Do electric excavators have a future in construction?

The construction industry has more than 733,000 employers and over 7 million employees. It is a top contributor to the U.S. economy, generating nearly $1.4 trillion worth of structures each year. And according to the United Nations Environment Program, buildings and their construction together account for more than 35% of global energy use and nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions annually.

As the world is faced with the climate crisis, the construction industry has to find ways to adopt greener energy solutions. It is a critical challenge to ensure the momentum of transformation for lowering construction emissions does not slow.

Cummins builds a pathway to more sustainable construction

In 2018, Hyundai Construction Equipment and Cummins announced that they would jointly develop electric-powered mini excavators. Since then, prototypes of the mini excavators have been developed and the two companies have gathered initial market feedback and continue to refine the product for target customer use-cases.

Now, Hyundai and Cummins are moving this long-term, productive partnership into its next phase – field testing.

During this phase, prototypes of a production intent design are handed over to customers to gain real world experience and to test and validate the adoptability of electric-powered mini excavators against the needs of those customers. Field testing plays an essential role in delivering best-in-class solutions that meet or exceed the durability and reliability expectations that Hyundai and Cummins are recognized for in the industry.

Field testing is an essential piece in delivering best-in-class solutions and demonstrates how we are always innovating for safety and performance. Duplicating real-world environment testing under Hyundai’s operating conditions and duty cycles, we will monitor the mini excavators’ adoptability, performance and reliability.

Why are excavators a good candidate for electrification?

Zero-emissions

As stricter standards for zero-emissions continue to arise, even off-highway applications have begun to feel the push to lower their CO2 emissions. Urban cities have started to implement zero-emission zones (ZEZ) that require any vehicle, on- or off-highway, to comply with the area's regulations. For this reason, construction zones in urban cities have sought out electrified products, such as electric excavators, that match or exceed the reliability and performance of their diesel counterparts. These electric excavators are now considered invaluable for indoor construction sites, where the diesel counterparts were unable to function due to the fumes they emitted and poor ventilation.

Noise Pollution

As more cities implement ZEZs, there has been a noticeable decrease in noise pollution. What was once a loud machine that caused a disturbing ruckus when turned on, is now just as quiet when operating as it would be when turned off. A reduction in noise pollution is not only satisfying to the construction site’s surrounding areas, but in many ways decreasing environmental noise could have positive effects on passerby health. Regardless of noise, construction companies want assurance that these electrified excavators can get the job done.

An additional advantage of reducing noise pollution is improved communication between the operator of the excavator and other workers on-site. By removing the engine-induced vibrations, both the operator and the workers guiding the operator can better hear one another.

Interoperability

Operators have noted that there is no difference in machine interoperability between electric and diesel counterparts. The performance of an electric excavator easily matched the performance of diesel vehicles. Its motor’s response to fluctuations in load is faster due to the connectivity speed between the electric module and battery, allowing for better operating performance and feel.

Maintenance

Because electric excavators no long run on traditional fuel, the need for coolants and oil filters is eliminated and significantly decreases the maintenance intervals. The vehicles also have a lower number of parts that need to be maintained, which can potentially result in in the total cost of ownership to be more affordable than their diesel counterparts.

What are some of the challenges that electric excavators still face today?

Packaging

Packaging has always been a dilemma in the electrification space as these machines were optimized for a diesel engine, not batteries. While batteries are less energy dense than traditional fuel, they require additional components that a diesel engine and fuel cell do not, such as a thermal management system. So, the most prominent question engineers are working to answer is, how do you pack a battery with enough energy and all its components into an existing diesel machine?

Cooling and Heating

Being enclosed in such tight spaces and exposed to all types of weather, excavators need to perform under all kinds of temperatures. However, due to the machine's compactness, adding a component for cooling is not always possible. From a heating standpoint, the battery cannot operate if it's below 0 degrees Celcius due to its chemistry.

Cummins' demonstration powertrain solution

Cummins has designed a new electric powertrain for the smaller, more compact 1.9-tonne excavator. Similar to the 2018 model that was developed from scratch, these mini excavators feature a whole new powertrain that offsets some of the challenges of the application. With a new motor, onboard charger, electric hardware integration and never-before-used BM8.9E battery, this model of the excavator has been optimized for electrification.

