7 Ways Cummins Goes High Tech to Power its Customers

Cummins commitment to technology means benefits for customers.

IN MANY WAYS, CUMMINS ENGINES AND RELATED PRODUCTS ARE MORE COMPLEX THAN YOUR SMART PHONE. HERE'S SEVEN WAYS CUMMINS PUTS HIGH-TECHNOLOGY TO WORK FOR YOU:

SUPER COMPUTERS

Clessie 2.0 enables Cummins to power increasingly sophisticated software for the design of engines and related products.

 

 

The Clessie 2.0 supercomputer is a critical asset to the company’s engineering function, accelerating innovation, improving productivity and reducing product development time as well as costs.

With approximately 1.4 petabytes of total storage, 8,584 cores, 355 teraflops of computational muscle, and built to double in capacity, it enables engineers to explore thousands of computer assisted design (CAD) options on demand. Traditionally, an engineer could only explore a small number of design options.

The combination of engineering expertise, robust software, and powerful computing enables Cummins to produce the best engines in the world.

3D PRINTING

Cummins 3-D Printing lab inside the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.A).

 

 

3D printers take extremely detailed instructions to make precise objects a layer at a time, with relatively little waste. The technology is primarily used at Cummins to help engineers make detailed prototypes of the engine parts they design, and do it faster and more accurately than ever before.

Prototypes can be made from materials strong enough to put in a working engine for testing, which ultimately means great ideas can get to market faster.

CONNECTIVITY AND BIG DATA

A new app is helping Cummins certified service providers get customers back to work faster.

 

 

Cummins is using the power of connectivity and big data to improve the lives of its customers and service providers in multiple ways.

Immediate Assessment, for example, enables service providers to wirelessly connect to an engine through their smart phones or tablets. A feature of Cummins’ new Guidanz™ mobile app, it can pull fault codes indicating the most likely cause for a check engine light and estimate repair time based on data from thousands of similar repairs. In the past, customers could wait hours just to learn what was wrong.

Telematics devices, meanwhile, allow Cummins to gather extremely large sets of data about how Cummins-powered products operate. Company experts can then analyze that data to create digital solutions to customer challenges. With this technology, we can also remotely monitor Cummins-powered products and send software updates to them over-the-air.

In June, Cummins launched a new company, ZED Connect, to help carriers and drivers use data and analytics to increase their bottom lines. The new company’s first product is a simple and low-cost electronic device, ZED ELD, to help fleets and operators log their hours electronically.

VIRTUAL REALITY

The Virtual Reality Team at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.A) demonstrates the virtual reality system  based there.

 

 

There are some things that just can’t be captured on a computer screen. The CAVE at the Cummins Technical Center (CTC) in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.A.), is an especially popular spot for engineers who want to see their designs come to life before a prototype is ever built and customers who want to know how an engine will fit in their particular vehicles before one is ever manufactured.

Formally known as the CTC’s Advanced Virtual-prototyping Environment, the facility is one of several virtual reality centers across Cummins. Making it easier to see the intricacies of a big engine like those used in heavy-duty trucks or trains can be critical to engine uptime. It allows designers to know early on when a part is difficult to reach if a repair is necessary.

It can be important for engine components, too. The CAVE played a key role in development of Cummins’ ultra-efficient Single Module exhaust aftertreatment, helping engineers with both the design and the chassis installation requirements for the system, which is up to 60 percent smaller and up to 40 percent lighter than its predecessor.

ELECTRIFICATION

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (third from left) stands with Cummins’ leaders beside a demonstration work truck testing electrification during a recent visit to the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.A.).

 

 

Cummins in early 2017 launched an electrification division in response to the growing interest in commercial electric vehicles, especially for buses and delivery vehicles used in urban areas. But the company has been working on diesel-electric hybrid engines for more than a decade.

Cummins is currently in the midst of multiple electric mobile and stationary power projects. In the spring of 2016, the company announced it was part of a project awarded a $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a Class 6 commercial plug-in range extender electric powertrain that could reduce fuel consumption by at least 50 percent over a conventional Class 6/7 delivery truck.

ELECTRON MICROSCOPES

A team in the Cummins Technical Center’s Materials Science & Technology lab in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.A.) uses a powerful electron microscope to do its work.

 

 

Cummins researchers regularly use an electron microscope with enough magnifying power to read a newspaper sitting on the moon from earth.

Roger England, the Cummins Technical Center’s Director of Materials Science & Technology in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.A.), said that tool and others enable his team to work in the realm of atoms as it investigates problems like why a certain kind of oil might wear down an engine part and what metals might be less susceptible to damage.

