After 100 years, caring never gets old

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This year, Cummins Inc. celebrates 100 years in Power Generation. It all started with the incorporation of Onan Corporation in 1920 – a family owned business founded by David W. Onan.

"Since the beginning, values have played a key role within Onan Corporation. In fact, it has been a combination of values, people and our innovation – strikingly consistent with Cummins’ own 100 years history - that helped the small business in Minnesota (U.S.) become a global industry leader," stated Alex Savelli, Executive Director of Cummins Power Generation.

Today, many at Cummins make a lasting and positive difference by embracing a set of values: Caring, Diversity & Inclusion, Integrity, Excellence, and Teamwork. Let’s look at three examples from our 100-year history on how teamwork, through partnerships with other like-minded stakeholders, can amplify the impact of caring. 

Making lives better by using assistive technologies for individuals with disabilities

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute focuses on helping people with disabilities and people with chronic medical conditions. A critical element of the rehabilitation journey is assistive technologies, products used to improve functional capabilities of people with disabilities.

The partnership between Cummins and Courage Kenny began more than a decade ago, and volunteers from Cummins continue to put their engineering and technical skills into work at the facility. Volunteers periodically attend sessions to adapt, customize and invent mechanical and electronic devices for children and adults with disabilities. You can read how Dempsey Becker, a five-year-old boy, relies on these assistive technologies as a part of his occupational therapy at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute.

In recent years, the effort has expanded beyond Minnesota. More Cummins teams around the world leverage these assistive technology designs, partner with local organizations and serve individuals with disabilities. 

Increasing the safety of military personnel with energy technologies

Military personnel put their lives at risk to defend our way of life, and the efforts focused on improving their safety are great demonstrations of caring.  

The partnership between Cummins and the U.S. military expands over eight decades. In fact, as Allied Forces fought with Axis Forces through the Second World War, more than half of their power generators were supplied by Cummins.

Employees of Onan Corporation winding armature at University Plant, Minnesota, U.S. in 1942 , during World War II.
Employees of Onan Corporation winding armature at University Plant, Minnesota, U.S. in 1942, during World War II. 

More recently, new technologies developed by Cummins continue to help save lives of military personnel. For instance, Cummins’ Advanced Medium Mobile Power Source (AMMPS) generator sets require less fuel than their predecessors; this increases the safety of troops in combat, because fewer fuel transport runs are required. When AMMPS is used together with energy storage and solar arrays to create a hybrid system, fuel economy and system reliability further improves. These improvements positively impact the safety and well-being of U.S. military professionals in the field. 

Bringing prosperity to a rural village through energy access

Residents of Padarwadi, India rely on agriculture for their primary income, as many other villages across India. For years, villagers lacked access to electricity needed to run a small mill. Villagers made frequent trips to the nearest town, through mountainous terrain to get their paddy dehusked, or spent hours doing the labor-intensive work of grinding and dehusking.

In 2010, Cummins partnered with the village to install a generator set to power a small mill. During a recent visit, the project team received first-hand feedback from the residents on how access to energy has changed their lives over the years. These include tangible gains such as increased income for the village, and intangible gains such not needing to spend hours doing the laborious task of rice grinding and dehusking anymore; this increased standard of living led to improved schooling of children too.  

"As the world keeps evolving, we continue to live our Values and Mission: Making people’s lives better by powering a more prosperous world. I’m confident this will continue to serve us well as a strong foundation for the next 100 years,” added Savelli.

 

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Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

Cummins Turbo Technologies gears up to launch the 8th Generation Holset Series 400 Variable Geometry Turbocharger

8th generation HE400VGT

As emission regulations become more stringent, Cummins Turbo Technologies (CTT) is committed to helping customers reduce emissions and advance fuel economy through innovative new air handling technologies.

Built on 70 years of innovation and dependability, CTT and Holset have introduced a wide range of industry leading air handling technologies. In 2021, CTT launched the 7th generation 400 series Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) to help engine manufacturers meet future emission standards and offer best in class fuel economy. At Cummins, innovation never stops as we continue to advance our current technologies, while developing new ones. With this philosophy in mind, CTT is now preparing to introduce the 8th generation HE400VGT. It is specifically engineered to have top of class performance, reliability and durability for the 10-15L heavy-duty truck market.  

CTT has made significant improvements in turbocharger performance with its latest generation of products. The 8th generation turbocharger will have 5 percent improved efficiency over the previous 7th generation turbo.

