Dawn of a new chapter for Darlington

Cummins Darlington
Cummins Darlington, UK

Almost 200 years after George Stephenson’s Locomotion No.1, the first engine to pull a passenger train on a public railway, steamed through its green and pleasant countryside, the town of Darlington in the north-east of England is looking forward to a new era in the global industrial limelight.

Locomotion No. 1 conferred historic status on Darlington, which thrived as the hub of manufacturing for the modern railway age, becoming a magnet for the best engineering talent in the land.

Today, fresh history is being written as Darlington and the wider Tees Valley region takes centre stage in the quest to advance the green economy.

Cummins has been manufacturing in Darlington since 1965.  Around 1,500 people work at the plant across engine assembly, exhaust aftertreatment manufacture, technical operations and business support functions.

Sixty-six thousand engines were produced in Darlington in 2021, and in January 2022 the factory celebrated a historic landmark: its 1.5 millionth mid-range engine.

Spanning a range of 75 to 430 hp, Cummins’ ultra-clean low emission engines power a wide range of truck, bus, construction, agriculture, material handling, military, marine and power generation applications around the world.

Cummins has always been at the leading edge of power solutions, determined to give its customers premium products thanks to the integrity of the design, engineering and their legendary reliability.

That zeal for innovation and quality is now being applied on the pathway to zero carbon, and Cummins announced that its European Technical Centre in Darlington will take a lead role in developing a hydrogen-fuelled internal combustion engine (H2-ICE).

The Government-backed Brunel Project, named after another pioneer of the modern industrial age Isambard Kingdom Brunel, has received funding of £14.6 million through the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre’s Collaborative R&D competition, which backs businesses developing green automotive technology.

Tests are already under way on a medium-duty Cummins 6.7-litre and a heavy-duty 15-litre engine to help decarbonise commercial vehicles and construction equipment.

The Brunel Project dovetails perfectly with plans to turn the Tees Valley into a Transport Hydrogen Hub, the first of its kind in the UK.

Around the world, Cummins is investing heavily across a range of technologies to support hydrogen-based transportation including the aforementioned hydrogen engines, fuel cells, electrolysers and storage tanks.

Trains, delivery trucks and ferries powered by Cummins-produced hydrogen fuel cells are already in commercial service.

The transformative work being done by Cummins was recognised during the COP26 summit in Glasgow as His Royal Highness Prince Charles announced the company was one of 45 inaugural recipients of the Terra Carta Seal, awarded for what the Prince said was a “serious commitment to putting nature, people and the planet at the heart of the economy”.

Cummins has been part of the fabric of life in Darlington and the north-east of England for almost 60 years, a ready and welcoming home for the skilled workforce that was at risk of being lost with the closure of the railyards. It has turned ‘Made in Darlington’ into a genuine seal of honour across its export markets.

As one of the highest profile businesses within the Tees Valley Combined Authority, an area which covers Darlington and four other boroughs (Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees), Cummins is happy to lend its considerable weight to the campaign to boost the fortunes of the region.

The Tees Valley strategic economic plan sets out plans to create 25,000 jobs and add £2.8bn to the local economy by 2026, helped by substantial high-profile investments that have already been made in Teesside International Airport at Darlington, Teesside Freeport at Redcar and at Teesworks, the UK’s largest industrial zone, focused on sustainable and low-carbon activity.

Darlington is also where you will find the UK Government’s new Northern Economic Campus, housing officials from the Treasury, Department for International Trade (DTI), Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The term ‘levelling up’ has become embedded in U.K. political language since the General Election of 2019. It is an admission that certain areas, including the north-east of England, have been left behind in terms of investment compared to London and the south-east of the country, requiring action to redress the balance.

Taking up the mantle, The Northern Echo newspaper created its Level Up platform where businesses and other partners across northern England can come together to celebrate their achievements and promote the virtues of the region.

Steve Nendick, Cummins Marketing Communications Director, said Level Up would give the North East a louder voice, helping to pull in further investment.

There is certainly much to be gained by Cummins, which knows it needs to attract and retain high-calibre individuals if it is to fulfil its bold ambitions for a zero-carbon future as set out in its visionary Destination Zero and PLANET 2050 corporate strategy.

The strategy sets out an aggressive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, volatile organic compound emissions, water consumption and waste of all kinds.

Cummins is creating a ‘circular’ lifecycle plan for every part it manufactures to use less, use better and use again.

“Here in the North East, we want to be a strong contributor and bring value to the region in which we live and work,” said Steve. “We want to provide a great place to work with well-paid jobs and career development opportunities. We want to strengthen our communities by supporting local initiatives and charities, and we want to design and produce high quality products for our customers, reducing our overall impact on the environment in the process.

