High Tech is Getting the Cummins Diesel Special Back to Indianapolis

The Cummins Diesel Special’s triumphant return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway started with a successful 2017 appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England.
The Cummins Diesel Special’s triumphant return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway started with a successful 2017 appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England.

The No. 28 Cummins Diesel Special was the technology wonder of its day. More than six decades later, high technology is helping get the record-setting race car back on the track that made it famous.

Cummins engineers, using 3D printing and computerized tomography scanning, created a new water pump for the car, which will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this month after setting a one-lap track record of 139 miles per hour in qualifying for the pole position in the 1952 race. 

“Without 3D printing, we would not have gotten this project done in the time frame that we had to do it,” said John Rupp, Advanced Manufacturing Technical Advisor at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.). 

BUILDING A FASTER RACE CAR

To commemorate Cummins’ 100th anniversary, the 2019 Indianapolis 500 will include a parade lap featuring the five company-engineered cars that participated in previous races, the first in 1931 and the last, the No. 28 car, in 1952.

The Cummins Diesel Special in its heyday.
The Cummins Diesel Special in its heyday.

Cummins’ founder Clessie Cummins occasionally used the 500 to demonstrate and promote the virtues of his company’s engines. By 1952, he had left the company, but the goal was essentially the same.

Taking advantage of rules allowing for larger diesel engines, a crew of Cummins’ engineers and technicians used a modified truck engine in the No. 28 car, with the first turbocharger ever used at the track. Some parts were milled from aluminum or magnesium to reduce weight. The team used a wind-tunnel to design a more aerodynamic car body.

An air of secrecy surrounded the effort in the days before the 1952 race and many interpreted that silence to mean the car was a flop. Imagine the surprise when the Cummins Diesel Special captured the pole with a four-lap average of 138 miles per hour, and set the single lap record. It would complete 70 laps (175 miles) in the race that year before retiring with a clogged turbocharger caused by rubber debris on the track.

MAKING OLD NEW AGAIN

Scan of old pump
The darker areas of this scan of the old water pump on the Cummins Diesel Special show where it was badly eroding.

Over the years, some parts on the No. 28 car didn’t age particularly well, according to Greg Haines, an Off-Highway Design & Development Leader at the company and a member of the Cummins History & Restoration Team. The team worked to get the Cummins cars running again for the anniversary.

The water pump, one of the custom parts made of magnesium to reduce weight, was especially concerning. Haines said it was pitted all the way through in one place and very thin in others. To make matters more challenging, no plans for the pump could be found to make a replacement.

It was around this time that the Cummins Diesel Special was invited to participate in the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed, which describes itself as “motorsport's ultimate summer garden party.” The hill-climb in West Sussex, England, features modern and historic racing vehicles, and draws big crowds of devoted fans. The Cummins Diesel Special participated in the event in the late 1990s but sat for many years after. It would never make it without a new pump. Suddenly the clock was ticking again for No. 28.

The old water pump and the new water pump.
The new part (below, left) for the Cummins Diesel Special took just days to print, replacing the old part (above, right).

There wasn’t time to make a new part using traditional sand casting methods, so the Cummins team turned to 3D printing. The company had been studying the technology for use in manufacturing for several years, Rupp said, but it had not yet purchased any printers capable of creating metal objects one ultra-thin layer at a time.

Building a new pump was a great chance to tackle a problem facing the company when it comes to aftermarket parts for older engine models.

“A real problem we face in the aftermarket space is finding a supplier willing to manufacture a 40-year-old design that was once a high-volume part to fill an order for two or three parts economically,” said Brett Boas, Director of Advanced Manufacturing at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus. “The tooling to make the casting just no longer exists. Additive technology solves this problem.”

Cummins worked with 3rd Dimension Industrial 3D, an additive manufacturing company in Indianapolis. The old pump was scanned to “reverse engineer” its unique features and create a digital file for the 3D printer to use.

In less than a week, the new part was printed and ready to go and No. 28 was off to Goodwood.

A RARE FIND IN THE BASEMENT

The History & Restoration Team is using the same techniques to restore a rare Model F diesel engine found in the basement of the Cummins’ Corporate Office Building, partially disassembled and missing parts. Considerably older than the Cummins Diesel Special, the Model F engine was produced from 1924 to 1931 to power lighthouses, industrial shovels and other uses. 