OUR PEOPLE

Cummins engineers work in a lab in the Columbus Engine Plant.

 

 

Cummins strongly believes its people give the company a strategic advantage, with the technical know-how to help solve our customers’ toughest problems. As the only independent diesel engine manufacturer in the world, Cummins has the in-house capability to produce all the critical subsystems required to build an engine or generator.

About a third of the company’s professional staff has degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM). Many at the company’s tech centers have PhDs.

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]

 

High tech tools enable Cummins to safely support customers amid pandemic

Cummins Sales and Service technicians can work collaboratively with experts many miles away using RemoteConnect.
Cummins Sales and Service technicians can work collaboratively with experts many miles away using RemoteConnect.

A suite of high-tech tools called RemoteConnect is enabling Cummins to support customers while maintaining social distancing and travel restrictions implemented during the COVID-19 crisis.

The tools, which allow experts to remotely see what technicians see in the field, were created by the Cummins Care team in 2017, prior to the COVID-19 crisis, to support customers in hard-to-reach locations. Now, with travel discouraged to prevent the spread of the virus, the use of RemoteConnect has increased dramatically, making the tools more important than ever. 

“RemoteConnect was created to be an alternative solution when a Cummins subject matter expert cannot be onsite,” said Cummins Care Manager Joe Brooks, who has been leading the initiative since 2017. “This has quickly turned into the only solution to service our customers in certain situations due to COVID-19. RemoteConnect has been a real game-changer during these unprecedented times.”

HOW THE TOOLS WORK

The suite of tools comes in a kit that looks something like a suitcase and includes safety glasses equipped with a tiny camera that technicians can use to work collaboratively with company experts known as “CFSEs” to diagnose and fix problems. CFSEs can literally see what the technician sees even if they are many miles away.

RemoteConnect quickly demonstrated its ability to improve repair quality while reducing misdiagnosis, un-recoverable labor expenses and most importantly, customer pain and suffering. The kits have been placed in more than 140 Cummins locations, primarily in the U.S. and Canada but Cummins Care is working to deploy them elsewhere, too.

Before COVID-19, CFSEs spent a significant time on the road, working with Cummins technicians at a particular Cummins Sales and Service location to collaborate on difficult service work. In addition, they would also collaborate with technicians via RemoteConnect. 

When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, suddenly a simple flight, train, or even a car ride to service a customer was no longer a routine option. Many CFSEs discovered RemoteConnect was the next best thing to being there.

IMPRESSIVE NUMBERS

While the safety glasses equipped with cameras to live stream two-way audio and visual communication has perhaps the biggest wow factor, the kits also include:

•    LogMeIn Rescue: A tool providing the CFSE the ability to remotely collaborate with onsite technicians by taking control of their desktops.
•    Network Bridge: A tool allowing CFSEs working remotely to connect to an engine’s electronic control module (ECM), which is the command center on an engine controlling its operation.

As of April, over 5,402 remote support cases had been completed since November of 2018, including 621 that would have required travel, and 3,488 days of downtime were saved. The kit was used 166 times just between February and April.

Brooks and others at Cummins expect those numbers will go up in the days and months ahead. RemoteConnect is just another way Cummins puts technology and innovation to work for its customers. 
 

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 CEO highlights employee safety, ingenuity at Annual Meeting

CEO Tom Linebarger speaks at a past event, before the COVID-19 crisis. The 2020 Annual Meeting was held virtually to protect against the spread of the virus.
CEO Tom Linebarger speaks at a past event, before the COVID-19 crisis. The 2020 Annual Meeting was held virtually to protect against the spread of the virus.

Cummins is taking numerous steps to protect employees from COVID-19, Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger said at the company’s Annual Meeting Tuesday.

The company has implemented health screenings and temperature checks for those entering plants, increased cleaning protocols and established a response center supported by medical personnel to answer employee questions 24 hours per day, seven days per week, Linebarger said.

He told shareholders the company has also established a leadership committee to respond to reported problems and a planning team focused on planning for future developments. Linebarger said the health and safety of employees and the communities where Cummins operates are the company’s first priority as it moves forward in these uncertain times.

“Most office employees around the world at Cummins are working from home as we comply with stay-at-home orders to reduce the spread of the virus,” Linebarger said. “At the time of this meeting, several of our plants have gone through periods of shutdown or reduced capacity, and many locations are now resuming operations, though at a very reduced level. …Things look very different now than how we operated prior to COVID-19.”

