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, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Wafa: A Real Go-Getter

Wafa blog

Often people will talk about “go-getters” but what does that really look like? Cummins Inc.'s Wafa is an image of a “go-getter,” as she joined Cummins by literally knocking on doors to start her career after graduation, leading her to Cummins’ North Africa Regional Office to hand deliver her resume. Wafa was going to the building to apply for a position with another company, but the Cummins HR Manager thought she may be the perfect fit for a Technical Engineering role on the company’s Regional Power Generation Sales Team and called her for an interview the following week.

Wafa credits her strength, focus and determination to her mother, as she watched how her mother took over the full responsibility of raising and supporting three children after her father passed away when she was only nine years old.

“My career journey has been exciting, and it’s all been within Cummins,” said Wafa.

This company gives employees the opportunity to move between roles and business segments, to challenge themselves, to learn and grow."

"I occupied different roles with Cummins, from engines to generator sets, from Africa to the Middle East, and from sales to supportive functions, and currently, I am the Sales Operations Leader for the AME region. In my role, my ultimate objective is to improve the sales team capability through tools, processes, training, coaching and best practices.” 

Wafa states she is fascinated by nature, travel and cultures, and working with Cummins has given her a great opportunity to meet several nationalities and cultures. “Such unbelievable diversity teaches me every day about others, how to eliminate unconscious bias and how to accept differences,” added Wafa. “What I really like about my company is ‘being a woman could never be a barrier to your success.’  On the opposite, Cummins is always supporting women to shine and grow. It’s empowering you to reach your momentum.”

Wafa states at this stage, her focus in her professional life is to take the sales team to their best level and to give them all the necessary support they need for success. 

In her personal life, she makes time to enjoy every moment with her husband, Amine, and their 10-month-old son Adam; additionally, she enjoys pastry and cake design and volunteering.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Digital Product Manager, Antonio, paves the way for Talent Development at Cummins

employee spotlight

Antonio once heard the story of John F. Kennedy’s tour of NASA headquarters in 1962; during his visit, JFK encountered a janitor carrying a broom down the hallway. The President then casually asked the janitor what he did for NASA, and the janitor replied, “Mr. President, I'm helping put a man on the moon.”

In his daily work as a Digital Product Manager for the Engine Business Unit at Cummins, this story speaks to Antonio, who understands how everyone contributes to the company’s strategic goals.

“We tend to focus on the trees and lose sight of the forest,” he says. “I am lucky that my job allows me to see the forest and connect my work to bigger goals.”

Antonio — who has been with Cummins for 14 years — spends his days solving problems that align with company initiatives and goals. 

“We identify a business need or opportunity, create a case, and then build a digital product with a clear roadmap,” he says. “It’s like going onto Shark Tank (the show). We do a market discovery, present our findings, and if it gets approved, we get the resources to develop the solution. Every day is like playing in a sandbox. We get our different tools out and say, here’s a problem; let’s solve it.” 

Antonio loves how collaborative, creative, and agile his team is. He attributes that creative energy to the variety of perspectives and functions of his team members. 

One of his business cases in the early stages of market discovery involves a government program to support school districts transitioning their bus fleets from diesel-based vehicles to electric. School districts and private fleet operators have committed to converting 10,000 diesel school buses to electric over the next five years, which would have a major impact on addressing climate change.

His team is trying to build a digital product to create the best user experience for the end users — the school districts. They do this by asking questions like:

  • What problem are we trying to solve? For whom? And why is important?
  • What are the challenges, needs, and pain points for the different types of user personas?
  • What kind of analytics do school districts need to support their decision-making?

His team makes sure that the Cummins product satisfies those needs.

In addition to accomplishing company goals, Antonio connects his work to personal goals, which are tied to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives. Antonio leads the Talent Development Committee for GOAL, the Latino employee resource group (ERG) at Cummins. He also attends Great Minds in STEM and the Society of Women Engineers conferences every year to scout talent for Cummins. He credits the Cummins culture of embracing diverse opinions, perspectives, and backgrounds for what makes it competitive for job seekers and a great workplace.

When scouting talents, Antonio sees himself in many young Latino applicants.

“Latinos are not well represented in technology,” he says. “The national average of Hispanic/Latinos in the tech industry in the US is 8%. At Cummins, we are working hard to get to that number. It’s rewarding to be part of the change.”

One of the reasons he loves scouting talent at conferences is because it allows him to talk to and learn from young people. “I listen and find out what motivates them. What are their interests? I try to bring that information back to Cummins and say, hey, this is what we need to do to continue attracting this kind of talent.”

I aspire to be a leader with a big platform to support the people joining Cummins after me,"

he says. Some of the programs he and his Talent Development Committee team are working on include:

  • Mentorship Program
    • This is Antonio’s baby. It has grown 100% in the last two years into 66 mentor-mentee one-on-one relationships. “That’s 132 people from 15 different states in the US, plus Colombia, Mexico, India, and the UK. Mentors and mentees meet on a regular basis,” he says. He points to the pandemic as a catalyst for this growth since it allowed colleagues to meet virtually and communicate with people whom they might not have been able to otherwise because of distance.
  • Lunch-and-Learns
    • GOAL members are surveyed on topics they’d like to learn more about, and senior leaders are invited to talk about the topic during lunch. The most recent lunch-and-learn covered the best practices to build a personal brand.
  • Speed Networking 
    • These meetings are designed for junior professionals to meet and talk to Cummins leaders for 30 minutes. Antonio’s team coaches the juniors on how to make the most of the meeting in such a short timeframe.
  • Individual Development Plan (IDP) Workshops
    • Workshops are organized to help employees write a career statement, define objectives, and create a self-development plan.
  • Talent Development Program
    • This program tries to find a six-month project in the area of interest for employees who want to gain visibility, develop new skills, or change career functions. A project sponsor works with the employee and Antonio’s team facilitates that engagement.