While developing the design for the new electric mini-excavators, Cummins engineers needed to overcome the obstacle of packaging. In addition to using energy dense lithium ion batteries, Cummins engineers implemented creative, compact design solutions to optimize the packaging of the electric powertrain in the existing space claim of a diesel excavator. These solutions included custom motor-pump coupling assembly, split compact Power Distribution Unit solutions for maximizing space utilization and replacing a large mechanical fan mounted to the engine with a small electric fan that runs by battery to cool the hydraulic oil. The electric fan also has a smart feature which turns the fans on only as required so they are not running all the time.

To optimize the system further, Cummins added additional smart features across multiple components to increase efficiency. This new system will also include components to address battery temperature regulation – internal battery heaters for thermal management.

What are we hoping to learn with this next phase?

Cummins is building 11, 1.9-tonne battery-electric mini excavators. In 2022, nine of those excavators will be delivered to customers across Europe and South Korea for field testing to determine their adoptability in applications where diesel-powered excavators are traditionally used.

With this new battery electric solution working through field tests, Cummins hopes to better understand the product market, its demands and what impact electrified power will have on the construction industry. The test units will provide insights into end-users’ duty cycles, power demand, operator experience and associated field data.

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.

Cummins natural gas engines transport more than 150 million people in North India for 15 years

bus in movement

Natural gas engines from Cummins can offer considerable longevity and reliability when properly maintained – so much so they are lasting decades and counting. 

Between 2008 and 2009, more than 3,730 Cummins B Gas Plus natural gas engines were procured through OEM partners Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland and delivered to the National Capital Region of India. Deployed into the Delhi transport Corporation’s (DTC) transit bus fleet, nearly 15 years later, the engines remain in service. To date, the buses have travelled approximately 5.4 billion kilometers – yes, billion – over the last 15 years.

bus

These engines prove what Maged Tadros, General Manager of Cummins Global Bus Business likes to tell his customers: “Adopting Cummins natural gas engines into your fleets can help achieve several operational and economic benefits.”

As the lowest total emissions engine on the market for trucks and buses, Cummins natural gas engines run on an abundant, low-cost fuel, with a maintenance free three-way catalyst exhaust treatment system. 

The need for reliable transportation is essential. Over the past 15 years, the Cummins B Gas Plus natural gas engines have helped more than 150 million Indian residents get to where they need to be and will continue to do so for the years to come.

click to view infographic
Click to view infographic

“Cummins engines are sought after globally for their world-class reliability and durability,” explained Puneet Jhawar, General Manager – Natural Gas. “We have learned a lot from our experience in India, among other countries adopting natural gas engines, learnings that have influenced our next generation of engines.”

Last year, Cummins announced the B6.7 natural gas engine will be available in India. Built for school buses, shuttles, and medium-duty trucks, the B6.7N boasts up to 240 hp/560 lbs-ft torque.

As the most mature, proven, and least disruptive alternative power technology available today, natural gas engines offer range flexibility and deliver a similar power, performance, and driving experience as diesel engines. Cummins natural gas engines help fleets reduced their overall environmental impact without significantly increasing the cost of operation or sacrificing performance or uptime.

The power of Cummins’ natural gas engines was on display at the India Auto Expo in Greater Noida Uttar Pradesh, India this month.

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.

Five Wins of New Power

""

As we near the end of 2022, we are celebrating some of the accomplishments that made this an exciting and innovative year for New Power. In the last 12 months, we expanded our technologies, grew as a business and continued to blaze the trail toward a zero-emissions future. Join us as we reflect on five wins from our New Power business unit that helped make this year truly spectacular.

snow scene
Click to view infographic

Welcome to our battery family, LFP

The newest member of our battery family is the lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery, which expands our support of electrified commercial vehicle applications. LFPs are faster charging and longer-life batteries, and are used in the medium duty truck and school bus markets. LFPs don’t require nickel or cobalt, making them more affordable and sustainable. With faster charging, higher power and a 10% longer life expectancy, Cummins LFP batteries are designed to meet the demands of continuous operation and have a lower total cost of ownership.

