in class in their industry,” Barney said. “We feel that this played a very important role in understanding the importance of the quality of the product that we produce. We are now able to be both a customer, dealer, partner and a vendor.”

Barney’s team is now working to establish a web-presence for its new line of products. It’s also working with several veterans’ groups and organizations serving people with blindness and other disabilities to create a workspace that can safely employ people with disabilities in its manufacturing operations.

Priscila Mendes, Vice President of Purchasing, Supply Chain Management said, “This is a chance for Cummins to help build stronger communities where it does business and live the company’s value of diversity and inclusion for all business owners.”
 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins fuel cells to power Scania’s fuel cell electric trucks

Electric Scania truck powered by Cummins hydrogern fuel system

Article Highlights

  • Cummins Inc. is providing proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell systems to Scania for use in 20 fuel cell electric heavy vehicles (FCEV)
  • Scania’s existing battery electric vehicle platform will be used to integrate Cummins’ fuel cell systems
  • The 20 fuel cell electric trucks will be delivered to HyTrucks in 2024 as part of the jointly created initiative in the Netherlands
  • HyTrucks aims to deploy 1,000 hydrogen-powered, zero-emission trucks and 25 hydrogen refueling stations by 2025

What kind of power does it take to make a heavy-duty vehicle run? Take into consideration their high duty cycles and loaded vehicle weights of up to 42 tons in mainland Europe and 70 tons or more in Scandinavia. That is a lot of truck. Diesel is still the dominant solution, as the “go-to” fuel source for heavy-duty mobility with the most extensive infrastructure support. To date, alternative fuels have only played a niche role in heavy transportation – but that could change significantly in light of the European Union’s climate protection initiative and Green Deal.

With the increased urgency for more sustainable power sources and the push to decarbonize the automotive and mobility sectors, diesel as the go-to fuel is changing. In addition to battery electric solutions, hydrogen fuel cells will be critical in the transition to zero-emissions for heavy-duty trucking. 

Cummins Inc. and Scania, a world-leading provider of trucks and buses for heavy transport applications, are taking a step forward in the development and deployment of hydrogen-powered vehicles. Through their collaboration, Cummins is providing an initial 20 proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell systems to be integrated into Scania’s existing battery-electric vehicle (BEV) platform. 

The project is a strong demonstration of hydrogen’s viability as an alternative power fuel due to its energy density and flexible use. It allows for longer driving ranges, heavier payloads, and shorter refueling times compared to battery recharging. And when hydrogen fuel is generated using renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower, it is carbon-free.

Electric Scania truck powered by Cummins hydrogen fuel cell system | 2020
Electric Scania truck powered by Cummins hydrogen fuel cell system | 2020

Once the Cummins fuel cell systems are incorporated into the Scania trucks, the 20 fuel cell-electric vehicles (FCEV) will be delivered in 2024 to the HyTrucks Consortium, a hydrogen initiative that is one of the largest European projects to deploy heavy-duty, zero-emissions fleets into Europe’s high-traffic areas.

This collaboration is not the first time Cummins and Scania have worked together on hydrogen. Since the beginning of 2020, four electric Scania trucks powered by Cummins fuel cell systems have been in operation in Norway as part of a first-of-its-kind pilot project with ASKO, Norway’s largest grocery wholesaler. 

Katherine de Guia

Communications Specialist - New Power

Introducing Cummins Clean Fuel Technologies™

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A freshly formed joint venture (JV) between Cummins Inc. and Rush Enterprises has a new name - Cummins Clean Fuel Technologies (CCFT). It’s the latest step following Cummins’ recent 50% acquisition of Momentum Fuel Technologies, a deal that closed in earlier this year. 

Assembling a natural gas tank for installation on a truck chassis
Assembling a natural gas tank for installation on a truck chassis

Cummins Clean Fuel Technologies seeks to enhance production of near-zero emissions natural gas powertrains by manufacturing Cummins-branded natural gas fuel delivery systems for the commercial vehicle market in North America. The joint venture will build on the strength of Momentum Fuel compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel delivery systems and Cummins’ natural gas powertrain expertise, resulting in an integrated natural gas system.

