Cummins plays key role in producing masks to curtail spread of COVID-19

Employees make masks at the Columbus Engine Plant in Indiana. It is one of three locations making masks for essential Cummins employees around the world.
Employees make masks at the Columbus Engine Plant in Indiana. It is one of three locations making masks for essential Cummins employees around the world.

Cummins used its filter technology to produce 146 metric tons of filtration media for mask manufacturers around the world in 2020, enough to make more than 108 million masks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

That total includes media the company produced to make masks for its own employees, an initiative starting in June 2020 when Cummins announced it would purchase the necessary equipment to begin mask manufacturing at three sites. Those sites produced about 10 million masks for use companywide in 2020 and continue in operation today.

Mask making at the Columbus Engine Plant.
The mask-making initiative at the Columbus Engine Plant in Indiana produced about 3.5 million masks in 2020 for employee use. Collectively, the company's three mask-making locations produced around 10 million masks in 2020.

“When the pandemic first started, Cummins re-evaluated our supply base and manufacturing capabilities to identify how we could support healthcare professionals and essential workers who rely on critical personal protective equipment to do their jobs,” said Steph Disher, Executive Director of Cummins Filtration, which designs and manufactures filtration products for diesel and natural gas powered equipment.

“It has been an honor to use our technology and workforce to help communities around the world during these challenging times,” she said.

PARTNERING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

The overwhelming majority of the filtration media produced for masks last year went toward the standard masks people are wearing at work, school, shopping and other activities outside their homes. Cummins Filtration, however, also produced media for N95 and KN95 masks.

In addition, the company partnered with 3M to produce 566,000 filters for 3M’s powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) used by health care professionals at risk of airborne pathogens. That partnership used equipment typically employed to produce diesel engine filters to manufacture the high-efficiency particulate filters used in 3M’s PAPRs.

It was one of several partnerships resulting in Cummins playing a key role in the production of equipment to help guard against the spread of COVID-19. The company worked with DuPont to address the shortage of N95 respirator masks, using Cummins’ NanoNet® filter media.

And Cummins partnered with the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory on a process converting microfibers into a fabric capable of reducing the spread of viruses, including COVID-19.

“Cummins was an ideal partner to scale what we had accomplished and help us produce material that passed all required testing for filter media,” said Merlin Theodore, Director of the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility at the laboratory.

MASKS FOR EMPLOYEES

As part of the company’s efforts to enhance safety for employees working in essential positions, Cummins reconfigured its plants to allow for social distancing, increased cleaning protocols, implemented health checks upon entry to open facilities and required masks. Early in the pandemic, the company scrambled to find masks for its thousands of employees until deciding to produce its own.

Cummins started mask manufacturing at company plants in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.); San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and Phaltan, India, with each site serving a particular region. Operations started first in Columbus and soon followed at San Luis Potosi and Phaltan. 

The company’s virus prevention efforts have been overwhelmingly successful, with the vast majority of COVID-19 cases involving employees resulting from exposure outside Cummins facilities.

WHAT’S NEXT

The company’s various mask production efforts will continue as long as they make sense to meet demand, Cummins officials say. Hopefully that won’t be too much longer as vaccine distribution has started around the world.

Why is Cummins, a global power leader, so heavily involved in an activity like masks? Cummins believes a company is only as strong as the communities and the world around it. Using the company’s knowhow to help guard against the spread of COVID-19 is merely the latest example in its more than 100-year history of Cummins living its values.
 

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]

 

Improving the environment one mussel and bee at a time

Cummins project tagging mussels

Cummins Inc. employees take pride in supporting their communities through unique initiatives reinforcing the company’s environmental sustainability strategy.  

 

Strengthening global communities has long been an important objective for Cummins. Company employees around the world participate in numerous community initiatives through Cummins’ Every Employee Every Community (EEEC) program.  

A global network of more than 200 employee-led Community Involvement Teams (CITs) work with Cummins leaders and community partners to assess environmental issues facing their communities and organize employee efforts to make a difference.  

