SuperTruck Project is Ready to Take Off

Some members of Cummins’ SuperTruck team stand next to the tractor before its trip to Texas for the start of critical testing in the fall of 2012. From left to right, Jon Dickson, Vehicle Applications Leader – Advanced Engineering; David Koberlein, SuperTruck Principal Investigator and Wayne Eckerle, Vice President – Research and Technology.

The future of trucking could well be unfolding this fall along U.S. Route 287 in north central Texas.

After months of testing concepts in trucks around the country, Cummins engineers and their colleagues in a public-private partnership will pull together the best of what they’ve learned and apply it to a single tractor-trailer.

With an aerodynamic exterior, an engine that captures waste heat and converts it to energy, and much more, their vision of the SuperTruck will officially hit the road.

“The opportunity to get out and see how all of these improvements work together is very exciting for everyone in the project,” said David Koeberlein, Cummins Principal Investigator for SuperTruck.

Funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the SuperTruck program was created to develop the next generation of tractor-trailers – a more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly version of what’s on the road today.

There’s still plenty of research and development to do, but the test-runs to start in October 2012 between Fort Worth and Vernon, Texas are an important project milestone.

For Cummins, it means a chance to see not only how the waste heat recovery system works in concert with the rest of the vehicle but also combustion efficiency gains achieved by redesigning parts of the engine.

“The program is really an extension of the work we’ve been doing on fuel efficiency for a very long time now; it’s not something we just started on,” said Wayne Eckerle, Vice President – Research and Development for Cummins. “The SuperTruck program takes a comprehensive look at how to maximize the fuel economy of the tractor-trailer combination as a single unit.”

SuperTruck project is ready to take off_2

The engine work is only part of the SuperTruck project that Cummins is leading. Peterbilt Motors Company, a division of PACCAR, is designing a tractor-trailer exterior with less drag.

Eaton and Dana are developing drivetrain improvements. Delphi is working on a fuel cell to reduce or eliminate the idling of trucks when drivers are asleep or resting. And those are just some of the companies involved in the effort.

“Working on a project like this is exciting because it’s about the entire vehicle. It’s not just the tractor. It’s not just the engine,” said Scott Newhouse, Assistant Chief Engineer of Product Development responsible for the SuperTruck Program at Peterbilt. “It’s the whole system working together, which is really exciting for us.”


Energy officials initiated the multi-year program in 2010 with the goal of designing a heavy-duty Class 8 truck that achieves a 50 percent improvement in overall freight efficiency measured in ton-miles per gallon.

The DOE set the goal of attaining 40 percent of the overall efficiency gains from engine improvements with the remaining 60 percent coming from other vehicle systems such as aerodynamics, using lighter weight materials and reducing friction in the drive train.

The potential savings are significant. Class 8 trucks represent only about four percent of the on-road vehicles in the United States but are responsible for almost 20 percent of the country’s on-road fuel consumption.

Through the SuperTruck program, energy officials want to see fuel economy increase from about 6.5 miles-per-gallon to 9.75 miles-per-gallon. That would save about $15,000 in annual fuel costs per long-haul truck.

The total cost of the SuperTruck initiative is about $270 million including DOE grants and matching expenditures from the project participants.

Cummins is one of the four prime contractors leading SuperTruck teams. Daimler/Freightliner, Navistar and Volvo are also leading SuperTruck projects, developing their own visions of trucking’s future.

Cummins received a $39 million grant from the energy department in 2010. The Company expects to complete its work by April 2014.

Waste heat recovery

Cummins engineers have worked hard developing a waste heat recovery system for SuperTruck. The system is similar to how steam power plants operate. Here’s a quick look:

  1. First, the system extracts waste heat from the exhaust system via a pressurized refrigerant.
  2. Next, the pressurized, heated refrigerant expands across a small turbine on the engine, creating power.
  3. Finally, the power generated by the turbine goes back to the engine shaft, helping to push the vehicle forward and reducing the need for diesel fuel.

The SuperTruck team

Here’s a quick look at the Cummins partners working on the SuperTruck project:
Cummins engine-related partners:

  • Cummins business units: The Engine Business, Fuel Systems, Turbo Technologies, Emission Solutions, Electronics and Filtration are all participating in the project to develop an advanced efficient engine.
  • Modine Manufacturing Company and VanDyne Super Turbos Inc.: Supporting engine development and exploration efforts.
  • Oak Ridge National Lab and Purdue University: These institutions have structured research programs to support development efforts.