A Seymour Engine Plant employee at work
A Seymour Engine Plant employee in Seymour, Indiana, working under the new plant rules since the pandemic. 

Linebarger said with most office employees staying at home, the company has been able to divert cleaning resources to facilities where employees are coming in to work every day, significantly increasing cleaning and disinfecting protocols. For those employees working in plants, in addition to the screenings and temperature checks, immediate care is available for anyone displaying symptoms for COVID-19.

 For employees whose work requires them to be in close proximity to others, the company has additional personal protective equipment for them to wear.

A DIFFERENT WAY TO WORK

Cummins has also redesigned certain processes and facility layouts to allow employees to operate safely and effectively, re-configuring assembly lines and entrances and exits to promote social distancing and ensuring common surfaces are cleaned regularly. In addition to answering questions, the response center is available to conduct contact tracing to determine people who might have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

The company is using medical personnel from Cummins’ LiveWell health center in Columbus, Indiana, to support the COVID-19 response. center.

Linebarger said the company has benefitted from having dealt with the crisis since January when the virus was first discovered in China. Cummins has several facilities in Wuhan, China, considered the epicenter of the outbreak. All of Cummins’ plants in China are now back in operation and business has been brisk as the company’s customers have responded to pent-up demand.

An employee works in Seymour, Indiana.
In addition to masks, anyone entering the Seymour plant must pass through a health check where they get their temperature taken.

OPTIMISTIC SIGNS

That is only one hopeful sign. Linebarger said Cummins is also in a strong financial position. At the end of the first quarter of 2020, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $2 billion, strong credit ratings and Cummins’ pension plans are fully funded. Linebarger said aggressive action to cut costs such as reducing pay and hours for some employees, while painful, will serve the company well during this unprecedented downturn.

Even in the middle of the crisis, Cummins has maintained its investment in low- and no-carbon technologies like hydrogen fuel cells and battery electric power platforms that will position the company well for the future when more normal conditions and demand returns.

“During our 100-year history we have encountered several unforeseen crises and economic challenges,” Linebarger said during the virtual meeting, another first caused by the pandemic. “I am confident we will successfully navigate this one as we have done before and emerge stronger as a company.”

He said also true to the company’s history, Cummins employees have risen to the challenges presented by COVID-19, responding in new and creative ways to help the company and the communities where they live and work.

Employees have engaged in a host of activities, from helping day care centers and hospitals plan for COVID-19, to powering essential shipments of food and medicine, building and servicing the generators at emergency medical centers around-the-world, and partnering with other companies to increase the production of personal protective equipment.

“It will come as no surprise to you that our employees around the world have stepped up and responded to the needs of their communities in innovative ways,” Linebarger said. “…As always, our employees and our company are doing all that we can do to address this crisis in new and creative ways, and we remain committed to powering a more prosperous world.”
 

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]

 

Team saves test using Cummins' ingenuity

The Cummins team had to figure out quickly how to keep testing going while practicing all the COVID-19 safeguards.
The Cummins team had to figure out quickly how to keep testing going while practicing all the COVID-19 safeguards.

On-Board Diagnostic Misfire Testing is as complex as its name would suggest. Keeping a recent test moving forward might have been even more complicated.

The labor-intensive test requires a driver and technician sit side by side to test an engine under “real life” circumstances to prove to regulators its onboard diagnostics are capable of detecting a misfire due to a component failure that produces excessive emissions. The testing is critical to keeping the regulatory process moving forward on the engine model for 2021.

The testing had been taking place at a college several hours away and was at a critical moment when the school suddenly had to shut the lab down as part of its response to the COVID-19 crisis. As the Cummins team quickly made plans to shift testing back to Columbus, Indiana, a feat in itself, plans were also being forged by the test team group leader Alex Marin Cruz to finish the critical testing at the Olympia Building (OLY) – this time while maintaining all the recommended COVID-19 safeguards, including the six-foot social distancing rule. 

FINDING THEIR INNER MACGYVER

In the midst of all the other personal and professional stresses caused by the fast-paced global pandemic, a team of engineers and technicians from both OLY and the Cummins Technical Center (CTC) quickly brainstormed a safe solution.

They pulled more than 50 feet of ethernet and specialized cables from rarely used storage closets in CTC and OLY. Two-way radios that hadn’t been used in some time were dusted off. The testing was slightly reconfigured, so the driver and technician no longer had to sit together but could still communicate using the radios. 

The team lost just under 48 hours, but testing was ready to continue.

A view of the testing.
The team  found cable and two-way radios that hadn't been used in some time to keep the testing going.