Cummins engineers are reverse engineering any missing parts and using 3D printing. They hope to have the engine running by the company’s anniversary celebration in June.

“The 3D scanning, reverse engineering, and advanced manufacturing technology that are available today are helping to make these projects possible,” Haines said. “This is an excellent example of using modern technology to restore our historic artifacts.”

Watch: The No. 28 Cummins Diesel Special run a test lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (April 2019)

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. 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. 

I spy: A Cummins-powered scavenger hunt at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Cummins powered applications at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Cumnins is everywhere: If you find yourself at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, keep your eyes open for some of these Cummins-powered applications.

In terms of sheer size, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - commonly abbreviated and affectionately known to race fans and locals as simply "IMS" - is massive. 

How massive? 

We’re talking massive enough that Churchill Downs, the Roman Colosseum, Vatican City, Liberty Island and the White House can simultaneously fit comfortably within the famed racetrack’s 253-acre infield. 

Don’t believe us? That’s okay, because Snopes – the internet’s favorite arbiter of all things true or not – has our back on this one

As the largest sports venue in the world, a trip to IMS is akin to visiting a city within a city. And because the track's size makes its infrastructure a microcosm of...well, simply insert the name of your town here...there are few vehicle types or other applications requiring either a primary or auxiliary power source that you won't find while visiting the grounds of the famed 2.5-mile oval. 

Going on a Cummins-powered scavenger hunt

Whether they're within plain sight or not, in the real world Cummins-powered applications - from data centers to trains (and everything in-between) - are everywhere.

The same can be said for just about any trip you and your family make to IMS. Whether you're attending the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400 or any of the track's countless annual events and activities, you'll likely find yourself surrounded by Cummins technology. 

Spotting a Cummins-powered application at IMS is easy once you know what you're looking for. So to give you a bit of an assist - or a "boost" if we're using racing terms - we've compiled a list of Cummins-powered vehicles and other applications you might come across while roaming the grounds of the world's most famous racetrack. 

Cummins at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Infographic
The next time you're at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, see how many Cummins-powered applications you and your family can spot while visiting the world's largest sporting venue. Click the image to open a hi-res version in a new window or tab. 

 

Cummins-powered RAM pickup truck

Fans that have attended any number of IMS’ signature racing events throughout the track’s 100-plus year history know there are few traditions that can top the thrill and excitement of enjoying a race from its massive infield. 

On race day, it can appear that there are just as many cars and trucks parked in the infield as there are fans sitting atop IMS’ famous viewing mounds. Keep your eyes peeled as you scan the infield, because you’re sure to spot a Cummins-powered RAM or two parked somewhere in that sea of racing fandom. 

Cummins and RAM have a history that has lasted for more than three decades. In 2019, the two companies celebrated a 30-year partnership that first started with the Cummins 5.9L Turbo Diesel in model year 1989. 

Know where to look: Turn your attention towards the infield near turn 3. Bonus points if you spot fans watching the race from the bed of their Cummins-powered RAM as race cars whiz past them at speeds in excess of 230 mph. 

Class A motorhome

There are few forms of travel as luxurious as your typical Class A motorhome. Take your house, put wheels on it…and voila! You get the idea. 

Perhaps that’s why Class A motorhomes are often the primary mode of transportation and temporary residence of choice for most major touring musicians and race car drivers. After all, a life on the road can be grueling, and a Class A motorhome gives you that sense of “home away from home.” 

If you happen to be at IMS during one of its signature races, or even attending one of the many concerts the facility hosts through the year, you don’t have to search hard to find a Class A motorhome that’s powered by Cummins. 

Pro tip: During race weekends, take a trip towards IMS’ famed “Gasoline Alley” and you’ll likely see row after row of Class A motorhomes powered by Cummins engines and generators

Race team hauler

We covered this extensively in a previous article, but many race teams count on Cummins to power the team haulers that are so crucial to helping them transport their equipment – cars included – to and from the racetrack. 

Cummins - Class 8 Semi Truck - IMS scavenger hunt
Class 8 heavy duty trucks, not unlike those pictured here, are a common site at most race tracks, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

Hauler drivers are typically the first to arrive at the track and often the last to leave. Some even say they have the toughest job on the race circuit. That’s a point we certainly won’t argue, as the team haulers for Stewart-Haas Racing are usually on the road for more than 220 days a year, each covering about 70,000 miles annually. 