Peterbilt vehicle-related partners:

  • Peterbilt Motors Company: Advanced aerodynamics of tractor-trailer and vehicle weight reductions.
  • Eaton Corporation and Dana Holding Company: Working on drivetrain improvements.
  • Delphi Automotive: Developing idle management systems.
  • Bergstrom Inc.: Developing climate control system.
  • Modine Manufacturing Company: Supporting the vehicle cooling system and waste heat recovery integration.
  • Bridgestone Corporation and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.: Leading the tire development.
  • U.S. Xpress Enterprises: Helping with fleet operational questions and evaluations.


At about the half way point in the effort, Cummins officials say they are pleased with the progress so far.

“The Cummins SuperTruck program remains on schedule and our roadmaps seek to meet or exceed our targets,” Koeberlein said.

Cummins is committed to reaching a number of milestones, including a 20 percent improvement in Brake Thermal Efficiency -- a measure of the energy efficiency of the engine. The waste heat recovery system is expected to accomplish about 6 percent of that 20 percent gain.

The Cummins team expects to build on that by reducing friction, adding a highly efficient exhaust aftertreatment system and efficiency gains within the combustion cycle of the engine resulting in more power for the crankshaft without a corresponding increase in fuel consumption.

“The 20 percent fuel efficiency improvement is a very technically challenging target to reach,” Koeberlein said. “Waste heat recovery is a significant contribution towards this goal.”

The other members of the SuperTruck team are contributing to the two program milestones on vehicle freight efficiency. These goals are to be over a complete vehicle operating cycle and measured in gallons of fuel consumed per ton of goods moved per mile traveled.

Vehicle improvements to accomplish this might include a more aerodynamically efficient tractor and trailer, improved tire technology, an advanced axle and transmission system, idle management and more.

The final program commitment is to develop and demonstrated in a test cell Brake thermal Efficiency even about the 20 percent improvement.


SuperTruck project is ready to take off_3

The route on U.S. 287, not far from Peterbilt’s headquarters in Denton, will allow the team to test SuperTruck over real-world conditions: elevation change, start-stop conditions and speed limit changes within city limits.

“Utilizing multiple new technologies on a single vehicle can create integration challenges,” said Peterbilt’s Newhouse. “Working as a team, we understand the trade-offs and resolve them to ensure everything operates the most efficiently as a system. Individual component testing and vehicle testing are being conducted to ensure performance objectives are met.”

While the technical hurdles are significant, Eckerle says it’s important that team members not lose sight of one other critical factor.

“Our biggest challenge is really getting the costs for any and all of the technologies and systems we’re working on down to where the fleets will want to buy them,” he said. “They need to be durable and reliable, of course, but in the end they must offer a way to reduce total cost of ownership in order for a customer to use them.”

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]


Machine of the Month: Oxbo 9240 Coffee Harvester

Oxbo 9240 Coffee Harvester

Worldwide, more than 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed daily. On average it takes around 70 beans to brew each cup. Each bean starts its life as a coffee cherry that must go through a process which includes harvesting, processing, drying, milling, tasting, exporting, roasting, and grinding to become what you would recognize as coffee.   

From hand picking to mechanical measures, there are several ways to harvest the cherries that contain coffee beans. For almost two decades, Oxbo has been a leader in producing high quality coffee harvesters that mechanically pick the cherries. The next generation of these harvesters is the Oxbo 9240.  

Oxbo 9240 Coffee Harvester

Designed to harvest in rugged terrain, the Oxbo 9240 has a wide wheel base and 3-wheel design to improve maneuverability. The machine is manufactured for the South American market and features a low mounted Cummins QSF2.8 Tier 3 engine rated at 72 horsepower (hp). The engine position helps the harvester maintain a lower center of gravity for greater stability. 

To harvest the cherries, a picking head uses a horizontal shaking action to remove the cherries while a high-density, low-loss catcher gently surrounds the tree to provide greater retention. Once the coffee cherries have been picked, the 9240 has both a cleaning system that effectively removes leaves and small sticks. 

Who knows, the next coffee you drink might have been picked with Cummins power! 

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.

Harbor Harvest: Sustainability and small business on The Sound

Harbor Harvest

A retail center, a transport company, a boat builder and an engine manufacturer walk into a bar... Oh, wait. That was supposed to say they start shipping locally sourced produce across the Long Island Sound using a one-of-a-kind sustainable hybrid vessel to provide  environmentally friendly access to goods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meet Harbor Harvest: Connecticut’s innovative solution bringing the farm to the harbor, and then to your table. 

