Clessie’s presence still felt 100 years after Cummins’ founding

 Michael Blanz (second from right) and his team gather around the lathe Clessie Cummins used to invent the Jake brake.
Michael Blanz (second from right) and his team gather around the lathe Clessie Cummins used to invent the Jake brake.

If Technical Advisor Michael Blanz ever needed any karmic confirmation he was headed down the right path, it came stepping off the elevator late last year at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.).

There, in the corner of the lobby of the Tech Center office building, amid the models of classic Cummins engines through the years, Blanz saw a small piece of equipment on a work bench that he hadn’t noticed before. The machine was just a little bit bigger than what you might see in a hobbyist’s home workshop today.

Company founder Clessie Cummins
Clessie Cummins

It was the lathe Cummins founder Clessie Cummins used at his California home to invent the engine compression brake, commonly known as the “Jake brake.” It has helped trucks safely traverse mountain roads for more than 50 years. 

“I walked over to check it out and I couldn’t believe it,” Blanz said of the lathe, which was on display in anticipation of the company’s 100th anniversary celebration this year. “For me and my team this was truly inspirational. I can’t tell you what an impact it had on us. “

HISTORIC INSPIRATION

Why did an old lathe mean so much to Blanz and his team? Sometimes an older innovation can inspire new ways of doing things.

While Blanz’ and his team’s project has nothing to do with slowing a vehicle down, it does use the same general concept of altering the engine’s exhaust valves to provide power for another purpose.

Clessie Cummins takes off on a barnstorming tour to promote Cummins
Clessie Cummins prepares to launch a barnstorming tour to promote the merits of the diesel engine.

Clessie Cummins, truly one of the great inventors of his time, used engine compression to slow the drivetrain so the vehicle would reduce speed without the driver having to put his or her foot on the brakes, thus preserving the brakes and avoiding a runaway truck. During his barnstorming days demonstrating the potential of the diesel engine across the United States, Cummins had personally experienced the terror of flying down a mountain road with little or no brakes.

Blanz and his team have been working to use a similar concept to prevent the degradation of the catalyst often used in diesel engines to remove pollutants from engine emissions that cause smog. 

The team calls its invention “CvC” (trademark pending), which stands for Clessie vs. Clessie. It essentially pits the founder’s pioneering work on diesel engine torque against his equally innovative break-throughs on engine compression to produce the heat necessary to protect the catalyst. Here’s how:    

A NEW TWIST

In today’s engines, the effectiveness of the catalyst can be diminished over time if the accumulated gunk isn’t burned out occasionally. If the gunk isn’t removed, the catalyst might have to be replaced, which is a very expensive repair for the engine owner.

The system developed by Blanz and his team obtains the heat necessary to regenerate the catalyst through engine compression. But instead of using the engine brake compression to slow a vehicle, the brake is engaged on only half the cylinders while the remaining cylinders are still fueling against the retarding load of the braking cylinders. The net result is a dramatic increase in exhaust heat, which the catalyst requires to remove the gunk.

Work on CvC is ongoing, but if all goes according to plan, the innovation should be especially helpful to the owners of off-highway engines solely using Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) to address emissions. The SCR process occurs when a liquid agent (urea) is injected into a special catalyst. The urea reacts with the engine’s exhaust inside the catalyst to reduce various regulated engine emissions.

Like Clessie Cummins, Blanz loves to innovate and he and his team are excited to continue working on CvC.  They are especially excited after what they see as encouraging sign from the company’s founder.


 

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 Continues Partnership with NSBE

Last summer, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Cummins Inc. teamed up to launch the Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) program in the Greater Twin Cities area of Minnesota. The program was a success, as the inaugural summer helped students realize significant gains in math and science when analyzing data from pre to post-test. The students' scores increased by 10% in mathematics, 4% in science and problem solving, and 30% in curriculum knowledge. 

This year, Cummins and NSBE continued the success in the Twin Cities, reaching more than 120 elementary school students for the 2019 SEEK program. During this summer's three-week program, the students learned about key engineering disciplines such as civil engineering by working on the gravity cruiser, computer science engineering through the lens of cybersecurity, and mechanical engineering by learning about the trebuchet. The students also learned more about the engineering process, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. 