Here are some highlights from recent EEEC events that used small creatures to tackle big environmental challenges: 

A LITTLE MUSSEL GOES A LONG WAY 

This fall, Cummins employees in Columbus, Indiana, gathered to transplant kidneyshell mussels into the Mississippi River basin. Coordinated by Scott Saum, Program Manager, Cummins Water Works, the project was guided by experts from The Nature Conservancy (TNC).  

mussel tagging project
Tagging the mussels will help researchers track them months or years after reintroduction.

Cummins Water Works is the company program to address the global water crisis. It established a partnership with The Nature Conservancy to improve water quality and increase groundwater levels in the Mississippi River Basin. 

The kidneyshell mussel is a medium to large, freshwater mussel, similar to the shape of a kidney. They grow to about 12 centimeters (5 inches), and are great indicators of environmental health, with some species living to 100 years. The mussels eat algae and bacteria, cleaning and filtering water of pollutants, resulting in healthier aquatic ecosystems. Their complex life cycle provides a meaningful snapshot of waterway health conditions.  

“Being passionate about environmental conservation, I regularly seek EEEC volunteer opportunities in this domain,” said Akash Desai, Engine Optimization Senior Technical Specialist at Cummins. “The mussel tagging event was ideal in that it blended my interest with a unique opportunity to learn and network.  

“Not having seen mussels before, it was eye-opening how important a role these tiny creatures, a seemingly passive organism, can play in local ecology,” Desai added. “This is the essence of EEEC, where small volunteer engagements along with engaged community members have significant, long-term impacts.” 

Native to Indiana, the kidneyshell mussels, about 1.5 to 2.5 years in age, are currently listed by the state as a species of special concern. Event activities included tagging and measuring them for reintroduction into Indiana’s waterways, via the North and South Forks of Wildcat Creek in Kokomo, Indiana. The creek is part of the Mississippi River Basin.  

Small, flexible, colored, plastic tags were applied to the shell of the mussels, which included an individual number for each mussel to be identified and measured. Some mussels were also outfitted with Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags glued onto their shells.  

These tags can be read with a bar code-type reader to detect a mussel’s location. Since mussels can bury themselves in riverbeds, a PIT tag helps researchers find a subset of mussels months or years after reintroduction.  

In total, 403 mussels were tagged and successfully placed in their new home by representatives of The Nature Conservancy and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. After the mussels have been in their new surroundings for six months, they will be recovered and measured again to determine their growth and survival rates. 

KEEPING BEES HUMMING IN GERMANY, NORWAY 

Over recent decades, bee populations have been declining due to habitat loss, air pollution, changes in weather patterns and the excessive use of agrochemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers. Studies show a lack of honeybees in agricultural areas is limiting the supply of some food crops, suggesting the decline in these pollinators may soon have serious ramifications for global food security and the maintenance of biodiversity.  

People around the world are working to create environments that help bees thrive as well as educate people about their importance. Cummins employees in Germany and Norway are no exception, enthusiastically doing their part to protect bees in local communities. 

A beekeeper checks on the health of the hive in Germany.
A beekeeper checks on the heath of a hive behind the Cummins Emission Solutions plant in Marktheidenfeld, Germany.

In Germany, volunteers developed five bee colonies behind the Cummins Emission Solutions (CES) plant in Marktheidenfeld. Three team members also serve as beekeepers, as well as educators, inspecting hives, conducting bee population counts and removing honeycombs. 

Other employees extract honey from the honeycombs, bottling and labeling the harvest. So far this year, the hives have produced 98 kilograms (216 pounds) of spring honey and 46 kilograms (101 pounds) of summer honey, offered to employees for a donation and given away to local community partners. 

The Marktheidenfeld team also hosted a “Bee Day” on site for local youth, including both an educational component as well as bee-themed games to help bring the education to life. Beekeepers explained the lifecycle and importance of bees and the role they play in our ecosystem, all while exhibiting the bees in action.  

