For Cummins engineers, these road trips mean going to extremes

A validation team makes its way up a mountain road at Loveland Pass (6.7 percent grade at 11,990 feet), during testing of Cummins’ X12 engine in Colorado (U.S.A.) earlier this year.
A validation team makes its way up a mountain road at Loveland Pass (6.7 percent grade at 11,990 feet), during testing of Cummins’ X12 engine in Colorado (U.S.A.) earlier this year.

Cummins engineer Trent Berardi was in trouble. Usually frigid Fargo, North Dakota (U.S.A.), was too warm.

With his team ready for two-and-a-half weeks of testing Cummins’ X12 engine under extreme winter conditions, Berardi had to quickly find cold temperatures close enough to his base in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.A.), to stay on time and budget. Then he got the good news: Idaho Falls, Idaho (U.S.A.), was having a cold snap.

“Thankfully, we found the temperatures we were looking for relatively nearby,” Berardi recalled.

Such is the life of a validation engineer, the last line of defense before a Cummins product reaches the customer.

These engineers oversee final testing to make sure a new engine platform or another Cummins product works when installed in a truck or other equipment.

The testing frequently includes a two-to-three week road trip to see what happens when the engine is stressed by extreme temperatures or elevation. Engineers say some things can only be discovered on the road.

“You’re looking for gaps between systems,” said Berardi, a Senior Validation Engineer in the Cummins Engine Business. “It’s like playing chess on a three-dimensional board.”

Cummins Engineer Trent Berardi (center, with laptop), talks to X12 team members during a stop in central Utah (U.S.A.) earlier this year.
Cummins engineer Trent Berardi (center, with laptop), talks to X12 team members during a stop in central Utah (U.S.A.) earlier this year.

LONG DAYS, SHORT NIGHTS, EXTREME TEMPERATURES

Validation testing takes place not only at Cummins facilities in the U.S., but in China, India, the U.K. and elsewhere. U.S.-based teams have traveled as far as Fairbanks, Alaska, and Death Valley, California, to find the ideal combination of temperature and grade.

In the U.S., trips can include 8 to 10 vehicles, counting support vehicles, and as many as two-dozen engineers, some flying in to observe just part of the testing.

Winter trips mean temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (- 40° Celsius). Summer trips can include daytime highs up to 120°F (49° Celsius). Elevation testing usually takes place at 10,000 to 12,000 feet (3,048 to 3,658 meters) above sea level.

A 17-hour day is pretty common and the most important hotel amenity is truck parking. Hotel parking lots are frequently used for emergency repairs.

Despite the challenging conditions, validation engineers say they love the trips.

“I think it’s the chance to really see how our products work,” said Jeffrey Friend, a Controls Performance Engineer based in Columbus who estimates he’s been on about 30 validation trips over 17 years with Cummins. “You’re out there with engineers who are experts in their field and there’s no phone calls, no meetings, you just focus on the product.”

The testing usually involves traversing steep grades, or going from zero to 60 miles-per-hour (97 kilometers-per-hour) as rapidly as possible – commonly referred to as “drag racing” by validation engineers.

The fun really begins, they say, when they “break something” – a catchall term that could involve just about anything limiting performance. Then the team has to figure out how to make improvements.

“That’s when you get a chance to find something you can improve on before our product gets in the hands of the customer,” said Beth Wendel, a Validation Group Leader in the Engine Business. “That can be very exhilarating.”

A validation team stops along the Alcan Highway near Haines Junction in the Canadian Yukon, where the record low temperature is 54 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.
A validation team stops along the Alcan Highway near Haines Junction in the Canadian Yukon, where the record low temperature is 54 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.

 

TALES FROM THE ROAD

After a 6-month college internship on an oil tanker crossing pirate-infested waters off the coast of West Africa, Chitresh Sharma rarely gets car sick even going up and down mountain roads looking at data on his laptop.

But the Senior Engineer in Product Validation at Cummins vividly remembers his time in a truck making run after run to test a Cummins engine in the desert outside Las Vegas, Nevada (U.S.A.). He asked the technician driving the truck they shared to turn off the air conditioning and roll up the windows to reduce drag as much as possible.

Sharma will soon be taking a new position in Cummins’ supply chain organization, but he says “I know I’ll miss this job, and I think I’ll end up missing these trips most of all.”