Gravity cruiser prototypes created by students at SEEK
Gravity cruiser prototypes created by students at SEEK

The SEEK program is designed to expose the underrepresented populations to STEM and is a major cornerstone in NSBE's 10-year strategy. SEEK's goal is to increase primarily 3rd to 5th-grade students' aptitude in math and science subject matter, as well as their interest in pursuing STEM as a career by having them engage in interactive, team-based engineering projects and competitions. 

Twenty-one Cummins employees volunteered to serve as judges of the engineering competitions, contributing 110 hours to the program. On the last day of each week, students presented their engineering prototypes and showcased what they learned throughout that week. They competed before their peers, parents, and staff. Cummins volunteers judged each team in three categories - physical competition, prototype design, and oral presentation/quiz bowl, with the winner of each age group announced at the end of the week's ceremony. 

Cummins Executive Director of Worldwide Engineering (Power Systems) and SEEK sponsor for the Greater Twin Cities, Gary Johansen states, "We believe an effective pipeline engages students at an early age with STEM learning experiences and sets them on a trajectory to pursue a STEM-based career." Johansen added, "the SEEK program truly reflects our company's values, as well as builds the groundwork for the future potential for innovation in our local communities."

Lauren Cole

Lauren is the Global Employer Brand Digital Communications Specialist for Cummins Inc, where she focuses on social media, employer branding, and digital media. Lauren joined the company in early 2017 and has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Indiana University. She currently resides in Columbus, IN.

Employee Highlight - Keegan T.

Campbellfield

Meet Keegan, a Parts Interpreter at our Campbellfield branch (Victoria, Australia). 

Name:  Keegan T.

Job Title/Branch: Parts Interpreter at Campbellfield (Victoria)

Length of Service: 3 Years

 

What do you like most about working at Cummins?

There are several things I like about working at Cummins. First off is the team at Campbellfield, who are great supportive, workmates. I enjoy the questions and challenges we get asked daily, as well as seeing the innovation and updates that come with new products at Cummins. 

 

What do you think has changed the most at Cummins over the time you have been here? 

Keegan T.
Keegan T., Parts Interpreter

The team and the opportunities that allow me and my colleges to be successful within our roles.

It is great to work with such a knowledgeable group of people, which allows me to continually learn and grow within my role. Learning something new each day keeps my job interesting. It's exciting for me to think about how this knowledge will help me progress to future roles at Cummins. 

 

What achievement are you most proud of?

Completing my Parts Interpreter apprenticeship early was a big accomplishment for me. Also, I was proud to receive the HVIA Apprentice of the Year (Southern Region) recognition and the Automotive Apprentice of the Year in Automotive Parts Interpreting through Kangan Institute. 

 

What would you say to someone interested in working at the Campbellfield branch?

It’s a great environment to work in, with an awesome and supportive team. Cummins also has a large range of engine models in the industry, which gives technicians the opportunity to work on a diverse range of technology and products, while continually building industry knowledge and career skills.

 

In the Path of the Storm, They Stayed to Make a Difference

Cummins employees in Puerto Rico unload supplies to keep the branch going over long hours.
Cummins employees in Puerto Rico unload supplies to keep the branch going over long hours.

As Hurricane Maria approached Puerto Rico, Cummins Sales Representatives Ricardo Diaz and Rafael Mitchell, as well as Regional Business Manager Daniel Ortiz, quickly realized this was going to be a storm unlike any they had seen before.

They knew there would be much to do once the hurricane passed. So, while many residents left the island if they could, Diaz, Mitchell and Ortiz stayed behind along with every employee at the Cummins branch in Cataño, Puerto Rico. Less than a week after the storm hit Sept. 20, 2017, everyone was back at the branch, helping customers and those in need get back on their collective feet.

"Cummins is more than just a provider of equipment, we help our communities," Diaz said. "It really shows that we live by our values, and that we are part of the community."

RISING TO THE CHALLENGE

The hurricane left more than 3 million residents without power and destroyed most of the island’s electrical grid. For almost nine months, much of the U.S. territory was dependent on new and existing generators for power if they had power at all. Some residents are still without electricity today due to the fragility of the grid.

“The first four weeks were critical,” Ortiz recalled. “Everyone, including us, were making the impossible happen.”

The Cummins team transported products to key installations such as hospitals and shelters across Puerto Rico. The branch shared its supplies and expertise with groups desperately in need of help, regardless of whether they were Cummins customers.