Bob Kunkel has lived in Norwalk, Connecticut for 27 years. A man with a unique background who loved spending time on the water, but also in the kitchen. This duo of passions led him to marry a food market dedicated to selling quality foods and a Marine Highway program on the northeast coast. 

Harbor Harvest HybridFirst, what is this hybrid vessel? Kunkel is the President of Alternative Marine Technologies, which specializes in projects outside of normal propulsion history or ship design. Upon connecting with BAE Systems (an advanced technology company), the two organizations thought to convert BAE’s electric vehicle bus system into a marine project. After working with an initial engine manufacturer, Kunkel and BAE found Cummins Inc.’s fully integrated marine system to be the final piece of their million-dollar idea. Using two QSB6.7 hybrid-ready engines and a display package to monitor the engines, hybrid components and energy storage system, the diesel-electric catamaran was born. 

The hybrid carries approximately 28 pallets of locally sourced goods, 10 of which are positioned in a fully refrigerated and protected walk-in space. The ship acts as a transport channel for family farms and agriculture systems bringing their sustainable goods to the big city. Kunkel mentioned that a local farm’s market generally only achieves a 10-mile radius. With Harbor Harvest, the marine highway allows them to extend their reach without increasing their costs. 

From a sustainability standpoint, the benefits are clear. A trip that Harbor Harvest can complete from Norwalk, Connecticut to Huntington, New York in about an hour takes their trucking counterparts anywhere from 6-12 hours to accomplish. But emissions on the highway aren’t the only thing Harbor Harvest is saving; they’re also improving efficiency of local farmers. Family farms aren’t having to dump their milk or discard their produce because they can’t make it to market. Harbor Harvest is providing their food a reliable and profitable route to people’s tables. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Norwalk-based organization has thrived. While the boat has only been running one or two days a week due to decreased demand from restaurants and retail, they have certainly not run out of essential items.

Harbor Harvest 1st Location

"Large meat processing plants were having issues with closures," Kunkel said. "We’re direct to the farms and custom slaughterhouse, so we didn’t have any problems supplying meat, fish and other products." He followed that local vendors could respond better to the local emergency, saying this accentuated "what 'buy local' and 'support local' really means.”

Harbor Harvest is a perfect storm of sustainability, small business and innovation. Improving the relationship between the farmer, the harbor and the customer is no small task, yet Kunkel and his corporate partners seem to have concocted a flawless operation. Harbor Harvest looks toward the future, hoping they will continue to expand their business with additional hybrid vessels.

With a casual tone but the most serious of intentions, Kunkel concluded, "I think we’re pretty close to changing the world." 

Katie Yoder - Cummins Inc.

Katie Yoder

Katie Yoder is a Marketing Communications Specialist. New to Cummins in 2018, Katie joined the marketing operations team where she supports trade show initiatives in North America. As a University of Wisconsin alumna, Katie enjoys watching Badger sports in her free time.

What does the future hold for the construction sites of the world?

Worksite of the Future

Introducing our 'Worksite of the Future' series of articles, where we look at the trends that will shape the future of the construction industry. 

For the construction site of the future, equipment and site managers could be checking on their dozers and excavators before they ever leave home. Using a dashboard on their laptop or phone, they could check to see what maintenance has been performed overnight and what maintenance will be needed to maximize uptime over the next few days. Some predict a time will come when equipment and site managers never have to leave their home, performing their jobs remotely. Their autonomous equipment could be controlled remotely, too.

It may be a while before any of this happens. But as the construction industry evolves, Cummins Inc. will partner with construction customers to develop innovations that work for them. In fact, some of these advancements are around the corner.

We want to share our vision of the future worksite, how we see the evolution affecting our customers and what we are doing to evolve with it. We will bring this information to you through a series of short articles over the next several weeks. 

A natural starting point is understanding the driving force behind a technology shift and how these advancements can address the challenges facing this critical industry. By outlining a few key elements driving change around equipment powertrains, we will explore how we are adapting current technology to meet the need of today’s construction industry.

We believe advanced diesel power has a long future in the construction space, but there are alternative power solutions available that make sense for certain applications. Beyond technology advancements with the equipment powertrain, we can deliver productivity improvements with digital products, through the internet-of-things (IoT) and machine learning.    