Employee volunteers in Norway jumped on the bee band wagon as well, building six bumblebee boxes and planting bee-friendly flowers to support bee colony growth. The team continues their efforts in protecting and encouraging bee activity by maintaining the boxes while weeding and watering the surrounding plants. 

These are just a few of the many initiatives underway by Cummins employees as they work together to address environmental issues and strengthen their communities. 

 

Tamra Knudsen smiling

Tamra Knudsen

Tamra Knudsen is a Brand Journalist for Cummins with extensive experience in the Capital Goods sector, serving over 20 years in various corporate communications roles. She began her career in accounting, moving into numerous positions within finance, marketing and administration, until she discovered her niche in the field of communications. Her passion is to create transparent and meaningful content that educates, informs and engages readers on a variety of topics for both external and internal audiences. 

Tamra graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Parkside, with a BS in Business Administration and Management.

Recognizing two years of Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity (CARE)

Dennis speaking to crowd

This article originally authored by Tom Linebarger, Cummins Executive Chairman and posted internally on October 31, 2022 for employees to recognize the anniversary of the Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity (CARE) program. 

employees standing in front of company logo

Today, I want to celebrate and recognize the incredible work accomplished through the Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity (CARE) initiative since its launch in October 2020. The program remains focused on the ever-present work of dismantling systemic discrimination against the Black community and driving racial equity in the U.S.

To date, more than 150 volunteers have dedicated their time and skills across 10 communities nationwide. We have successfully driven change across four key areas: police reform, criminal justice reform, social justice reform and economic empowerment. We have positively impacted 420 Black-owned businesses, influenced eight laws and policy changes, and participated in 32 advocacy efforts.

Last April, the Cummins Leadership Team (CLT) and I had the opportunity to see the impact of CARE firsthand in Indianapolis. Doris, a teacher and longstanding resident of the Martindale-Brightwood area, was able to receive an affordable mortgage and move into her new home with $100K in equity through the support of the Cummins-Intend Indiana Partnership, which focuses on addressing the historical gap in wealth building through homeownership experienced by Black people. It was an incredible moment to see the pride Doris had in owning her first home and gaining the ability to create generational wealth for her family.

employees in front of restored house

leaders speaking in panel

We are not naïve to the fact that our goal is ambitious, but CARE has proven that how you show up and take action in our communities is an important and impactful step. Racism in our country is deeply rooted and makes our society weaker. Change is made possible through decisive action, and Cummins continues to be a part of that action. The work done by our volunteers, leaders, advocates and partners in just two years is inspiring. Thank you for your continued commitment to advance Cummins’ legacy of social justice.

Tom Linebarger
Executive Chairman
Chairman of the Board

Tom Linebarger Chairman and CEO

Tom Linebarger

Tom Linebarger became Chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc., the largest independent maker of diesel engines and related products in the world, on January 1, 2012.  Prior to becoming Chairman and CEO, he served as President and COO from 2008 to 2011, Executive Vice President and President, Power Generation Business from 2003 to 2008, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from 2000 to 2003, and Vice President, Supply Chain Management from 1998 to 2000.

A road trip for Cummins’ 1935 Auburn sparks keen interest from antique car buffs 

1935 Auburn 655 (far right) on display at ACD event

Appreciating historic cars is a passion held by car enthusiasts and organizations the world over. One such organization is the Auburn Cord Duesenberg (ACD) auto club. ACD meets annually to commemorate the historic automobiles that trace their roots back to Connersville “Little Detroit” Indiana. In August, Cummins was invited to display its 1935 white Auburn 655 diesel car at ACD’s mini-meet.

“The presence of the Auburn was an overwhelming hit at the event as most did not know Cummins’ story with Auburn,” said Tim Diehn, Director of Cummins’ Service Diagnostics. “We were able to create some buzz and enthusiasm about the car and our company’s history, receiving nothing but accolades and appreciation from club members, attendees and even the mayor of Connersville.” 

