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.

The Spring 2018 Weather Outlook

After December and January delivered brutal cold and snow to most of the United States, February temperatures have been above normal across much of the country. Despite Punxsutawney Phil predicting six more weeks of winter, Mother Nature seems to disagree with the famous groundhog -- at least so far. While the recent chill has been confined to the northern plains, crocuses and daffodils are sprouting out of the ground in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Is this a sign of an early spring? 

According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, not much is forecast to change over the next few months. On average, long-range weather forecasters are predicting temperatures to be above normal for much of the United States - the highest chance being for the Desert Southwest and Gulf Coast regions. Precipitation is expected to be below normal from Texas westward to California and above normal for the Northeast and Great Lakes. 

Despite the seasonal outlook, one weather phenomena is certain to occur: thunderstorms.  In the spring, the clash of air masses creates a ”weather battleground.” This happens when cold, dry air from Canada clashes with warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. A frontal boundary divides the two air masses and acts as a focal point for thunderstorms. With the right ingredients, some storms become severe and cause damage including power outages.

Here are some easy ways to ensure the safety of you and your family before the next storm:

  • Start planning now. The combination of knowing your risk and having a long-term plan is power.  
  • "Spring clean" your disaster kit. Replace expired prescriptions, food and first-aid items.
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Survey your property for things that might need repair, and trim tree limbs hanging over your home.
  • Inspect your roof for any leaks, especially if you live in an area that receives a lot of snow in the winter.
  • Check and reseal windows and doors, if necessary, to keep the winter cold and spring/summer heat out.
  • Clean out your chimney and gutters.
  • Update your emergency contact information. 
  • Make sure you have a back-up power source in case of a power outage. Having a standby generator means you can safely power your home even through a long-term outage.  

Preparedness is power. Don’t be left in the dark during the next severe storm. Visit the Cummins “Ahead of the Storm page” for more severe storm preparedness tips, and then sign up for a free in-home assessment to find the right Cummins generator for your home.

About the Author:  Cheryl Nelson is a Weather & Preparedness Advisor and Spokesperson for Cummins, a Lifestyle TV Host, FEMA-Certified Natural Disaster Preparedness Expert and award-winning Certified Broadcast Meteorologist.  For more tips, visit Cheryl’s website at and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @CherylNelsonTV 

Cheryl Nelson, Certified Broadcast Meteorologist

Cheryl Nelson

Cheryl Nelson is an Emmy-nominated and AP award-winning Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, TV Host, FEMA-Certified Instructor and Weather and Preparedness Advisor for Cummins. You can visit Cheryl’s website at and follow her on Twitter and Facebook @CherylNelsonTV. 

The Connected Home

The “connected life” is a growing movement to connect everything—our cars, lamps, refrigerators, and even our toothbrushes—to each other and the Internet. To understand the opportunities these new technologies offer our lives, we caught up with Eric Taub, a long-time technology writer for The New York Times and Parade, among others, at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

What happens at CES?
The Consumer Electronics Show is the debut party for all things digital. Whether you’re looking for the latest innovations in televisions, vacuum cleaners, cars, or light bulbs, CES is the place to be.

And what did you see this year?
Lots of improvements to technology breakthroughs that first started over the past few years, including the latest self-driving cars, connected refrigerators, and internet-connected thermostats, light bulbs, and exercise gear.

What’s a connected refrigerator? And why is everything connecting to the internet?
Smartphones and our continuous access to the internet has made the “connected life” possible. The idea is that with everything connected, we can control anything from anywhere. And one item can control another. Add in artificial intelligence, and our cars and appliances will eventually even learn what we like, suggest things that we might enjoy, and then do them for us. Imagine a car that knows you like to get a coffee every morning at 8 a.m. and directs you to the nearest Starbucks. Or a refrigerator that sees you have bread and cheese in it and tells you about a great grilled cheese sandwich recipe—and even turns on the oven in preparation. 

How are cars going to be connected to everything?
Once cars are connected to the internet—and that’s already happening—you’ll be able to start a song at home on your smartphone, and then pick up where you left off when you start driving. As you approach your home at night, your vehicle will automatically sense you’re near, and signal your house lights to turn on, set your stove to preheat for the evening meal, and even record your favorite show that you might have missed otherwise. If your home alarm gets triggered while you’re driving, you’ll be able to get a signal within your vehicle, and even see the video feed from your home on your car’s navigation screen.