Merchandise trucks and trailers

No visit to your favorite racetrack is complete without a stop at one of the merchandise trucks and trailers located throughout the facility on race weekends. 

Often located both inside and outside of the main track, the next time you stop at the merch truck of your favorite driver or team ask yourself, “could this merch truck be powered by Cummins?” 

Speaking of race merch, have you purchased your Cummins race gear yet?

Sorry, we couldn't resist. 

Fire truck

You're bound to spot a firefighter or first responder sitting at the ready by their Cummins-powered vehicle at just about any major event held at IMS. 

The current population of Speedway, Indiana – the official home of IMS – is approximately 13,000 residents. With the town’s population increasing by approximately 400,000 people during the month of May, first responders play an important role by keeping spectators and drivers safe. Cummins is proud to have earned their trust over the course of our 101-plus year history.  

Cummins Inc - Cummins-powered fire truck
Fire trucks and other vehicles serving emergency first responders are frequently powered by Cummins.

Fact: More firefighting and EMS professionals depend on Cummins than any other clean diesel engine

Food truck

Foodies of the world, rejoice! The next time you sink your teeth into a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich or enjoy a sip of a refreshing lemon shakeup, the food truck you’re standing in front might be powered by a Cummins commercial mobile generator

IMS is almost as famous for its plethora of race-day food options as it is a certain race it hosts the last Sunday in May. Okay, perhaps that's a bit hyperbolic, but the world of food trucks is expansive and no trip to IMS is complete without grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many trucks that take up shop both inside and outside the track on race weekends. 

Corn dog, anyone? 

Recreational Vehicle (RV)

Is there a tradition as well-known and beloved to your average sports fan as tailgating? 

As the "Racing Capital of the World," the Indianapolis Motor Speedway attracts fans from all corners. With the record growth of the RV industry in recent years, it’s little surprise that IMS has found a way to cater to, and indeed embrace, visitors who enjoy tailgating from the comfort of their RV.   

Cummins and Onan have a rich history providing reliable stationary and mobile power around the world, including engines and generators for RVs. If you find yourself at IMS on race day, direct your attention to the parking lots surrounding the track. We bet you’ll see dozens of RVs equipped with Cummins power.  

Portable generator

Portable generators are small, convenient and designed to go wherever you do. In other words, they’re the perfect source of power for camping, tailgating and outdoor events. They’re also popular with motorsports teams and operators of food trucks. That's what we call versatility! 

Cummins offers three different portable generator models, each perfect for a day at the track depending on your power needs.

If you want to potentially spot a Cummins portable generator at IMS, just listen to your ears and follow the music. 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Pagoda

No trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is complete without stopping for a photo-op in front of the track’s famed Pagoda. 

There have been several different Pagoda’s throughout the track’s 112-year history, each iconic and revered in their own right. The current Pagoda was built between 1998-2000, replacing the previous Pagoda that stood in its spot since 1957. 

Cummins Diesel Special - Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The No. 28 Cummins Diesel Special, which qualified for the pole position at the 1952 Indianapolis 500, sits near the famed Yard of Bricks. Pictured in the background is the base of IMS' Pagoda. 

Today, Cummins provides the primary source of backup power to the structure that towers approximately 153 feet – ground to roof – over the track’s famed Yard of Bricks.

When in Rome: After taking your photo in front of the Pagoda, don't forget to kiss those bricks! We promise you won't get in trouble. 

Racing Forward - For A World That's Always On

So the next time you and your family find yourselves "oohing and aahing" at the history and sheer magnitude of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, take yourselves on a scavenger hunt by seeing how many of the above Cummins-powered applications you can spot.

Once you know what to look for, you'll start noticing Cummins technology just about everywhere. 

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Michael Nagel - Cummins Inc

Michael Nagel

Michael Nagel is the Leader, Digital Brand Reputation for Cummins Inc. As a member of the external communications team at Cummins, he has more than 10 years of digital communications and traditional public relations experience, with a focus on brand social media, content marketing and digital communications. Michael earned his B.A. from the Indiana University School of Journalism - Indianapolis and currently resides in Indianapolis. 

Cummins hosts mobile on-site COVID-19 vaccine clinics at U.S. facilities

Mobile Vaccination Clinic Entrance

When Cummins Inc. announced they were offering free COVID-19 vaccines for employees, contingent workers, and their dependents; reservations began to immediately fill up. 