Clessie Cummins, founder of Cummins Engine Co., was known for improving existing diesel engines, creating new diesel engine designs, and setting world records for endurance and speed in trucks, buses and race cars. Perhaps not as well-known was his early success in promoting the efficiency of diesel power in automotive applications. With no diesel-powered passenger cars in production at the time, in 1935 Cummins briefly collaborated with Auburn Automobile Company to install a prototype Cummins Model A six-cylinder diesel for a 1935 Auburn. Using aluminum block and head for a much lighter engine than typical cast-iron diesel engines, the innovative new engine provided fuel efficiency, getting better mileage using less expensive fuel compared to a gasoline counterpart. 

Fact versus fiction

The Cummins-powered 1935 Auburn 655 and its existence has been largely shrouded in mystery. Until recently, only a handful of ACD club members could confirm its existence, as this single pre-production prototype car had been out of circulation and sitting in storage or the company museum for many years. Most of the members had no idea about the venture between Auburn and Cummins and were excited to see the car firsthand and learn that its story is more fact than fiction.

“It was a great opportunity to get Clessie Cummins’ vehicle out into the public and share a piece of Cummins’ history,” said Greg Haines, Cummins’ X15 Design and Development Leader, who partnered with Diehn on the road trip. “We even had requests to show the car next year at the famed Labor Day ACD Festival, an international event attended by thousands, held in Auburn, Indiana.”  Tim and Greg are part of a group of Cummins engineers who volunteer their time to restore and maintain the collection of historic engines and vehicles at the Cummins’ Heritage Center.  

Until its next road trip, the Auburn has returned to the Cummins headquarters in Columbus, Indiana, where it is proudly displayed with other historic company artifacts. There it serves as a reminder to employees and visitors of the many innovations associated with the company over its 103-year history. 

J. I. Miller exiting the Auburn in 1974

In 1974, the Auburn was “rediscovered” and restored to its current condition and given to J. I. Miller as a 40th Service anniversary gift. July 22, 1974 – J. I. Miller (then Cummins’ Chairman) exiting Auburn. 

View more images and learn more about the event! 

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Tamra Knudsen smiling

Tamra Knudsen

Tamra Knudsen is a Brand Journalist for Cummins with extensive experience in the Capital Goods sector, serving over 20 years in various corporate communications roles. She began her career in accounting, moving into numerous positions within finance, marketing and administration, until she discovered her niche in the field of communications. Her passion is to create transparent and meaningful content that educates, informs and engages readers on a variety of topics for both external and internal audiences. 

Tamra graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Parkside, with a BS in Business Administration and Management.

Cummins named a 2022 “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion"

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Cummins Inc. is invigorated by its deep history of commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. The company’s Global Disability Inclusion Initiative aims to create accessible, inclusive workplaces where people with disabilities are enabled to fulfill their potential. This commitment is celebrated as Cummins earns the distinction of “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” this year.

Cummins has earned this distinction by achieving a top score of 100 on the Disability Equality Index (DEI), a comprehensive benchmarking tool that helps companies build a roadmap of measurable, tangible actions that can be taken to achieve disability inclusion and equality.

"We use this opportunity to help inform our disability inclusion strategy, to measure our progress against a globally recognized standard and to more effectively attract and retain valuable talent from a historically underutilized workforce," says Dennis Heathfield, Executive Director, Inclusion, People with Disabilities and Veterans, and also serves as Disability Inclusion Initiative Leader. “Through education, strategic partnerships, and financial investment toward improving the accessibility of our technology and facilities, Cummins strives to become an employer of choice for people with disabilities and to work in our communities to reduce barriers to employment for people with disabilities.”

The DEI is a joint initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the nation’s largest disability rights organization, and Disability:IN, the global business disability inclusion network, to collectively advance the inclusion of people with disabilities. The organizations are complementary and bring unique strengths that make the project relevant and credible to corporations and the disability community.

Globally, people with disabilities represent over one billion people. Disability is a natural part of the human experience, and it crosses lines of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and religion. Cummins leaders and employees enable positive change by breaking down barriers, responding with empathy, and creating equity of opportunity for all. Cummins’ desire is to see a more prosperous world where all people are embraced for who they are and what they aspire to achieve.

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.

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