Sound of Silence is Music to Neighbors' Ears

With its curved roof and sound-absorbing acoustical wedges, Cummins Acoustical Testing Center in Fridley, Minn. is the largest facility of its kind in the industry.

There was no brass band or wild applause when the doors to Cummins’ Acoustical Testing Center (ATC) first swung open to the public last fall. Instead, visitors were greeted by silence.

Silence is precisely the point of the Company’s new sound-testing facility in Fridley, Minn., built next to the Cummins Power Generation (CPG) plant. With its curved roof and sound-absorbing acoustical wedges lining the walls and ceiling, the distinctive-looking center is the largest facility of its kind in the industry.

The facility is expected to significantly change how Cummins does its sound testing. By working in a controlled, indoor environment, unwanted noise is eliminated leaving just the sound from the generator itself to be precisely measured.

Noise is an environmental issue that is becoming increasingly important as customers and government regulators demand quieter power systems. For instance, the electrical industry publication Electrical Products & Solutions chose a Cummins Onan residential generator as one of its Top Products in 2010, noting that the RS20A/AC model was the quietest of four competitive models.

In the United States, the first federal law regarding noise control was enacted in 1972, though noise is regulated at the local level today. The European Union has specific noise limits through a 2002 directive, and a recent report to the European Parliament and Council called environmental noise a “significant environmental problem across the EU” due to its health impact.

“Noise really is an emission because it influences the environment in which people live,” explained Martin Myers, Cummins Director of Global Applied Technology and the primary user of the new facility which opened in October of 2011.

He says the new building is also making the surrounding neighborhood a quieter place.

“We really want to be a good neighbor,” Myers said. “By building this building, by putting the investment in, we are no longer affecting our neighbors when we are running generator tests.”

The black, red and white wedges that line the center’s interior chamber are filled with sound-absorbing insulation material and enclosed in a perforated metal shell. The ceiling is curved to allow sound to dissipate rather than be reflected as it does off flat surfaces.

“The chamber itself is basically an instrument,” said Kevin Wiese, the project manager who oversaw the construction.

The testing center also allows for greater opportunities in research and development. Pinpointing the sources of noise in a generator helps Cummins Power Generation design quieter products.

“It will deepen our knowledge of noise sources and help us design quieter, more cost-effective products for our customers,” said Tony Satterthwaite, CPG President.

The facility was built in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines for green building design. The heating system is 82 percent efficient and electrical consumption is less than the LEED requirement.

More than three-quarters of the construction materials have been recycled or salvaged. The building materials include recycled or partially recycled metal paneling, fly ash concrete and locally sourced materials such as steel made from ore mined in northern Minnesota.

In addition, the center was built on a site that qualifies as a brownfield redevelopment by the U.S. Green Building Council. Brownfields are land previously used for manufacturing that can be difficult to redevelop. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency promotes cleaning up brownfields and finding new uses for 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. blair.claflin@cummins.com

Don't Be Left Out in the Cold: Winter Storm Preparedness

The temperature in Times Square at the time of the New Year’s Eve ball drop was the coldest in 100 years. Much of the northern part of the U.S. is blanketed by snow, as temperatures in the east are running 10-20 degrees below normal. And, did I mention, there is another potentially significant winter storm on the way for the East Coast? All this gives me the chills – literally.

Here are four easy ways to better prepare yourself and your family for the next winter storm, and a short video with tips on how you can prepare for, and keep your family safe during harsh winter weather:

1. Know your risk.

How prepared is your region for winter weather? How well do residents in your community drive on icy roads? Snow storms take more time to recuperate from in the south, because they have less snow removal equipment. If you live in that region, prepare for many schools and businesses to be closed for days.

2. Build a preparedness kit.

I update my kit every year. FEMA offers an excellent list of recommended items to include. The key is ensuring you and your family can survive without power for at least three days. Of course, the best way to prepare for that contingency is by having a home standby generator. If you don’t already have one. I recommend checking out the Cummins QuietConnect series of home generators. 

Also, keep a preparedness kit in your car! I never leave the house without my water bottle, cell phone, hand sanitizer and umbrella. I keep other important items such as a flashlight, blanket, first aid kit, granola bars, ice scraper/snow brush, shovel, windshield washer fluid and cell phone charger in my car as well.  Make sure your tires are in good shape, you have at least a half tank of gas and your car is good running condition.

3. Start a conversation with your family, neighbors and employer.

Do you have a plan – including a plan for your family and pets? Would any of your elderly or special needs neighbors need help if they lost power? Does your employer expect you to be at work during a winter storm?  

4. Don’t overexert yourself when outdoors in the cold weather.

The American Heart Association says the strenuous activity of shoveling snow can take a toll on your body and can actually increase your chances of having a heart attack. While you may think you’re OK, someone you know may not be. Take an American Red Cross CPR/First Aid/AED course to learn life-saving skills! Pet CPR courses are also available in some areas.  

Preparedness is power. Don’t be left out in the cold during the next winter storm.