In addition to offering improved turbocharger efficiency, which helps customers in engine downsizing, the HE400VGT will have a better transient response, enhanced compressor side oil leak robustness and dual sourcing on key components for supply chain flexibility.

Key highlights of the Holset HE400VGT include a new bearing system and near zero clearances to enhance performance and transient response. These enhancements are achieved by tighter clearances on the compressor stage, lower radial movement on the turbine stage, improved surface finish and new aero designs.

Scheduled to be launched in 2024, this turbocharger incorporates a next generation smart electric actuator and speed sensor with the latest chipset to enhance performance and durability. The dual sourcing strategy helps mitigate any unforeseen electronics shortages that have recently plagued the industry.

Along with the performance enhancements, the latest generation turbocharger will offer best-in-class performance for on-highway heavy-duty trucks coupled with improved fuel economy at key vehicle running points.

“CTT has incorporated exciting new technologies in our latest HE400VGT to help engine customers meet strict emissions requirements and reduce their total cost of ownership,” said Matthew Franklin, Director – Product Management & Marketing. As customers establish their strategies for upcoming emission regulations, CTT continues to build on the success of previous turbocharger launches to deliver innovative products that meet the challenges of our customers’ engine development needs without compromising on performance. 

Want to learn more about CTT’s products and technical innovation? Sign up for our quarterly newsletter today.

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.

Rebuild masterstroke pays off for miners

belt buckle with text reading "Cummins 300th QSK60 MCRS Upgrade"

A masterstroke by Cummins engineers in Australia and the US has resulted in major cost reduction and environmental benefits for mining companies electing to rebuild their QSK60 engines under a special upgrade program.

The engineers focused on rebuild possibilities for the early generation QSK60, and how it could be upgraded to the latest diesel technology at overhaul time with no major change to the base 60-litre V16 design – a feat that eluded other engine manufacturers.

The key technology upgrade is to fuel injection, with the early unit injection system (HPI) replaced with the high-pressure modular common rail system (MCRS) that is now featured on all of Cummins’ latest generation high horsepower engines.

The 300th upgraded engine, rated at 2700 hp, recently rolled off the production line at the Cummins Master Rebuild Centre in Brisbane, highlighting yet another successful step in the evolution of the QSK60 and why it is the foremost high-horsepower diesel engine globally in mobile mining equipment.

“Reduced fuel consumption and longer life-to-overhaul are keys to lower total cost of ownership, and they were the initial aims behind the engineering of the upgrade program for the QSK60,” says Greg Field, mining business development manager for Cummins Asia Pacific.

“Innovation is at the core of Cummins’ long history, and it has certainly played its part in the QSK60 rebuild options we can offer our mining customers.”

The bottom line is impressive: Diesel particulate emissions are slashed by up to 63% through in-cylinder combustion technology with no aftertreatment. There’s also a plus for maintenance with less soot loading in the oil.

Fuel savings up to 5% are consistently reported in the field for significant greenhouse gas emissions reduction, while life-to-overhaul is extended by 10%, translating to fuel consumption of more than 4.0 million liters before rebuild is required.

Apart from the fuel system upgrade to MCRS, the QSK60 with single-stage turbocharging also features other Cummins innovations in combustion technology that were engineered for Tier 4 Final and Stage V emissions compliance, the most stringent off-highway emission standards in the world.

The rebuild upgrade package can be applied to the two variants of the QSK60 – one with single-stage turbocharging (known as ‘Advantage’) which can be rated from 1785 to 2700 hp, the other with two-stage turbocharging which can be rated at 2700, 2850 or 3000 hp.

The 300th upgraded QSK60 went to Boggabri Coal in the NSW Gunnedah Basin for installation in a Komatsu 930E haul truck. The engine has proved its worth in both coal and iron ore mining in Australia.

yellow QSK60 engine

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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.

Euro 7/VII - the missing puzzle piece for improving air quality in Europe

Euro 7/VII - the missing puzzle piece for improving air quality in Europe

The environment is facing an existential crisis and we need to act now by cutting emissions to address poor air quality and stop climate change. Policy makers, industry, academia, and thought leaders must work together to neutralise those threats. The upcoming Euro 7/VII regulation proposal, if ambitious, has the potential to make a significant difference. 

Melina Kennedy, Vice President – Product Compliance and Regulatory Affairs at Cummins Inc.
Melina Kennedy, Vice President – Product Compliance and Regulatory Affairs at Cummins Inc.