NEVER A DOUBT

“We never had any doubt,” Marin Cruz said when asked if he ever thought the testing would have to be postponed. “We were just focused on safety and keeping us six feet apart.”

They are now on track to submit data as part of the certification package to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) by the regulator’s deadline. Their extraordinary efforts to keep the engine testing on track will likely be critical to keeping the project moving forward.  

Team members in addition to Cruz include Shelley Knust, Curt Barnhart, Justin Owen, Ansh Sharma, Michael Tress, Shashank Sharma, Celso Gomez, David L Adams, Arun Shori D Sundaravel, Daniel Holle, and Robert S. Jones.

They demonstrated, once again, that both the company’s value of teamwork and its vision to innovate for its customers are alive and well at Cummins. Even in the midst of a global pandemic.
 

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.

Trio of honors reflect Cummins’ commitment to sustainability

Cummins has long believed that a wide range of factors determine the sustainability of a company.
Cummins has long believed that a wide range of factors determine the sustainability of a company.

Cummins  recently received three honors for its work on ethics, environmental resiliency and supplier diversity.

The recognition reflects the company’s broad approach to sustainability, including everything from Cummins’ efforts to shrink its environmental impact to corporate responsibility, health and safety, diversity and inclusion, financial success, innovation and governance and ethics. The company, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019, is committed to staying in business for the next 100 years.

“When we initiated the World’s Most Ethical Companies recognition in 2007, the concept of companies proactively aligning profits and purpose seemed unlikely,” said Ethisphere CEO Timothy Erblich, upon announcing the group’s list, which Cummins made for a 13th consecutive year. “However, leading CEOs and organizations continue to prove our long-held hypothesis that conducting ethnical business is the key to maximizing profits.”

WORLD’S MOST ETHICAL COMPANIES

Ethisphere is  the global leader in defining and advancing standards of ethical business practices. It said 132 honorees representing 51 countries and 21 industries were included in the group’s 14th annual recognition. There were 14 newcomers to the 2020 World’s Most Ethical Companies list, while seven companies have received the designation every year since the list was first announced in 2007.

To be eligible for the designation, companies must fill out a comprehensive survey on their business practices. Most of the survey questions deal with ethics and compliance, but there are also questions about the company’s environmental performance, community engagement, and supply chain engagement and oversight.

Honorees have historically out-performed other companies financially, demonstrating the connection between good ethical practices and performance that’s valued in the marketplace. Other companies on the 2020 list included Accenture, General Motors, Microsoft and Waste Management. 

Hoosier Resilience Hero logo
TheEnvironmental Resilience Institute has prepared a video to celebrate the 2020 heroes.

HOOSIER RESILIENCE HEROES

Cummins has been named to the Environmental Resilience Institute’s Hoosier Resilience Heroes list, which recognizes individuals and groups across the state of Indiana for their efforts to prepare Hoosiers for climate change and promote safe, healthy communities. The institute is part of Indiana University.

"We affect our environment, and our environment affects us," said the institute’s Director Janet McCabe. "Whether it is coronavirus, climate change or corn yields, we live in interconnected systems. The better we understand these connections, the more resilient we can become to protect our health, our communities and our economy.”

Cummins, which has its headquarters in Indiana, was recognized for its PLANET2050 environmental sustainability strategy to reduce the company’s environmental impact. The strategy was released in 2019 and includes science-based goals timed to 2030 and aspirations for 2050. Cummins was the only company among the 2020 heroes.

This is the second year the institute has released a list. The institute’s mission is to enhance resilience to environmental change in Indiana and the Midwest by accurately predicting impacts and effectively partnering with communities to implement “feasible, equitable, and research-informed solutions.”

SUPPLIER DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

Cummins has been named a Top Global Champion for Supplier Diversity & Inclusion, which recognizes corporations that lead with globally inclusive sourcing efforts. The recognition comes from a trio of groups: the U.S. Pan Asia Chamber of Commerce, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Disability:IN, the leading nonprofit for resource for business disability inclusion worldwide and WEConnect International, a global network that connects women-owned businesses to qualified buyers around the world.

Cummins finished No. 4 on the partners’ list behind only Kelly Services, Merc and IBM.

“If you are not sourcing inclusively everywhere you do business, you do not have full access to critical innovations and the best total value options that will help you meet and anticipate the needs of your clients,” said WEConnect International CEO and Co-Founder Elizabeth A. Vazquez. “This ranking showcases the acceleration of a truly global movement towards supplier diversity and inclusion.”
 

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]

 

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