But maybe the most important effort Cummins employees undertook was at one of the main utility generating stations near the branch. Even though the station uses steam turbines and boilers to generate power, a Cummins technician and his supervisor played a key role in getting electricity flowing from the station into the island’s largest city, San Juan. That, in turn, got electricity to one of Puerto Rico’s largest hospitals and the water utility, too.

Company technicians were on site 24/7 looking after generators at the Convention Center, home to both the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters as well as Puerto Rico’s largest shelter. Technicians were also on duty at all ports on the island where power was critical to keep perishable food donations safe. 

 “The first four weeks were the worst,” Diaz said. “The scarcity of products at supermarkets, six-hour lines for gas and diesel and the tense moments while people were in those lines were a real challenge and very stressful situations. 

“But Puerto Ricans really came through with empathy to each other, acceptance, adaptation and reliance during those difficult times,” he said.

AWARD WINNERS PRAISE TEAM APPROACH

Ortiz said every member of the Cummins team was working long hours so the branch tried to create spaces where employees could get an occasional break before heading back out.

The team put cots out in the branch, which already included a washer, dryer and refrigerator that became critical features after the storm. The team also rented an apartment nearby to provide some additional space for breaks. Cummins delivered water, food and Wi-Fi routers to get the branch open and keep the team nourished for those long hours. 

Diaz and Mitchell were recently honored with Cummins Legendary Sales Awards for their actions and performance during the storm. But they are quick to say the response to Hurricane Maria was a total team effort. 

Legendary Sales Award winners Rafael Mitchell, second from left, and Ricardo Diaz, far right, are joined by David Hagewood, Vice President - Power Generation, far left, and Nabil Contreras, Caribbean Commercial Sales Director, second from right.
Legendary Sales Award winners Rafael Mitchell, second from left, and Ricardo Diaz, far right, are joined by David Hagewood, Vice President - Power Generation, far left, and Nabil Contreras, Caribbean Commercial Sales Director, second from right.

For example, Nabil Contreras, Caribbean Commercial Sales Director, worked tirelessly from the mainland United States to get equipment and support into Puerto Rico. The entire Cummins Caribbean team worked with the network of Cummins Sales and Service North America branches to prepare for the storm, assess its aftermath and plan for recovery.

The company’s Crisis Action Management Program helped ensure the branch had needed supplies, and many Cummins Sales and Service regions sent their own technicians to the island to help.

 “There are so many great stories behind-the-scenes from customers and employees that would make all of us working at Cummins proud,” Diaz said.

 By working together, Cummins employees kept desperately needed power Always On. 

Includes reporting by Kaitlin Hiquet and Asia Jernigan.
 

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 Recognizes Our Veterans Who Make Our Countries and Company Better

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War I came to end when the armistice took effect. One hundred years later, we still commemorate that momentous day when after four years of constant shelling and gunfire, silence ensued. 

As we near the 11th and mark Remembrance Day in countries around the world and Veterans Day in the United States, I want to recognize all of our veterans at Cummins who bring a diverse skill set and experiences to our company, customers and communities.  On behalf of the Cummins Leadership Team, thank you for your dedication, sacrifice, service and commitment to your country.  We are also deeply grateful that you are sharing your talents and skills as part of the Cummins team.

Veterans Day and Remembrance Day give those of us who have benefited from the service of our brave women and men in the armed forces the opportunity to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made on our behalf in service to their country. As the proud father and nephew of Marines, I have the privilege of spending time with both active duty and veteran members of the military and learning from their experiences.   

Last year, Cummins was officially recognized as a Military-Friendly Employer, joining a group of 180 companies who put significant time and resources into recruiting and retaining military personnel, as well as implementing policies to support our employees who continue to serve. We want the number of veterans at Cummins to continue to increase, and we can all play a role in making that happen. 

To our veterans, I want to reiterate our deep gratitude for your service, and for sharing your unique abilities and experiences with Cummins. You make us all, and the company, better. To all employees, I would ask that on this day you truly exemplify our value of caring, and take the time to recognize our veterans who have given so much of themselves to their country and to Cummins. 
 

Thad Ewald

Thad Ewald is the Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Business Development for Cummins Inc. In this capacity, he is responsible globally for the formulation of strategy, developing and coordinating both functions, Enterprise Risk Management, starting new growth businesses and all activity for partnerships, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.

Redirecting to
cummins.com

The information you are looking for is on
cummins.com

We are launching that site for you now.

Thank you.