The EU is a trail blazer in climate policy and has set clear ambitions to be climate neutral by 2050, through the ambitious European Green Deal. The Fit for 55 Package has been an excellent set of measures to spur the transition, and the RepowerEU plan will now hopefully function as the catalyst needed to create change even quicker. The piece of the puzzle still missing to speed up the transition is the proposed regulations for Euro 7/VII for cars, vans, and heavy-duty vehicles.

At Cummins, we are committed to reaching zero emissions through our Destination ZeroTM strategy. We fully support a tough, clear, enforceable Euro VII regulation that allows us to compete on a level playing field and provides real benefits to the environment. Our technical experts are confident we can meet ambitious targets, and we hope the regulation proposal reflects those ambitions when published.

The European Green Deal strategy mirrors our own Planet 2050 plan at Cummins, where we hold ambitions for all our facilities, operations and products to become climate neutral by 2050. Cummins is a global technology leader committed to meeting the world’s sustainability challenges. We have been innovating for well over 100 years and have a strong footprint in Europe where we design, manufacture, sell and service a broad portfolio of power solutions for transport and energy applications.

On this path to a zero-emission future, adopting cleaner technologies today, like near-zero natural gas products and nearer-to-zero diesel, prior to widespread commercialization of zero-emission technologies for all markets, can make an immediate, positive impact. The Euro VII regulation and its interaction with the heavy-duty vehicle CO2 regulation, therefore, is critical for cutting emissions and improving air quality at the beginning of this journey to a zero-emission future. That near-term step is critical for the heavy-duty sector which, from an air quality and emissions perspective, is much harder to abate than other sectors due to their typical usage demands and weight.

For industry to innovate, we need a clear roadmap and timetable from policy makers on what regulations are approaching in coming years. As the world’s largest independent engine manufacturer in the heavy-duty space, knowing and understanding the Euro VII regulation in full detail is critical to our business and that of our customers.

The regulation timing determines our product planning, technology development, investment decisions and our path to zero-emissions. Any further delay to the proposed July publication of the Euro VII regulation proposal is very difficult for those in the industry who require time to innovate, develop and launch product. We hope the Euro VII regulation will remain on its latest updated schedule, as there is a high level of complexity and corresponding time needed to deliver a new engine technology platform. Cummins is ready to meet the demands of a stringent regulation, but it would require new base engine hardware, new software, new aftertreatment architectures and components, to name just a few. And we want to be sure the lead time is adequate so that the necessary innovation can take place to benefit the environment, our customers and end users with new and reliable technologies.

There is no silver bullet for the heavy-duty sector on the path to zero-emissions. A suite of different power solutions will be needed to meet Euro VII requirements and reach destination zero goals set out in the European Green Deal. Policy proposals taking a technology neutral approach are critical for innovation and will ensure that the Euro VII proposal will be successful. On our innovation journey for the heavy-duty sector, Cummins has unveiled the industry’s first fuel-agnostic internal combustion engine platform, which can be specified to run optimally on different fuels, including diesel, renewable natural gas, or hydrogen. These technologies can enable our customers and end users to step away from fossil fuels and affordably meet the Euro VII requirements.

Cummins has been investing heavily in zero-emission technologies, spending over $1.07 billion (€1 billion) in research and technology each year. Cummins is now a world leader in battery and hydrogen technology, with much of this work taking place in Europe. Cummins has a fuel cell manufacturing plant in Herten, Germany, providing power solutions for trains and trucks. Cummins is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of electrolyzers for green hydrogen production, with facilities in Belgium and a future plant in Spain. And we have a joint venture with NPROXX for manufacturing critical hydrogen tanks for storage and transport in Germany. These are all technologies essential to the creation of a hydrogen economy here in Europe, and to the success of the European Green Deal.

The heavy-duty engine and vehicle industry in Europe has faced more significant challenges over the past three years than in living memory. Brexit, Covid, significant supply chain shortages, and now the crisis in Ukraine. Having a period of regulatory certainty with clear deliverables, whilst meeting the challenge set out in the European Green Deal, will be key to the sector’s success. We ask that the impending Euro VII regulation proposal is timely, clear, ambitious, and technologically neutral in its approach. If so, it would address a missing puzzle piece in turning the corner for the sector, for a more sustainable and prosperous future in Europe.

Melina Kennedy

Melina Kennedy is the Vice President – Product Compliance and Regulatory Affairs for Cummins Inc. Prior to that she served as the Director of Executive Communications at Cummins Inc. where she developed and implemented high level strategies to meet the key communication needs of our senior leaders. Melina is a former candidate for Mayor of Indianapolis and Counsel at Baker and Daniels. She previously served as Director of Economic Development under former Mayor of Indianapolis Bart Peterson where she harnessed her talent as a leader and communicator.