Green travel is on track: Our fuel cell systems are powering the world’s first 100%-hydrogen passenger train fleet

Holiday vacation plans? Visit us in Europe where we’re powering the world’s first fleet of hydrogen trains. The Alstom Coradia iLint trains are outfitted with Cummins fuel cell systems and run on the world’s first 100%-hydrogen-powered passenger train route. The trains convert hydrogen fuel into energy and turn existing, non-electrified infrastructure into zero-emission rail lines. These trains emit only steam and condensed water while in service and operate with low noise levels that improve both operator and passenger comfort.

The hydrogen fuel cell systems used in the trains are assembled at Cummins’ Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems Production Center in Herten, Germany. The facility was fully operational in 2022, enabling accelerated adoption of hydrogen technologies across Europe and the globe.

North America? Check. Europe? Check. We’ve expanded our New Power footprint across the globe

This year, we drove the green hydrogen economy forward across the globe by supporting new infrastructure projects and advancing government decarbonization goals.

We have broken ground on our new gigawatt PEM electrolyzer manufacturing plant in Guadalajara, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. Construction is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2023. The 200,000 sq. ft. facility will have the capacity to produce 500MW per year, scalable to more than 1GW per year.

Our Oevel, Belgium electrolyzer manufacturing facility expanded its capacity to 1GW thanks to the Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) Hy2Tech program. IPCEI will help Cummins develop a new generation of PEM electrolyzer cell stacks to power large-scale hydrogen production systems. Operation began at our new Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems Production Center in Herten, Germany this year, which further enables the adoption of hydrogen technologies across Europe. 

We expanded our Mississauga, Ontario, Canada campus by adding a third facility dedicated to hydrogen technology. The new facility accommodates the company’s growing staff, hydrogen production capacity and new product development, putting Cummins in a better position to support the developing hydrogen market in North America.

The wait is over - our electrified powertrains made their official debut

We unveiled the Meritor 17Xe ePowertrain integrated with a Cummins battery system. The 17Xe is designed for heavy-duty trucks with the capacity to support 44 tons of gross combined weight. The assembly also features Cummins’ new lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery pack. 

Our clean drivetrain options offer performance and packaging advantages for diverse applications across the globe.

Electrolyzers are stateside: We’re starting production in the U.S.

We announced that we'll begin producing electrolyzers in the U.S. for the first time at our Fridley, Minnesota facility. To drive the domestic green hydrogen economy forward, we'll start at 500 megawatts (MW) of manufacturing capacity annually, scalable to 1 gigawatt (GW) in the future. 

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.

Seven Cummins employees receive prestigious Julius Perr Innovation Award

recipients holding trophies

Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI) announced the 2022 recipients of the company’s most prestigious technical award, the Julius Perr Innovation award. Now in its 23rd year, the award recognizes employees who demonstrated excellence in innovation and technology by developing significant intellectual property for our products.

This year’s recipients are Cummins employees Richard Ancimer, Krishna Kamasamudram, Ashok Kumar, Guoqiang Li, Tim Proctor, Michael Wilson, and Aleksey Yezerets. Acknowledgement also goes to Neal Currier, Ed Hodzen, and Vivek Sujan.

ABOUT THE INNOVATIONS

The first winning patents relate to the mitigation of sulfur accumulation on a selective reduction catalyst (SCR).

Ancimer, Currier, Kamasamudram, Kumar, and Yezerets developed methodologies to not only monitor this accumulation of sulfur but regenerate the catalysts faster, and at lower temperatures, through the synchronization of engine operating conditions during regeneration. Their work is employed on Cummins products, such as Euro IV/V/VI, EPA 2010, Tier IV, and in regions high sulfur fuel, and will likely continue playing a role in meeting future emission regulations.

Wilson developed a different approach targeted for the service channel in areas with high sulfur fuel, particularly the Euro V products in South America.  A key feature of his invention involves the deactivation of cylinders, and his work has been cited numerous times by non-Cummins patents.

