Model Engine Builds Interest in STEM Around the World

A group of aspiring engineers tune a LEGO Cummins engine model.
Women have long been under-represented in engineering in the United States...

...so when Cummins Chemical Engineer Alyssa Arend met with a group of Girl Scouts last year, she had a secret weapon to pique their interest in the subject: A model of the company’s QSK95 engine made entirely of LEGOs.

“What makes this so great is that it effectively shows how the STEM area is both approachable and relevant,” said Arend, who organized a session last year with about 30 Girl Scouts from the Madison, Wisconsin (U.S.A.) area. “Through using everyday objects to build a complex structure, the larger and sometimes ambiguous concept of STEM becomes more tangible. We tried to communicate that engineering is involved in almost everything in their lives – from baking cookies to building snow forts.”

That’s exactly what Rich Whitney and his team had in mind when they developed the Cummins LEGO model engine.

Shashi Singh, a Controls Applications Engineer in Cummins Engine Business, helps a visitor to the Cummins booth attach a LEGO component to the LEGO engine at the STEAM! Innovation Fair outside Indianapolis. Shashi Singh, a Controls Applications Engineer in Cummins Engine Business, helps a visitor to the Cummins booth attach a LEGO component to the LEGO engine at the STEAM! Innovation Fair outside Indianapolis.

 

For the past five years, the model has been helping persuade girls and boys around the world to think about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Typically, students pair up with Cummins engineers to build the model, and talk about STEM in the process.

 “The idea started when we were brainstorming ways to help our campus recruiting teams connect with college students,” said Whitney, Cummins’ Global Employment Branding Leader.

“We wanted more of our employees to help students get more interested in STEM education and careers while providing a space for them to talk and work collaboratively to accomplish a big project.”

About that time, Cummins introduced its QSK95, the largest high-speed diesel engine the company has ever built. Whitney’s team saw an opportunity to promote college recruiting, STEM and the new engine – all at the same time.

They partnered with Brickworld, a group of LEGO enthusiasts, to build the engine, and STEM advocacy groups such as Project Lead the Way, to develop the best way for engineers and university students to interact with middle and high school students.

There were many challenges along the way. For example, they learned building the engine at 20 percent of scale would still require 30,000 bricks – way more than could be put together in the 2- to 3- hour session the team envisioned. The LEGO enthusiasts suggested permanently gluing some parts together to speed up assembly.

STEM 1 (002) Cummins employees from Stoughton, Wisconsin help a group of girls construct a model QSK95 engine. Lego builds are part of Stoughton’s efforts to increase diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Over its history, the engine has been most popular among Cummins employees working directly with community groups and middle and high schools. In all, more than 2,000 young people have participated in the project in the U.S. and U.K. and a second model is now in India.

Whitney’s team is in the process of developing a new program built around the concept of individual LEGO engines that integrate 3D printing technology with moving pistons, cams, crankshafts and valves so students can get a better idea of how the engine works and generates power.

“The new engine model was inspired by all the students who would ask us, ‘What happens inside the engine?’” Whitney said. “I want to show them why an engine is so fascinating.”

Related Articles

This article is part of a 2016 series that highlights STEM (Science Engineering Technology and Math)-related topics. You can read the other articles here.

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]

Latino Heritage Month: A profile on Cummins Juarez

Cummins plant in Juarez
  • 2018 is forecasted to be the highest-revenue year in Cummins Juarez’s 33-year history – a testament to the importance of NAFTA.
  • Employees volunteered 30,000 hours of community service over the past five years.
  • Cummins Juarez won a 2018 Global Impact Award for a project that will generate enough green power to reduce site carbon emissions by 204 tons per year.
  • Three grants totaling $1 million were approved in 2018, which will fund impactful and sustainable projects for improving the community of Juarez and El Paso.

In honor of Latino Heritage Month, Cummins is celebrating the dedication and contributions of its Hispanic and Latin American employees and communities. This recognition extends to the manufacturing and supply chain employees who support Cummins on the front lines. With approximately 20 plants or sites supporting all business units located across the region, Cummins’ presence in Latin America is significant and increasingly important.

Cummins Juarez, located in the binational community of Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, is just one example. As Cummins’ largest manufacturing site for the Components business segment, Cummins Juarez produces more than 3.8 million components each year and is on target to achieve its highest-revenue year in its 33-year history.

One of the cornerstones of Cummins’ success in the region is NAFTA – the single most important trade agreement to Cummins which has helped grow the economies of the US, Mexico and Canada. Prior to the agreement, Mexico was one of the most protectionist countries in the world, with automotive imports into Mexico facing tariffs as high as 20 percent. NAFTA brought down trade barriers and allowed Cummins to avoid duplication of manufacturing capacity to take care of Mexico engine and components demand.