The future of commercial transportation

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At the turn of the twentieth century, Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th president of the U.S. and a few years later Henry Ford debuted the Model T in Detroit, Michigan. Only few visionaries at that time may have imagined a future with an intricate highway system, carrying people and goods from one coast to another in a matter of days. Or trolleys and streetcars becoming massive urban busses, running hundreds of people around a city center. It wasn’t until 1912 that the first transnational truck delivery was made—by a five-man crew travelling from Philadelphia to Petaluma, California, to deliver a load of olive oil soap in a record time of 91 days.

The future of commercial transportation

Since that soap was delivered, trucking grew into being the lifeblood of our economy, moving essential goods, medical supplies, and other items. It kept re-inventing itself through the great depression, the growth of air transportation, and the rise of globalization. As e-commerce soared, trucking has once again re-invented, becoming an integral part of our modern lives too. Through this journey, road transportation has seen the adoption of such technologies as collision mitigation, electrification, and lower carbon fuels. As the commercial transportation industry faces rapidly changing regulations and evolving customer needs, advanced technology will pave the way to not only meet these requirements but exceed what we previously thought was possible. Looking ahead, the future of commercial transportation will be shaped by three perspectives: a shifting energy mix, innovations in software, and evolving use cases driven by autonomous driving and vehicle-as-a-service (VaaS).

First will be the shifting energy mix and reduced carbon intensity

The story starts within our cities, where the need and benefit for decarbonization is the highest. Cities also offer two circumstances to spur decarbonization: a dense population of transportation assets that share a common infrastructure and the use-cases that are easier to decarbonize, such as last-mile delivery.

For commercial transportation, the future of energy can be summed up simply: zero carbon emissions, well-to-wheel. This is the destination, driven by societal pressure and environmental needs. This will require a shift in energy mix, and the journey to decarbonize commercial transportation will be rooted in a comprehensive technology roadmap with three primary components: zero emissions technologies such as battery electric and fuel cell electric; low to zero carbon fuels; and fuel agnostic powertrain platforms.

The 2020s will be shaped by two trends: those that will make the leap to zero, and the rise of low to zero carbon fuels. Busses that operate in urban areas are leading the sector in making the leap to zero carbon emission solutions, at the tail pipe. Transportation emissions will decrease by ~1.4% in the U.S. when the majority of buses switch to zero carbon emission technologies. There is another overlooked benefit of busses leading the way towards zero carbon emissions: fast-tracking innovations. As more of our bus partners choose zero-emission technologies, we find innovative solutions to meet their needs. These learnings ready zero carbon emission technologies for other transportation use-cases sooner. When it comes to the rise of low to zero carbon fuels, renewable natural gas, biodiesel blends, and hydrogen will lead the way, and internal combustion engine technology will see improved efficiencies. Meanwhile, we also plan to make our new engines compatible with increasing blends of low carbon fuels. During this era, hydrogen engines may also gain traction among line haul trucking. The key to hydrogen adoption will be the cost parity of hydrogen to diesel and infrastructure for refueling.

In the 2030s, we will begin to see a marked scale-up of new technologies and fuels. Battery-electric and fuel cell electric solutions will be viable for more use cases, especially with urban vehicles. Meanwhile, alternative fuels such as renewable natural gas (RNG), hydrogen, and biodiesel blends could have global footprints. At a regional level, varying local availability of different feedstocks will keep less popular low to zero carbon fuels in play. For bio-derived fuels, an interesting dynamic could play out during this decade. Given these limited stock bio-derived fuels could be the only viable path to decarbonize aviation, we could likely see a limited use of them in road transportation. The 2030s will also be the decade we will learn more about the viability of synthetic fuels for commercial transportation. Cost, availability, and efficiency of energy pathways will be three of the key factors to watch-out.

In the 2040s, electrification will become more viable even for today’s hard-to-electrify use cases. For example, heavy-duty and line-haul trucks are challenging to electrify today, mainly because the energy density of today’s batteries and limited recharging infrastructure would interfere with the truck’s job. This may become less and less of an obstacle as technology and infrastructure continue to advance. As the vehicle electrification eliminates tank-to-wheel emissions, well-to-tank emissions will get increasing spotlight. The good news is, by 2040, renewable electricity is forecasted to account for over 60% of our electricity1. To get there will take doubling the investments in electricity industry, as a share of GDP, towards $1.2 trillion a year by the second half of the 2020s, and strong public and private partnerships.