“The North East has some exciting long-term opportunities. This region already has lots going for it just ask Nissan, which has been operating successfully here since the mid-1980s, and Britishvolt, which chose to build its giant Gigaplant for lithium-ion batteries at the old Blyth Power Station – but it’s going to get even better if we can keep the investment coming in.”

Elsewhere in Europe, Cummins is striking out with major investments of its own to ensure the right infrastructure is available to deliver on its ambitious plans for electric and hydrogen capabilities.

In Spain, Cummins partners with Iberdrola to lead the green hydrogen value chain and therefore has invested in opening a brand new facility in Castilla-La-Mancha to cater to the increasing demand for electrolyzers. While in Germany, Cummins has opened a new facility in Herten to support the production of fuel cell systems for the hundreds of hydrogen trains scheduled to enter service over the next few years across Europe. The trains, built by Alstom, run clean and quiet, emitting nothing more than water vapour.

Steve Nendick believes that with the right investment, England’s North East can be a hub for the design and deployment of world-leading sustainable technologies.

“There is a tremendous buzz around the place right now,” says Steve. “I’m positive that there are more glory days ahead for Darlington and the region. We were the cradle for the railways, and we could well be the cradle of the next big industrial revolution – and this one will be coloured green.”

Cummins Inc. and EDF Renewables enters into a distributed photovoltaic Power Purchase Agreement

contract signing ceremony

Covering seven manufacturing entities with a total installed capacity of 16.5 MWp, reducing carbon emissions in facilities and operations significantly.

Cummins China and EDF Renewables signed a distributed photovoltaic PowerPurchase Agreement in Beijing, aiming to cut down electricity consumption from traditional grids and reduce carbon emissions in Cummins facilities & operations. Cummins will provide the roof & ground space and will consume the generated solar power, EDF Renewables will be responsible for the investment, installation and operation of solar PV generation equipment. WANG Ning, Vice President of Cummins, and Erwann Debos, CEO of EDF Renewables China, completed the signing of the contract on behalf of both parties. 

EDF is a global leader in renewable energy, including wind and solar. EDF Renewables has profound technical capabilities and service experience in the field of photovoltaic power generation. The partnership will install distributed photovoltaic power generation system at 7 manufacturing entities in Beijing, Wuxi, Wuhan, Chongqing and Liuzhou . With a total installed capacity of 16.5 MW, the project can provide about 280 million kWh of power generation in 20 years, saving about 158,000 tons of carbon emissions. 

"We are pleased that Cummins and EDF are working together in the field of distributed photovoltaics to provide new opportunities for Cummins to expand green energy consumption and reduce emissions from plant operations. It will help Cummins achieve renewable electricity use accounting for more than 10% of total electricity consumption by 2023 in China region. This project will further enable our capability in green production and operation, and position us well for sustainable development,” said WANG Ning. 

At present, the use of building roof to install photovoltaic system is a very effective way for corporate customers to reduce their carbon emissions. Cummins and EDF signed a 20-year power purchase contract, which can achieve carbon emission reduction targets and electricity cost savings at the same time. 

Erwann Debos said at the signing ceremony, "We are honored to provide Cummins with distributed photovoltaic Renewables solutions to help Cummins achieve its PLANET 2050 strategic goals. EDF Renewables aims to work hand in hand with customers to provide the most advanced integrated energy management solutions around the low-carbon transformation of enterprises, and to empower the global energy transition."

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-Meritor honing in on zero-emissions strategy in Asia Pacific

Cummins-Meritor Asia Pacific employees gathered in a room

Cummins Inc. has reinvented itself in recent years to become a genuine powertrain company, a move enhanced by the acquisition of leading axle and brake supplier Meritor.

Cummins Asia Pacific leadership team recently met with Meritor employees, including Meritor Australia managing director David Cole, in Melbourne. “We’re excited to have you all join the Cummins family,” said Peter Jensen-Muir, Executive Managing Director of Cummins Asia Pacific.

“The thing that is really strong in terms of integration of our two companies is the alignment of values. Meritor’s core values are integrity, excellence, teamwork and respect while Cummins’ values include diversity and inclusion and caring. These values are very similar in that they are aligned with respect.” 

Jensen-Muir remarked that another key benefit of the Cummins-Meritor integration, especially due to the ensuing business growth, would be career opportunities across the various business units. “There will be lots of opportunities for our employees across Asia Pacific to build strong and rewarding career paths in the years to come,” he added.

Destination Zero, Cummins' strategy to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, key discussion point

For Cummins, the acquisition of Meritor will enable the accelerated development of electrified powertrain solutions. “Together, we’re in a really strong position to help our on-highway and off-highway customers navigate decarbonisation into the future,” said Jensen-Muir.

