Cummins Takes Next Step in 3D Printing and the Future of Manufacturing

Cummins employee Devin Hunter cleans one of the company’s 3D printers at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus, Indiana, before another round of printing. Metal 3D printers could revolutionize manufacturing.
Cummins employee Devin Hunter cleans one of the company’s 3D printers at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus, Indiana, before another round of printing. Metal 3D printers could revolutionize manufacturing.

Cummins has sold its first metal part printed on one of its own 3D printers, moving the company a significant step closer to the exciting potential of additive manufacturing.

The part was a low-volume bracket for a customer in Cummins’ New and ReCon Parts division and did not have a current supplier. The company is focusing first on printing low-volume parts as it studies how best to use 3D technology in higher volume manufacturing.

“With this technology you can really unshackle the designer to do things you just can’t do using traditional forms of manufacturing,” said Brett Boas, Director-Advanced Manufacturing at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.). 

Parts can be made lighter, stronger and more effective using metal 3D printing compared to parts created using more traditional methods that employ molds, molten metal and equipment to precisely cut and shape the part.

3D printed part
The 3D printer technology that produced this metal part could have a major impact on manufacturing in the future.

3D printing creates three-dimensional objects one ultra-thin layer at a time. If the part doesn’t come out quite right, the designer can simply change the computer design file and print it again; a much faster process than using traditional manufacturing techniques to build a test part.

Finally, the technology enables designers to combine multiple parts into one printed object, creating the ideal geometry to avoid potential failures at weldments, gaskets and joint assemblies needed using traditional manufacturing methods.

THE BEGINNING OF A REVOLUTION?

Cummins’ two-pronged strategy for additive manufacturing is part of the company’s take on Industry 4.0, the trend of automation, cloud computing and data driven technology that some call the fourth industrial revolution.  

At Cummins, Industry 4.0 includes everything from collaborative robots to artificial intelligence, augmented reality and the enhanced integration between information technologies and manufacturing operations. 

The company currently has a metal 3D printer at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus and three printers at the company’s technical center devoted to aftermarket products in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Cummins’ operations in San Luis Potosi include a large remanufacturing plant. 

Remanufactured engines and parts provide customers with a low-cost option compared to new parts and engines to meet their power needs. They also require far less energy to produce than new parts while keeping products in use and out of landfills.

The tech center at San Luis Potosi only opened in 2017 and the company has already built an addition for the printers. Cummins plans to print parts there that no longer have a supplier or are made on an extremely limited basis. 

“This provides an avenue for customers looking for hard-to-find parts,” said Kelly R. Schmitz, Executive Director of New and ReCon Parts Engineering, speaking from San Luis Potosi where he was inspecting the installation of the latest printer.  He said metal 3D printing will potentially shave months off the process for customers to get low volume parts.

 “The work we are doing in San Luis Potosi will also provide significant learnings as we prepare to leverage metal 3D printing in high volume production,” Schmitz said.

LOOKING AHEAD

Boas is looking at how the printers could work in high-volume settings. He says that will likely mean investing in the next generation of printers. Binder jet printers use an adhesive between powder layers, which can increase printing speed 20 times or more over the printers the company currently owns.

Cummins engineer leading 3d printing initative
Dr. Adeola “Addy” Olubamiji is Cummins first engineer hired for a full-time position in metal additive manufacturing development. She is based at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus.

It’s that next generation of technology that could make a seismic change in manufacturing. From a supply chain perspective, it means parts are printed on demand, or closer to demand, so fewer parts would need to be stored for use at manufacturing plants.

From an environmental perspective, additive manufacturing also means less waste because the cutting required as part of the tool and die process is eliminated. And it could mean fewer resources used for transportation because parts are no longer made in one location and shipped to another.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, metal 3D printing enables geometry not possible with traditional methods, creating opportunities to improve product performance. 

It becomes significantly easier, for example, to design in weight where it’s needed and take weight out where it’s not, said Dr. Adeola “Addy” Olubamiji, Cummins’ first engineer hired for a full-time position in metal additive manufacturing development. It also means potentially bypassing those connecting parts unavoidable using traditional manufacturing techniques.

When might 3D technology come to high volume manufacturing?

“It’s coming faster than many of us might believe,” Boas said. “I’m thinking as soon as five years. We are at the start of a really interesting time in manufacturing.”

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]

 

When innovation meets awards season

Cummins PowerCommand X-Series Transfer Switch

Transfer Switches are this year’s nomination for the 2021 CSE Product of the Year Award! 

With increased grid instability, and power outages due to natural disasters and inclement weather - the need for reliable power system equipment is crucial from small business and light commercial to mission-critical and life-saving applications. In response, Cummins Power Generation has designed a series of game-changing transfer switches: The PowerCommand® X-Series Transfer Switches. 

With market-leading innovation, the PowerCommand® X-Series Transfer Switches have been nominated for the prestigious Consulting Specifying Engineer (CSE) 2021 Product of the Year Award! 

HEM blowout

Pulling from over 80 years of experience in designing transfer switches and more than 100 years of providing power generation solutions globally - the revolutionary Cummins PowerCommand® X-Series Transfer Switches are engineered to survive exceedingly high fault currents at levels that could potentially blow out or damage other transfer switches. Rated from 40A – 3000A, the X-Series Transfer Switches meet the highest UL-certified withstand and closing rate in the market, allowing for an enhanced performance that is achieved utilizing the patented blow-on technology only available from Cummins. The superior ratings provide the freedom to use any over-current protection device to protect the transfer switch: eliminating many challenges associated with selective coordination of the system. 