As the series progresses we will explore the power solution technologies of the future and even showcase some current test cases. We will look at specific job tasks each application performs on the site, and how that duty cycle aligns with the strengths of some future technologies. With any new advancements, the rate of adoption will depend on many factors, so we will discuss these items and how they might adjust the way construction projects are planned. 

Today, equipment managers are projecting things like fuel consumption, filter replacements and lubrication changes. In the future, those same equipment managers might be considering electricity consumption, charge schedules and how that might impact infrastructural support. For example, will portable charging modules be required, or should the site install charge towers tied directly into the electrical grid or a series of generators?       

As the power solutions used to move construction equipment evolves, so will the support that is required. Our service tools and support models will evolve with emerging technologies. Digital technologies that monitor and automate service actions across multiple worksites and product lifecycles will contribute to keeping construction sites running efficiently. The same prime mover technologies that will be showing up on the site will also be used in service vehicles to deliver energy storage and replacement parts, maybe by leveraging predictive algorithms.

We are excited to share this evolutionary story, we hope you will tag along and enjoy.

Learn More and Join the Conversation

Join the conversation with #Cummins on your social platforms or visit to learn more about our current and future product solutions. We also have Cummins experts around the world happy to answer your questions. Find your nearest Cummins professional by visiting or calling 1-800-Cummins.  

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.

Five boating safety tips to remember before you hit the water this season

Boating safety tips

From filing a boat plan to scheduling a vessel safety check, here are five tips to help ensure your time on the water is memorable for all of the right reasons. 

Summer is right around the corner. Many of us have been yearning for the long days, warmer weather and time spent on the water. Whether you’re headed out in your pontoon on the lake, fishing boat in the gulf, or sailboat on the ocean, safe boating starts on shore.  

"At Cummins, our daily lives revolve around safety," says Jennifer McQuilken, who works for Cummins marine but is also a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain. "From wearing proper protection equipment to taking appropriate precautions when installing our product into applications, ensuring the safety of our team members and customers is top priority. That is why all of us at Cummins marine want to remind you of a few easy things to do before you head out onto the water for the first time this season." 

Without further ado, here are five boating safety tips to remember as you prepare for your voyage. 

Wear a life jacket

Boat and water safety tips - life jackets
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, wearing a life jacket is recommended for every boater. 

No matter what activity you have planned on the water, you should always have a life jacket. It is also important to ensure your life jacket is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard or another authorized agency, is appropriate for your water activity and fits properly. There are life jacket styles available for almost any adventure – cruising, hunting, fishing, paddling, watersports, etc.  

Safety first

Make sure you have the proper safety equipment on your boat. There are many items that need to be checked on any boat, some which expire. Valid registration, running lights, flares, and approved fire extinguishers are among some of the things needed for a safe trip on the water. Don’t forget sunscreen, water, and proper clothing for the elements. Not sure if you have what you need? Schedule a free Vessel Safety Check with your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons before you hit the water. 

File a float plan

Inform someone you trust of your float plan, which includes details about the trip, boat, persons, towing vehicle, communication equipment and emergency contacts. Should you not return or check-in as intended, a float plan will ensure someone has the information they need to help. Find out more at

Follow navigation rules

Adhering to these rules is like following the traffic laws. As the operator, you are responsible for the safety of your boat and passengers. Knowing what to do in situations such as meeting head-on, overtaking another vessel and understanding aids to navigation (signs, buoys, etc.) is essential for safe operation of your boat. Be aware of your surroundings and always travel at an appropriate speed for the environment.

Know your local boating laws

Rules and laws can differ by state, region or country. Violations can result in ticketing, fines or jail time. Minimum operator age, towing restrictions and boating licenses and insurance all vary. Ensure to check in with your local guidelines before hitting the water.  

“Being on the water is a fun way to connect with your friends and family,” says Captain McQuilken.

"From active pursuits such as fishing and tubing, to relaxing on a sailboat or cruising around, we want you to have fun, safe day on the ocean or lake." 

Regardless of whether you are an experienced boater, or just getting your feet wet, there are resources available to help you, family or friends learn more about being safe on the water. Consider taking a safe boating course, either in-person or online.  

"See you out there!"

Katie Yoder - Cummins Inc.

Katie Yoder

Katie Yoder is a Marketing Communications Specialist. New to Cummins in 2018, Katie joined the marketing operations team where she supports trade show initiatives in North America. As a University of Wisconsin alumna, Katie enjoys watching Badger sports in her free time.

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