Friend recalls how one team he was with solved the lack of suitable restaurants in Death Valley by storing deli trays in a refrigerated truck they were testing, and during a break in the desert backing it up to another truck, creating a cool area to eat.

“Problem solving is really central to all aspects of these trips,” he said.

Perhaps no one has more stories about validation testing than Greg Sitzman, a Mechanical Engineering Associate based at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus. He estimates he’s been on 50 validation trips over 10 years with the company.

Sitzman has been to Alaska five times, Death Valley, International Falls, Minnesota, and many other locations. He’s driven the Alcan Highway dividing Canada and Alaska, and put chains on a test truck to keep it from sliding through the Rocky Mountains. Once he even made a repair near Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories parked on a frozen lake. That enabled him to easily slide under the truck.

But he says what he likes best about the trips is the camaraderie.

“To me, while I enjoy the challenges, what makes these trips special are the people,” Sitzman said. “They make it fun. They are just good people to be with.”

 

 

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]

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.

Meet Mukesh Oswal - Shop Operations Lead, Kothrud Engine Plant

I Am Manufacturing

Mukesh Oswal, Shop Operations Lead at Kothrud Engine Plant, has 15 years experience in Manufacturing. We recently sat down with Mukesh to ask about his career at Cummins. Here's what he had to say.

Role: Shop Operations Lead
Location: Kothrud Engine Plant (KEP), Pune, India, Power Systems Business Unit
Years of Service: 13 Years at Cummins, 15 Years in Manufacturing
Education: Bachelor's Degree in Production Engineering, North Maharashtra University, India; Master's Degree in Industrial Engineering, Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur, India; Post Graduate Executive Management Programme, S. P. Jain Business School, Mumbai, India.
Career Journey: Project Management (new plant setup), Industrial Engineer, Industrial Engineering Team Leader, Operation Excellence Leader, Head Manufacturing Engineering, Shop Operation Lead

Q: What attracted you to Manufacturing as a career choice?

“I have been inquisitive and a technology enthusiast since childhood. I had always envisioned my drawings and scribbles taking shape and form. During my Engineering Degree course, it was a dream come true when in summer training I got an opportunity to witness and work for two weeks with an engine component manufacturing setup. This was the birth of my association with manufacturing.

“My desire to learn and apply more forced me to complete my master’s degree in Industrial Engineering where, again, I got an opportunity to be associated with Cummins. It is here that I realized manufacturing is more than just assembling the different parts together – it meant following processes, understanding material flows, layouts and synchronization, the machines, their efficiencies and their limitations all put together in the hands of skilled and knowledgeable operators who put their heart and soul into producing engineering splendors!

“I had found my passion and love in manufacturing. This passion still drives me to innovate and fuels my innate desire to discover more new things in manufacturing.”

Q: Is Manufacturing at Cummins exciting for you? If so, why?

“Yes, the manufacturing space at Cummins is very exciting for me. Each day it brings different, unpredictable challenges, which keeps me active and engaged. At the end of the day, when I look over my daily engagement and involvement, it generates a lot of satisfaction for me. This adds confidence for making the next day even better.

Manufacturing also provides me with an excellent opportunity to demonstrate and hone on my leadership skills, like meeting customers and their expectations while ensuring business deliverables, developing mid-term and long-term strategies, challenging capabilities of cross-functional teams and aligning complex teams toward a common and shared objective.

“I see the company is continuously investing in leadership development within manufacturing. For example, I was selected among many nominations in India ABO for a reach training course named Visionary Leaders for Manufacturing (VLFM) program, conducted jointly by Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).”
 
Q: There are many misconceptions or ideas about what it’s like to work in a plant. What is the plant environment like for you? 

“Sometimes I hear that people feel the plant environment is not very opulent for growth. My views are quite opposite to this due to what I have witnessed in my last 15 years of association with manufacturing plants and teams. Opportunities and avenues for growth in Manufacturing are available in abundance. All it takes is sheer hard work, persistence and a little faith. Just don’t get distracted by the diversions available; there are ample growth opportunities for those to thrive to stay in manufacturing.” 

Q: What advice would you give to someone either in school or just out of school who is wanting to get into manufacturing today?

"Manufacturing is an excellent space in which to start your career, especially for someone who is willing to apply school/college learnings to applications quickly. It provides you with ample ground to innovative new ideas and improvise old ones. The diverse manufacturing spectrum at Cummins provides one with a conducive learning environment for beginners having different skill sets.
 

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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