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. blair.claflin@cummins.com

Cummins Hero Spotlight: Pastor Robert Wiggins

This month, we salute Pastor Robert Wiggins as a Cummins Hero. Nominated through our HERO program, Pastor Wiggins routinely goes above and beyond the call of duty for his Colorado Springs, Colorado flock. 

Photo of Pastor WigginsWhen not delivering sermons, Pastor Wiggins can be found nurturing one of his many community betterment efforts. As his nominator put it, Pastor Wiggins teaches children how to be good stewards and good citizens.

Pastor Wiggins engages the children of his congregation in learning how to garden, raise animals and, most importantly, how to assist the underserved in their communities. Among his many community initiatives, he spearheaded an effort called “Blessings in a Backpack” to help provide meals for local students. He also runs an 1,800 square foot nonprofit backyard farm, growing 53 different varieties of vegetables to provide fresh, organic produce at very low or no cost to families in need. 

Pastor Wiggins has devoted his time, energy and life to the community, providing not only accessible, low-cost food, but also gardening classes and counseling to those who need it. He’s an inspiration to his parishioners and the community at large, inspiring them to, “do more, love deeper, serve longer, and do so with a passion for helping others.”  


Nominate Your Hero Today
Real heroes are all around us, making the world a better place each day. They come in all shapes and sizes and from every walk of life. And the thing is, most heroes don’t even think of themselves that way.

At Cummins, we’d like to change all that, but we need your help to do it.

If you know someone like Pastor Wiggins, who goes above and beyond to improve the community or the lives of others, take a few minutes to tell us all about them. Learn more and fill out a nomination form by visiting https://homegenerators.cummins.com/nominate-a-hero

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. blair.claflin@cummins.com

New Cummins Generator Models Ready for Winter Season

New 125 kW and 150 kW generators run on natural gas and are able to operate in the face of temperatures well below 0°F and winds of up to 180 mph. 

Cummins has a long history in the generator business. With the roots of that business put down in Minneapolis, Minnesota, we know cold weather. We also know our customers rely on us to keep their power on and heat running no matter what Mother Nature throws their way. 

Since 1995, there have been an average of 19 blizzards per year and countless snowstorms in the United State alone. Just last year, winter storm Jupiter dropped 94.5 inches of snow on Wyoming, and winter storms Fortis and Maya each knocked out power to 100,000 people. In snow like that, people could be trapped in their homes for days at a time in temperatures far below zero. That’s when you truly appreciate a reliable home generator to keep your family safe and warm.  

We recently expanded our line of QuietConnect Series standby generators up to 150 kW with our RS125 and RS150 models, to power larger homes and small businesses, even during the worst winter storms. 

These new 125 kW and 150 kW generators run on natural gas and are able to operate in the face of temperatures well below 0°F and winds of up to 180 mph. They’re powered by the rugged and reliable Cummins QSJ8.9G spark-ignited engine, so you know they’ll be there when you need them most. And, best of all, they’re designed to be extremely quiet. 

We aim to build generators that you won’t notice – with a sleek, unobtrusive profile and a low compact design, the new models provide reliable, seamless power. Contact your local Cummins dealer to be put on the early order list and have one less thing to worry about this winter.  

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. blair.claflin@cummins.com

Protecting your Business When Disaster Strikes

Without a cross-country network of offices to pick up the slack when the lights go out, losing even a few days’ work could be catastrophic for a small business. 

When the power goes out, small business owners are at enormous risk. Not only do they have to factor in lost revenue from fewer working days, but also lost inventory, lost data and, if the company ships products, lost reputation. Power outages from winter storms could translate to thousands of dollars lost from your bottom line. Is your business prepared for the possibility of a power outage lasting days or even weeks?

According to a study by Forbes, most small businesses report less than $50,000 in revenue per year. Without a cross-country network of offices to pick up the slack when the lights go out, losing even a few days’ work could be catastrophic. 

Use these tips to mitigate the potential damage to your business from power outages:

  • Back up all important files to the cloud and, for things like leases or critical licensing documents, on a hard drive stored in a bank safety deposit box or somewhere else separate from the business. 
  • Ensure you have a plan in place to communicate with employees and customers in the case of a power outage or other disaster. 
  • Determine if your business can run from home or another remote location, if needed, and set up a plan for moving critical operations there. 
  • Review your insurance policies regularly to understand what they cover and when – policies like flood insurance can take up to 30 days from purchase to be applicable.
  • Build a back-up plan to protect your power supply, especially if you work with perishable goods. A good way to do this is investing in a standby generator

At Cummins, we understand your livelihood depends on keeping the power on and work going. That’s why we developed our most reliable standby generators yet. Our new C125 and C150 models are built to serve small business owners in the worst conditions, rated for temperatures well below 0°F and built to withstand winds up to 180 miles per hour. 

We want to make sure that small businesses, the heart and soul of the American economy, are able to serve your communities when your neighbors need you most. Cummins is here to help small business owners like you by providing standby generators designed to keep your business running, no matter what the weather. 

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. blair.claflin@cummins.com

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