A safer, more reliable, and efficient transportation powered by software

The commercial transportation sector has already begun a rapid period of software development, helping fleets avoid accidents, optimize their fuel usage, and identify the best routes. Going forward, safety will continue to be paramount; meanwhile, connectivity and software development will revolutionize condition monitoring and performance optimization. This revolution will take place at three levels: asset-level, system-level, and intermodal.

In the near future, asset-level connectivity will continue to be under a spotlight. For example, Cummins Inc. is already testing game-changing prognostic algorithms that leverage massive amounts of data to move customers away from reactive service models to predictive, planned maintenance. The idea is this: sensors in the vehicle monitor the way equipment is performing and report abnormalities. This allows us to detect potential issues early enough that the necessary action can be taken, either through over-the-air updates or at the next scheduled maintenance, so unplanned downtime is reduced, increasing the availability and reliability of the equipment.

Soon, we will see an increased focus on system-level connectivity, where emphasis will expand to managing the complete fleet and system elements such as distribution centers and refueling stations. With this, we will see the sector continue to drive automated decision making through an increased reliance on harnessing real time data and computing capabilities.

Connectivity and software development to revolutionize commercial transportation in three levels

Finally, intermodal connectivity will connect different modes of transportation. This will create a commercial transportation eco-system where individual assets among different modes of transportation such as road, rail, sea, and air are connected and operate in harmony.

Evolving commercial transportation use-cases driven by autonomous driving and vehicle-as-a-service (VaaS)

One of the things common between autonomous trucking and VaaS is they may both drive an evolution among commercial transportation use-cases, but at different scales.

Autonomous trucking may have more profound impact on transportation, as more vehicles start to communicate with each other and with infrastructure elements such as traffic signals and depots. A key outcome of the rise of autonomous trucking could be the competitiveness of trucking against other modes of transportation such as rail. Autonomous trucking could also impact the financials of the industry; as these vehicles will be highly utilized, which could lead to shorter replenishment cycles and lower volumes of vehicles to own. As the safety considerations are getting addressed, this and the increasing focus on system-level connectivity will also continue to shape the role of the drivers in autonomous vehicles.

Vehicle-as-a-service, on the other hand, may have a limited impact in commercial transportation. VaaS, which mirrors the efficiency model used by Uber and Airbnb, primarily relies on under-utilized assets. Meanwhile, commercial transportation is inherently different from privately-owned cars and homes, where a wealth of these under-utilized assets exists. In commercial transportation, there is not a large reserve of under-utilized assets. Therefore, the impact of VaaS in commercial transportation could be limited to two areas. Firstly, fleets with under-utilized vehicles could see improved efficiencies with VaaS. Secondly, VaaS could also find traction with fleets where access to financial resources is limited. In these use cases, the increasing cost of vehicles, due to a combination of decarbonization, advanced connectivity and autonomous features, could make it more difficult for fleets to spend high capex upfront. For these fleets, VaaS could be the more economically-viable path forward. There may also be use-cases where a combination of VaaS and advanced autonomy (without a driver) could address chronic driver shortage issues. Meanwhile, for fleets where utilization rates are already very high and access to finances is not an issue, the impact of VaaS will be limited.

Commercial transportation is certainly in a period of rapid change, but the sector has always pushed hard to ensure it would meet the needs of society. Today, those needs are increasingly demanding, and technology will once again rise to the challenge.

References:

1 World Energy Outlook 2021 [PDF File]. International Energy Agency (2021). Retrieved from: https://www.iea.org/ 

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENT

Information provided in this article includes forward-looking statements, including statements regarding business forecasts, expectations, hopes, beliefs and intentions on strategies regarding the future. Actual future outcomes could differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements because of a number of factors. Readers and investors are urged to consider these factors carefully in evaluating the forward-looking statements and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements made herein are made only as of the date of this article and Cummins undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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Srikanth Padmanabhan

Srikanth Padmanabhan

Srikanth Padmanabhan is Vice President and President of the Engine Business, the largest of Cummins’ four business segments. In this role, he pushes the boundaries of customer-focused innovation to position Cummins as the leading powertrain supplier of choice, with its portfolio ranging from diesel and natural gas to hybrid and electric powertrains. Read more about Srikanth's more than 30 years at Cummins.

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