Cummins began vaccinating its workforce and their dependents on April 1 in Columbus, Indiana. The company partnered with the state’s health department and local health care provider, Premise Health to ensure there was enough vaccine and medical professionals to handle the demand. 

The mobile clinics are to remove barriers to COVID-19 vaccine access to employees worldwide, by collaborating with officials globally to provide employees with access to the vaccines. The company states removing barriers looks different geographically, due to the variability in vaccine accessibility and distribution. 

“We are excited to offer a convenient opportunity for vaccinations,” said Bob Chestnut, Cummins Chief Medical Director. “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.”

Although Cummins is hosting on-site clinics, Dr. Chestnut continues to encourage employees to not wait on the clinics to receive their vaccination. “Studies show vaccination can be extremely effective in improving the health and safety of communities, so we continue to encourage employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine when they become eligible in their area,” added Chestnut. 

Many employees expressed relief they were able to be vaccinated while at work. “This (on-site clinic) was great because I would have had to drive an hour away to get my vaccine,” said Devon Harden, Cummins Finance Associate.  

“The work we do, I understand the importance of being vaccinated and could not wait to get my shot,” said Nicole Wheeldon, Columbus MidRange Engine Plant Site Leader. “This (on-site clinic) could not have been more convenient, and I encourage all employees to take advantage of the on-site clinics.”

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. 

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. 

Ethisphere names Cummins to World’s Most Ethical Companies list

Cummins was named to the World's Most Ethical Companies list for a 14th consecutive year.
Cummins was named to the World's Most Ethical Companies list for a 14th consecutive year.

Cummins has been named to the Ethisphere Institute’s list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for a 14th consecutive year, joining 134 other companies spanning 22 countries and 47 industries on the 2021 list.

The institute is the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices that fuel corporate character, marketplace trust and business success. Ethisphere has deep expertise in measuring and defining core ethics standards using data-driven insights that help companies enhance corporate character and measure and improve culture.

“While addressing the tough challenges of 2020, we saw companies lead – above all other institutions – on earning the trust of stakeholders through resilience and a commitment to ethics and integrity,” said Ethisphere CEO Timothy Erblich. “The World’s Most Ethical Companies honorees continue to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to the highest values and positively impacting the communities they serve. Congratulations to everyone at Cummins for earning the World’s Most Ethical Companies designation.”

HOW THE LIST WORKS

The companies on the list participated in Ethisphere’s proprietary Ethics Quotient®, the World’s Most Ethical Companies assessment process, which included more than 200 questions on culture, environmental and social practices, ethics and compliance activities, governance, diversity and initiatives to support a strong value chain. The process serves as an operating framework to capture and codify the leading practices of organizations across industries and around the globe.

This year’s question set was expanded to gauge how applicants are adapting and responding to the global health pandemic, environmental, social, and governance factors, safety, equity, and inclusion and social justice.

Cummins was one of four companies honored in the "Automotive" category. Ethics have been an important part of company culture at Cummins from its founding in 1919 to its 100th anniversary in 2019 and on to today. Cummins employees worldwide are required to comply with the company’s Code of Business Conduct, built around 10 fundamental principles.

Cummins’ Ethics and Compliance function reinforces those principles through a host of online training courses ranging from anti-bribery to conflicts of interest and fair competition.

“At Cummins, (employees) are empowered and expected to do the right thing and to ask for help when the right thing is not so clear,” Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger said in the introduction to the Code of Business Conduct.

ANOTHER RECENT HONOR

The World’s Most Ethical Companies list was one of two recent honors the company received. Earlier this month, Cummins was recognized as one of America’s Best Large Employers of 2021. Forbes magazine worked with Statista, a leading provider of market and consumer data, on the ranking. Statista surveyed 38,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees.

The respondents were asked to rate, on a scale of zero to 10, how likely they’d be to recommend their employer to others. Statista then asked respondents to nominate organizations other than their own, as well as identify organizations they would not recommend to others.

Cummins finished No. 127 overall in the rating, which was led by hospitals and universities. In its category of  “Engineering, Manufacturing,” however, the company finished fifth behind only Brunswick, Trane Technologies, Sherwin-Williams and Owens-Illinois. 
 

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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