“We’re excited to introduce the Cummins Clean Fuel Technologies name,” said Puneet Jhawar, General Manager, Natural Gas, Cummins Inc. “This new joint venture exemplifies Cummins’ Destination Zero strategy. By offering integrated natural gas vehicle systems, we’ll be able to provide value to fleets which will help drive wide-scale adoption of lower carbon fuel types like renewable natural gas.”

A driver performs a fast-fill refuel of a natural gas powered truck
A driver performs a fast-fill refuel of a natural gas powered truck

These CNG fuel system configurations integrate with multiple body OEMs and include back of cab, front of body, side mount, roof mount and tailgate mount systems. Truck applications include refuse, over-the-road, construction, port, beverage delivery and more.

“With Cummins Clean Fuel Technologies, we’re able to enhance the service and unique needs of CNG and RNG customers with the combined strength of Cummins’ and Rush Truck Centers’ nationwide networks as well as access to a comprehensive CNG vehicle parts inventory,” said Michael Zimmerman, General Manager, Cummins Clean Fuel Technologies.

Cummins will continue to manufacture the B6.7N™ and L9N™ natural gas engines at its medium-duty plant in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. The ISX12N™ and future X15N™ engines will be made at Cummins heavy-duty engine plant in Jamestown, New York. The fuel systems will be manufactured and assembled in Roanoke, Texas.

Cummins Clean Fuel Technologies will initially offer aftermarket support through Rush Truck Centers dealerships. The Cummins distribution channel is expected to begin offering service and support for the fuel delivery system later in 2022.

Cummins Clean Fuel Technologies manufacturing site in Roanoke, Texas
Cummins Clean Fuel Technologies manufacturing site in Roanoke, Texas
Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins President and Chief Operating Officer joins President Biden to talk innovation and semiconductors

Cummins President and Chief Operating Officer, Jennifer Rumsey speaks with U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo

On March 9, President Biden assembled a team of executives and two Midwestern governors to address the semiconductor shortage. Cummins President and Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Rumsey was asked to attend the roundtable to relay Cummins’ support for private and public action and share how the shortage has impacted business. 

In addition to Rumsey, executives from Whirlpool, HP, Medtronic, Samsung, and Micron participated with Indiana’s Governor, Eric Holcomb and Michigan’s Governor, Gretchen Whitmer.

President Biden had a simple ask: support the Bipartisan Innovation Act. The president looked to Rumsey and the other leaders to learn how their businesses and states have been impacted, and how critical semiconductors are to their success.

President Biden asked Rumsey about Cummins’ production of battery electric and alternative fueled engines, and if the semiconductor shortage will impact the company’s progress and plans to be competitive globally. He also wanted to know how passing the Innovation Act can help.

“I spent time prior to my current role as Chief Technical Officer, so I saw firsthand the need for innovation, and the power of government and private sectors coming together to focus on innovation,” said Rumsey. “There has never been a more important time than now to focus on innovation when you consider the environmental and technical challenges we face as a society.”

Rumsey highlighted the importance of partnership and how Cummins has worked closely with the Department of Energy through the 21st Century Truck Partnership. The partnership has enabled the company to advance technology and improve fuel efficiency in trucks by a 50 percent reduction in CO2.

Rumsey continued to speak on the importance of coming together in a bipartisan way to drive and fuel innovation in the U.S., and bring high-tech manufacturing jobs to the U.S. She then touched on the critical role semiconductors play in Cummins’ products.

“Our products do not run, in most cases, without semiconductors,” added Rumsey. “They’re critical for emissions and safety-control systems, and increasingly we’re utilizing them as our technology advances, and we have not been able to get enough.”

The scarcity of semiconductors has impacted the company’s ability to build and deliver products to the company’s customers. Rumsey explained how the semiconductor chips used in Cummins’ products are very different from those used in cell phones and other electronics, due to the intense environments and labor engines must perform in.

Rumsey concluded by offering support and a commitment to continue Cummins’ expertise and knowledge to solve this critical global problem.

Molly Preston

Molly Preston is a Senior Communications Specialist for Internal Communications at Cummins Inc. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, with a leadership minor from Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana. Molly joined the company in 2016 supporting digital operations.

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