“We are thrilled the PowerCommand® X-Series has been nominated as a 2021 CSE Product of the Year finalist! Featuring advanced controls with modern communications and a best-in-class switching mechanism, the X-Series provides the highest withstand and closing rating on the market.  With such robust features and functionalities, this product has been designed and tested to be the strongest link between utility and standby power for the most critical of applications,” said Wissam Balshe, System and Controls Business Director of Cummins Power Generation, discussing the team’s response about their CSE 2021 Product of the Year Nomination

In addition, the X-Series features the fully integrated PowerCommand® 80 controller allowing for unrivaled adaptability, connectivity, and intelligence in a wide variety of applications.

The team behind the acclaimed PowerCommand® X-Series transfer switches listened to over 1,000 consulting engineers to design the most intelligent, durable and fastest transfer switches in the market. 

Learn about the X-Series transfer switches

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 joins call for congressional action protecting Dreamers

Cummins has been a vocal advocate for a path to citizenship for Dreamers.
Cummins has been a vocal advocate for a path to citizenship for Dreamers.

Cummins Inc. joined more than 90 other companies, associations and various other organizations in signing a letter in today’s New York Times urging a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.

The letter to President Biden and congressional leaders follows a recent U.S. District Court ruling that found the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was unlawful. The decision left thousands of immigrants widely known as Dreamers facing at best an uncertain future, including potential impediments to finding and retaining work.

“We strongly urge Congress to pass legislation to provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers,” states the letter in The Times. “Securing a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers not only is the right thing to do but is a huge economic benefit to the United States.”

DIVERSE GROUP IN SUPPORT

Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger signed the letter along with leaders from a diverse group of companies and oganizations, including Apple, Amazon, Eli Lilly, Facebook, Google, IBM, IKEA  and Salesforce, as well as the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the National Young Farmers Coalition, the Texas Restaurant Association and Northwestern University.

“Dreamers add billions of dollars to our GDP; they are employees who fill key roles at our companies; they pay federal, state, and local taxes; they work with us, start their own small businesses, teach our children in school, and serve in our military,” the letter says. “About half of all Dreamers are essential workers who have been serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.”

This is not the first time Cummins leaders have spoken out in support of Dreamers. Linebarger called for action to protect Dreamers in an opinion article for The Indianapolis Star in February.

“They are Americans,” Linebarger said in the piece. “They’ve grown up here, attended school and are significant contributors to our economy and society; some have even served our country in the military. Let’s remove fear and uncertainty and put them on a path to citizenship.”

FOCUS ON CONGRESS

Biden renewed his call for action on behalf of Dreamers after the July 16 court decision.

“Yesterday’s Federal court ruling is deeply disappointing,” Biden said in a statement July 17. “While the court’s order does not now affect current DACA recipients, this decision nonetheless relegates hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to an uncertain future. The Department of Justice intends to appeal this decision in order to preserve and fortify DACA.

“…But only Congress can ensure a permanent solution by granting a path to citizenship for Dreamers that will provide the certainty and stability that these young people need and deserve.”
 

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]

 

Cummins Inc. reaches COVID-19 vaccination milestone with mobile on-site clinics

COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to loosen up in different parts of the world, as more people are becoming fully vaccinated. Cummins began offering COVID-19 vaccines for its workforce and their dependents through mobile on-site clinics on April 1.

The first mobile on-site clinic and vaccination was in Columbus, Indiana; now in just three months the company has administered its 15,000th COVID-19 vaccination, and it was at an on-site clinic in India.

“As we celebrate this milestone, we know there are many more waiting to be vaccinated, but are not able to, or do not have access,” said Bob Chestnut, Cummins Chief Medical Director. “We continue to work with local governments and health care providers around the globe to help make approved vaccines available to our employees, contingent workers and their eligible dependents.” 

To date, Cummins has hosted clinics in the following U.S. communities: Columbus, Indiana; Seymour, Indiana; Rocky Mount, North Carolina; Cookeville, Tennessee; Memphis, Tennessee; Jamestown, New York; Fridley, Minnesota; and Mineral Point, Wisconsin. The company has also hosted clinics in China, Mexico and India. 

Although the mobile vaccinations are continuing, Dr. Chestnut encourages Cummins employees to take advantage of vaccination opportunities in their local communities, and not wait for a mobile on-site clinic. 
 

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. 

Cummins Inc. continues mobile vaccination clinic roll-out

Nicole Wheeldon receives COVID-19 vaccine at Columbus MidRange Engine Plant

Standing firm on its value of caring, Cummins’ goal is to get as many of its workforce and their dependents vaccinated and protected from COVID-19 as possible. The company continues working with local governments and health care providers to make approved vaccines available to all employees, contingent workers, and their eligible dependents.

The company has now had mobile on-site clinics in Columbus, Indiana; Seymour, Indiana; Rocky Mount, North Carolina; Cookeville, Tennessee; Memphis, Tennessee; Jamestown, New York; Fridley, Minnesota; Mineral Point, Wisconsin; China, India, and Mexico. Registration for additional Cummins U.S. and global on-site clinics will be announced to employees internally, as the company works with the local governments to procure vaccinations. 

“The health and safety of our employees and our communities are a top priority, and we see the vaccine as a critical piece in our efforts to resume some of the ways in which we traditionally worked and lived, and studies show vaccination can be extremely effective in improving the health and safety of communities,” said Bob Chestnut, Cummins Chief Medical Director. 

As an immediate response to the pandemic, the company developed a COVID-19 Safe Work Playbook, which allowed its essential workforce to continue to work safely on-site. The development of safe COVID-19 vaccinations allowed Cummins to create mobile clinics to help remove barriers to vaccine access to employees worldwide, while progressing the company’s plan for a safe return to on-site work for all employees.
 

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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