When asked what his biggest remaining goal is, Antonio thinks of others first. He says he’d like to use the skills he’s learned at Cummins leading programs to partner with companies and governments — specifically in Mexico, where he is from. He’d love to form and support programs for children from disadvantaged households in his home country.

“I would like to use my network and connections and create a team to teach kids how to code to solve problems,” he says. “And then I’d love to ask companies like Cummins if they would offer small summer projects to these kids and give them opportunities in a corporate environment to automate a process, build a portal, or something. That would be a way for me to give back to the community and to society.”

By mentoring young professionals, Antonio is planting seeds for a future forest of strong, minority leaders.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Together we can be the dream

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Let’s all join forces to honor and further Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a better future.

In the United States, the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., MLK Day is observed annually on the third Monday of January and is also known as a National Day of Service to strengthen communities. MLK Day is a defining moment each year when Americans across the country step up to make communities more equitable and take action to create the “Beloved Community” of Dr. King’s dream.

Today, we remember Dr. King’s resiliency and peaceful leadership in the fight against injustice and inequality. While he believed his dream of creating the Beloved Community was possible, he acknowledged and fought for systematic change. His example is our call to action.

Former Chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc., J. Irwin Miller was an early and passionate advocate for diversity and took pride in recognizing that call to action. While also leading Cummins, Miller served as the first lay president of the National Council of Churches from 1960 to 1963. Under his leadership, the Council undertook several risky, especially at that point in history, civil rights initiatives and co-sponsored Dr. King's historic 1963 March on Washington. During Miller’s tenure, Cummins established six key corporate values: Corporate Responsibility, Integrity, Innovation, Delivering Superior Results, and, a true testament to what Cummins stands for today, Global Involvement and Diversity.

Together, we can strengthen ties to our communities and one another while we address critical issues that divide us. “The time is always right to do what is right,” a famous quote from Dr. King’s address in Washington.

To honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we pause to reflect on his life, legacy and innumerable lessons. We invite you to read and reflect on the piece below that was written and performed by Immanuel Umoren. 

MLK day video
Click to view video

If it is true that we are our ancestors’ wildest dreams come to life, then, in the boardrooms, on our teams and in our communities, we are the manifestation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream.

We are the torchbearers, who continue working towards a world with more justice and more equity. Not only for ourselves, but for all people everywhere; because our destinies are interwoven in the shared tapestry of our humanity. 

This is generational work, for generations present and those yet to be born. 

In this moment when division feels rampant, join us to remind the world that our differences make us stronger and that we go farther together. Join us to foster a culture that remains committed to giving everyone a fair chance to succeed. Join us to continue serving our communities.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream; we, have a mission.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity establishes and builds a STEM foundation for youth on National STEM Day

Complete lego engine build in Atlanta

Some of the most in-demand, highest paying and fastest growing careers are in the STEM fields, however, according to the National Science Board, fewer than 50% of minorities are in the STEM labor force. 

As a global power technology leader, Cummins Inc. is working to increase the exposure of STEM careers to minorities and women across the world through various programs and initiatives. In fact, through the CARE initiative, the company held a special STEM activity at multiple sites in the U.S. during the month of November to celebrate National STEM Day.

CARE sponsored Lego engine builds for local high school students in Atlanta and Detroit, and has STEM activities scheduled for students in other CARE cities in 2023. The participating youth built Cummins engines out of Lego bricks; for many, this was their first exposure to the world of science, technology, engineering and math.

“To celebrate National STEM Day we wanted to introduce and support students on their STEM journey in our targeted CARE communities,” said Delilah Morgan, Cummins Director of External Diversity Initiatives. “The data is clear; minorities are underrepresented in STEM fields, and we know a large reason is lack of exposure to STEM careers. A core value of Cummins is diversity and inclusion, and our company believes our diversity of thought helps position us as a global technology leader. We believe investing in our youth today is a direct deposit into the planet’s future.” 

The international comparisons fueled discussion of U.S. education and workforce needs. The bipartisan congressional STEM Education Caucus noted: “Our knowledge-based economy is driven by constant innovation. The foundation of innovation lies in a dynamic, motivated and well-educated workforce equipped with STEM skills.”

National STEM Day began as a result of studies in the early 2000s revealed U.S. students were not achieving in the STEM disciplines at the same rates as students in other countries. The report predicted dire consequences if the U.S. could not compete in the global economy due to a poorly prepared workforce. Thus, educators focused on science, math, and technology research, on economic policy and on education. U.S. prosperity seemed to depend on it.

Growth in America’s STEM jobs in the first decade of the 21st century tripled the rate of growth in non-STEM jobs. However, racial and gender gaps remained a problem. Employers continue to struggle with the need for qualified STEM workers. 

James Wide - Cummins Inc

James Wide

James Wide is a copywriter and copy editor on the External Communications team at Cummins Inc. He joined the company in 2018. 

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