How else will this connected world affect our lives?
Healthcare is becoming part of the connected world. Today, if you have diabetes, you can check your blood sugar level using an Apple Watch, and have the results automatically sent to your physician. If you have heart failure, you can track weight gain and blood pressure changes at home, on your smartphone, and automatically have those measurements sent to your doctor’s office as well. If there’s a problem, they can call you immediately and take corrective action.
All of this obviously requires power. What happens if the power goes out?
When you lose power, you lose access to your connected life. The more connected we become, power outages are no longer just an inconvenience; it could be a matter of saving a life.

Have you ever experienced a power loss?
Ironically, at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the main convention hall lost power for over two hours as a result of unexpected heavy rains. Tens of thousands of people had to be evacuated. All of the great connected products that we’d been discussing went down. And with that, the connected world suddenly became the disconnected world. 

The Cummins Connect Series of home generators also have some pretty smart technology built into them. The 13-20kW QuietConnect generators have in-built intelligence allowing you to control your home’s electrical loads automatically so you don’t have to pick and choose what you back up. You can also control the generator from anywhere in the world via a handy smartphone app. This allows you to monitor its status, receive critical notifications before issues occur and control your generator from anywhere at any time, giving you the peace of mind that your home – and life – will remain safe and connected during a power outage.

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.

Power Train technical training seminars off to a great start

Power Train delivers technical training to distributors and customers who design and specify generator installations.
Power Train delivers technical training to distributors and customers who design and specify generator installations.

The first Power Train event to be held in its new location of Daventry, UK, was delivered on 6-7 February to about two dozen industry professionals from around Europe. This also kicked off the annual Power Train series, with similar events to be held quarterly in 2018.

Hosted and presented by Cummins Sales Application Engineering Europe and Russia team, Power Train is an excellent forum that Cummins provides to its distributors and customers on all technical aspects of power generation installations and systems. Specifically designed for customers in electrical, mechanical and consulting engineering professions that design and specify generator installations, these technical seminars are a great way to engage with clients as it provides them with a knowledge-based background for future installations. 

In this specific Power Train event, there was a particularly strong level of engagement due to a large number of high-profile consultants in attendance, including contingencies from EDF Energy, Hewlett-Packard, Red Engineering, Interxion and the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation. The attendees are now taking away with them awareness of the Cummins brand and in-depth knowledge of our products. 

Power Train is a fully accredited Continuous Professional Development (CPD) course and consists of technical lectures and group activities for attendees to apply theoretical calculations to practical real-life applications, along with a specialized tour of Cummins assembly plant in Daventry. 

Power Train is free of charge and registration is open for sessions scheduled throughout 2018. For more information and to register, visit

Adam Sidders Marketing Communications Leader Power Systems

Adam Sidders

Adam Sidders is the Marketing Communications Leader for the Power Systems Business Unit of Cummins Inc. Prior to joining Cummins in 2012 Adam worked in Financial Services for Europe’s largest independently owned insurer as their Marketing and Communications Manager.

Glass factory grows with Cummins

To meet continuous production and workflow demand, Cummins Turkey provided the emergency standby power solution for the Baştürk Glass Factory with 2 x C2500 D5A diesel generator sets.
To meet continuous production and workflow demand, Cummins Turkey provided the emergency standby power solution for the Baştürk Glass Factory with 2 x C2500 D5A diesel generator sets.

Since opening one year ago, the Baştürk Glass Factory has already seen tremendous growth. Production capacity has doubled to six lines and 600 tons of glass containers per day in the small town of Yeşilyurt, Turkey, where it employs 350 people. With this growth, the Bastürk Glass Factory has elevated to an important place in the domestic and international glass market. 

To meet continuous production and workflow demand, Cummins Turkey provided the emergency standby power solution with 2 x Cummins C2500 D5A diesel generator sets. Cummins Turkey’s Power Generation team solved all technical queries coming from the customer and provided close support during each phase of project. Design considerations such as synchronization with the utility, automation, paralleling and a compact room arrangement were all successfully implemented by Cummins Turkey along with local dealer AET. As a result of response time, close communication and a problem-solving attitude, Cummins Turkey created a strong relationship with the customer for future opportunities.

For more information on standby power solutions, visit

Adam Sidders Marketing Communications Leader Power Systems

Adam Sidders

Adam Sidders is the Marketing Communications Leader for the Power Systems Business Unit of Cummins Inc. Prior to joining Cummins in 2012 Adam worked in Financial Services for Europe’s largest independently owned insurer as their Marketing and Communications Manager.

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