For second winning technology, Hodzen, Li, Proctor, and Sujan invented the SmartTorque2 (ST2) feature, which is part of the award-winning Eaton Cummins SmartAdvantageTM  Powertrain. This feature automatically senses a variety of factors, such as grade and weight, and selects the optimum torque for performance and fuel economy. The invention was first in production in 2013 and has been a standard offering of the X15 product since 2017.

ABOUT THE AWARDS

This award was created to honor Dr. Julius Perr, who retired from Cummins in 1997 as Vice President - Fuel Systems.  Dr. Perr, who passed away in 2005, joined Cummins in 1958 after fleeing Communist Hungary.  He made Columbus, Indiana (USA) home and began a 41-year career as a Cummins engineer and leader.  In his lifetime, he was named the inventor or co-inventor of 186 granted patents and remains an inspiration to many in our industry.

2022 CEREMONY

The Julius Perr Innovation Awards Ceremony was held in-person with senior Technical Leaders, members of the Perr family, the 2022 Perr Award winners and their guests on October 18, 2022. Four winners, Krishna Kamasamudram, Ashok Kumar, Guoqiang Li and Michael Wilson, were able to attend in person to receive their awards. The other three winners were unable to attend, but their award and special recognition have been provided to them separately.

REVIEW COMMITTEE 

Members of a selection committee, made up of leaders from across all business units, meet yearly to evaluate patents that have created significant value for our products. In 2022, over 1,100 patents were reviewed for consideration before selecting the final patent award recipients. Since 2000, only 84 patents have been selected for this prestigious award with each invention adding value to our brand promise of innovation and dependability.

Congratulations again to the 2022 recipients on the honor of winning the 2022 Julius Perr Innovation Award.

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.

Home Standby Generators are smart tech and a smart choice

illustration of home with generator

This article was authored by Chuck McClaugherty, Bear Electric, a Cummins Authorized Dealer.

Smart phones, smart TVs, virtual assistants, smart thermostats, smart locks and doorbells. Our homes are now filled with smart devices. Unfortunately, most of them become useless without power to run or recharge. This is why homeowners should consider installing one smart device above all other: a home standby generator. 

As a Cummins Authorized Dealer, I install a lot of Cummins QuietConnect™ home standby generators throughout Oregon. With increasingly severe weather, rolling blackouts, and aging power grids, I can tell you without a doubt a backup generator is a worthwhile investment. 

The best part of owning one of these smart devices? You don’t have to tell it when to turn on and off. It does it automatically. 

In a nutshell, here’s the process:

When we install a Cummins home standby generator, we also install a Cummins automatic transfer switch. This transfer switch constantly monitors the electric utility power coming into the home. If it detects a break in service, it will automatically disconnect the home from the electric utility line in a split second and turn on the Cummins generator to power the home instead. The generator is fed either by a natural gas line or by a propane tank.

While the Cummins generator is powering the home, the transfer switch will continue to monitor the electric utility line. Once it detects that power has been restored, it’ll automatically disconnect the generator from the home’s electrical system and reconnect the electric utility.

You don’t have to do anything. Nada. Zilch. The generator and the transfer switch do all the work. In some cases, you may not even realize there’s a power outage until you look out the window and see all your neighbor’s houses are dark.

Just as critical as having a Cummins Authorized Dealer professionally install your backup generator and transfer switch is making sure you choose the right size generator for your home. If it’s too small, the load won’t be able to power everything in the house. If it’s too big, you’ll consume extra natural gas or propane when you use it.

The easiest way to make sure you select the right size generator is to have your dealer do it for you. But if you want to get a feel for how much generator you’re going to need, Cummins has an excellent blog post on calculating the generator wattage you need or you can use the generator size calculator at Cummins.com.

We live in a world full of smart devices. Make sure you can keep yours up and running during power outages with a Cummins QuietConnect home standby generator. To find a dealer near you, use the Cummins dealer locator. Or, if you live in Oregon, just contact me at (503) 678-3417 or [email protected] 

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.

Redirecting to
cummins.com

The information you are looking for is on
cummins.com

We are launching that site for you now.

Thank you.