Cummins continues to advocate for a modernized NAFTA that incorporates trade, investment and related regulatory reforms. A renegotiated NAFTA could continue to help produce benefits across the three countries and continue to help Cummins grow in the NAFTA countries and contribute to continued growth and success at its sites across Mexico, like Cummins Juarez.

Cummins Juarez is home to Cummins Electronics and Fuel Systems (CEFS) and Cummins Emission Solutions (CES). CEFS manufactures new and legacy XPI products, such as fuel injectors, and is home to a joint venture between Cummins and Scania, a major manufacturer of commercial vehicles. CES manufactures Urea dosers and pumps.

Using several advanced salvage processes, CEFS Juarez also remanufactures electronic control modules and sensors and Cummins-designed fuel systems, and they’re proud of their remanufacturing focus. Remanufacturing is the ultimate form of recycling, as it helps reduce costs for customers and offers environmentally friendly manufacturing solutions.

Below are just a few additional highlights for Cummins Juarez.

OVERALL SITE STATISTICS

Site Location: Juarez, México, and El Paso, Texas (warehouse).
Year opened: 1985
Site size/plant sizes (acreage/square footage): 260,000 Sq. Ft. + 70,000 Sq. Ft. for warehouse.
Business Unit: Components Business Segment
Site Leader: Robert Rivas
Site employee count: 2,593 employees
Products manufactured: Fuel systems, electronic control modules, sensors and dosing systems
Customers: Rocky Mountain Engine Plant, Jamestown Engine Plant, Seymour and San Luis Potosi Engine Business Unit plants and all aftermarket plants
Product applications: 
On-highway – semi cabs, pick-up trucks, school and public buses, RVs, fire trucks
Off-highway – marine, military vehicles, construction equipment

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • Cummins Juarez employees contributed 30,000 hours of community service in the last five years.
  • Cummins Juarez has three strategic community partners that feature impactful and sustainable projects (more than 800 children are being impacted):
    • Ojos de Dios (God’s eyes) – Priority areas include the environment and equality of opportunity
    • Carlos Urquidi Elementary School – Priority areas include education and the environment
    • Ciudad del Nino (City of the Child) – Priority area includes equality of opportunity 
  • 2018 has been an exceptional year for the Cummins Juarez Community Involvement Team, receiving three grants from the Cummins Foundation.
  • The Cummins Juarez Scholarship Program provides 15 middle school students with a monthly scholarship funded by Juarez plant employees through an innovative vending machine program (started on 2011).

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

  • Operations 
  • Electronic Engineering
  • Quality Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Product Engineering
  • Supply Chain – Planning and Logistics
  • Information Technology
  • Finance
     
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.

Lisa Yoder posthumously honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

Last week, Lisa Yoder, former Vice President of Global Supply Chain at Cummins, was posthumously honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award during the Central Indiana Supply Chain Awards (CISCA).

DLisa Yoderuring the event, it was also announced the Lifetime Achievement Award would be named after Lisa in honor of her commitment and dedication to her work and the time she invested in supporting her supply chain leaders and colleagues. 

More than 200 supply chain professionals came together on Sept. 13 to recognize 37 nominees and 9 winners during the first-annual CISCA event, powered by BCforward. The event, organized by the Institute for Supply Management – Central Indiana (ISM) and the Mid-States Minority Supplier Development Council (Mid-States MSDC), is the first of its kind in Central Indiana.

Thad Ewald, Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Cummins, accepted the award in Lisa’s honor. Members of Lisa’s immediate family and several of her former Cummins colleagues were also in attendance to celebrate Lisa’s accomplishments.

“It was an honor to accept this award on Lisa’s behalf,” said Thad Ewald, Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Cummins. “She was a good friend and a valued colleague, and she left a lasting legacy at Cummins.”

Thad Ewald, Vice President of Corporate Strategy, accepts the award in Lisa's honor.

Lisa led Cummins’ Global Supply Chain and Manufacturing functions from 2011 to 2017, when she passed away after a long-fought battle with cancer. Through her tenure, she courageously led Supply Chain operations for Cummins locations across the globe. Lisa successfully pulled each supply chain function and operation under one umbrella and established the strategy for the supply chain transformation in 2012. This was no small feat, as this transformational work applied to and affected 190 countries in which Cummins does business, thousands of employees, and hundreds of work streams and processes. Lisa’s vision was instrumental in driving the current transformational journey within the Supply Chain, and her impact can still be felt today.

Lisa invested countless, selfless hours in recruiting and promoting the supply chain profession as a career choice. When Lisa became ill, she found inspiration from mentoring and teaching others the importance of the supply chain industry and living life to the fullest.

We at Cummins – those who knew her well and those who witness her legacy – couldn’t be prouder and are thrilled to see her impact live on through the CISCA Lisa Yoder Lifetime Achievement Award. 
 

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.

I am a Collaborative Robot. I am Manufacturing.

I am Manufacturing: Collaborative Robots

Advancements in technology, the internet of things and the power of big data are driving innovation across all industries – and the manufacturing industry is no different. This next wave of technological advancement in manufacturing is being dubbed Industry 4.0.

From more powerful, secure networks and universal connectivity, to advanced technologies and enterprise-wide data hubs, manufacturing’s technological future has many facets and possibilities. Today, we’re seeing examples of technological advancements within Cummins’ 90-plus Manufacturing plants across the globe. 

One example is the Collaborative Robot.

What is a collaborative robot (Cobot for short)?

Simply put, a Cobot is a robot built to safely work with and around people. They’re meant to enhance the work of humans, working side-by-side with operators to perform low-risk tasks, which is a paradigm shift for the industry.

While Cobots were first designed in the 1990s, they didn’t become an industry option until just a few years ago. The primary difference between a robot and Cobot, aside from scale, are built-in sensing systems that provide Cobots the ability to monitor a path and determine, within milliseconds, if it needs to stop due to an obstruction in its path. Traditional robots are tasked with heavy duty jobs and are locked in a secure area away from humans.

CTP Cobot

Why cobots?

There are many advantages to using Cobots today:

  • While Cobots do not replace humans, they can take over dull or repetitive tasks that would often pose ergonomic risks to operators, such as uncomfortable wrist or shoulder rotations, and allow for easier quality and process control.
  • Cobots can eliminate the required safety perimeter and safely share workspace with operators, resulting in a safer work environment and efficiencies in plant design. (Safety protocols will still exist.)
  • Cobots are typically less expensive, due to built-in safety features, and result in a lower total cost of ownership.
  • Cobots are easier to program, and allow for hands-on programming and operator involvement

Where does Cummins use Cobots today?

Cummins has two active Cobot applications, one at the Charleston Turbo Plant (CTP) in Charleston, South Carolina, and one at the Darlington Engine Plant (DEP) in Darlington, U.K. Cummins Filtration and Cummins Emission Solutions are also developing new applications utilizing Cobot technology and plan to have Cobots active within their facilities by early 2019.

The CTP Cobot, dispenses a retaining compound and has operated for more than two years without any safety or downtime issues. This application allows operators to perform quality and process inspections within the same operating space as the Cobot and has solved many concerns including safety, ergonomics, quality and downtime issues. 
 
The DEP Cobot was installed in early 2018 and has a 2D barcode reader that scans and extracts fuel injection trim codes. This application has solved many quality issues, as the scans must be completed in a sequential order for successful programming. 

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.

Tom Linebarger receives the 2018 Man of Achievement Award from the Midwest Region of the Anti-Defamation League

Cummins Chairman and CEO, Tom Linebarger received the 2018 Man of Achievement Award from the Midwest Region of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for his efforts in advocating for fairness, equality and inclusion. The award was presented in Indianapolis, IN (USA).  

During his acceptance speech, Tom made an impassioned plea for each person to join the fight: 

"Now more than ever, those of us who believe in pluralism need to move to action.  We can no longer assume that all will be well but instead must turn our focus and all of our efforts toward this fight or it may actually be lost. Fortunately for us, there are people in our communities who have been at the frontline of this fight for a long time. 

I encourage you to seek out organizations who desperately need your time, your treasure, your voice and your shoe leather. Support them locally and nationally. Find out how you can be part of the solution. 

I would ask that you also speak up for the minority, for those with less, for refugees, for immigrants, for Jews, Christians, and for Muslims, for women and girls."

The ADL has a century-old mission to fight discrimination, extremism, terrorism, and all forms of hate in the real world and in cyberspace.  

Tom Linebarger accepts award for Man of the Year from the Anti-Defamation League

Lonnie Nasatir, ADL Regional Director, said “now is a pivotal time for our organization, our country, and the world. Combating and exposing extremism is essential. We work tirelessly to ensure justice and fair treatment for all through our work on immigration, voting rights, religious freedom, LGBTQ equality, and fighting discrimination. Tom exemplifies and champions our values every day.  We are honored to celebrate his accomplishments and thank him for furthering this critical work that is needed now more than ever.” 

Leaders at Cummins have a long history of standing up for what they believe is right, even in the face of adversity. Cummins leaders championed civil rights in the 1960s, took a stand against apartheid in the 1980s by leaving South Africa, despite the financial implications. In 2000, Cummins began offering domestic partner benefits to its employees, despite community opposition. 

And over the past decade, Cummins has publicly opposed discriminatory measures to permanently prevent same-sex marriage in Indiana as well as in other states like Minnesota and advocated for a statewide non-discrimination statute in Indiana. 

Last year, Cummins expanded its core value of diversity to diversity and inclusion. The company and its leaders like Linebarger are committed to creating work environments and communities that are welcoming to all people. 

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.

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