Meritor’s advanced ePowertrain, in particular, is seen as a vital integration point within hybrid and electric drivetrains and is critical to delivering market-leading solutions to customers. 

Cummins Asia Pacific Director and General Manager of On-Highway, Mike Fowler, said Cummins-Meritor had a “moral obligation to address global warming”. 

“Between now and 2050, by improving the products we sell today and advancing the internal combustion engine and drivetrain, we can continue emissions abatement at a much faster rate than waiting for that light-switch event – the commercialisation of zero emissions technology,” he said.

Fowler pointed out that widespread customer adoption of new technologies could only be achieved through scale. “One of the benefits of the Cummins-Meritor integration is that we will be able to achieve far greater scale which will help us commercialise zero emissions technology faster.”

Cummins will continue to significantly invest in current combustion technology to ensure any new products had better fuel economy than the products customers had bought previously.

Looking to future decades, Fowler said 2030-2040 would see a lot of competing technologies, but it was Cummins prediction that the internal combustion engine – whether it be fueled by advanced diesel, hydrogen or natural gas – would likely reach peak volume near the end of that decade. 

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 aboard the e-bus express

Cummins bus parked by plant facility

It’s all aboard the e-bus express in Australia and New Zealand as electric buses seem to be on an unstoppable rise, with an almost bewildering array of supplier promises and products dominating the public transport scene.

The overwhelming trend towards the rapid electrification of public transport bus fleets is happening globally as governments commit to a zero emissions future with bold plans and increasing action to decarbonise bus fleets. In Australia and New Zealand, governments have established clear timelines to decarbonise their fleets and have committed heavily to both trials and purchases of zero-emission buses.

So where does that leave Cummins, the largest single supplier of diesel engines to the Australian bus and coach industry? 

“Cummins is perfectly positioned to be a key player in the electric bus market, wherever that market is globally and whether it be with battery-electric or hydrogen fuel cell electric technology,” says Andrew Steele, Bus and Coach business manager for Cummins Asia Pacific.

Cummins is investing billions of dollars in alternative powertrain technologies as it commits to net-zero carbon by 2050 under its Destination Zero strategy which is to go further, faster to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) and air quality impacts of its products.

“Technological innovation, brand reputation and credibility are core to Cummins’ history, and they are now more important than ever as new technologies and suppliers emerge in the burgeoning market,” he says. 

“Cummins has built up and acquired excellent capabilities in electrification, hydrogen fuel cells, and hydrogen generation technologies to accelerate the path to zero emissions. The acquisition of Meritor is also bringing some fantastic electric powertrain components into the Cummins  family.”

In the US, hundreds of school buses feature Cummins’ battery-electric technology while the country’s leading producer of heavy-duty transit buses, Gillig, last year celebrated the delivery of its 100th electric bus in partnership with Cummins. 

While all the buzz is around electrification, there are challenges in adopting electric vehicles at scale, including purchase cost, energy supply infrastructure, electricity grid impacts, and skilling up to maintain and operate a fleet of electric buses. 

“While Cummins is accelerating the transition to zero-emission technologies, we do acknowledge many operators are heavily invested in their existing diesel fleets which will remain in service for many years. In the short-term, there may also be a need to purchase new diesel buses while some of the challenges of getting to zero-emissions are resolved,” says Andrew Steele.

“Either way, Cummins diesel engines will continue to provide increasingly clean, affordable power to customers in the decades ahead and Cummins is committed to supporting those customers.”  
Cummins sees the internal combustion engine (ICE) as an important transitory technology before Destination Zero is reached. 

“Net-zero emissions is the ultimate goal, however the pathway to this target may require some transition through lower carbon solutions, while the technology and infrastructure challenges of zero emissions vehicles are solved,” he says.

“There are still significant gains Cummins can achieve with diesel internal combustion engine technology in reducing atmospheric pollutants. Our Euro 6 engine, for example, slashes particulate matter by 50% and oxides of nitrogen by 80% compared with the Euro 5 engine.”

Cummins is developing ‘fuel agnostic’ platforms for its new-gen B, L and X-series engines. Each engine series will be available with diesel, natural gas or hydrogen fuelling while achieving high parts commonality. For each engine series, everything below the head gasket will be common components, while above the head gasket will be different components for the specific fuel type.

As Cummins pursues its aspiration to power customer success with net-zero emission technologies by 2050, Srikanth Padmanabhan, President of Cummins Inc. Engine Business, states: “Getting to zero is not a light-switch event. Carbon emissions that we put into the atmosphere today will have a lasting impact. This means anything we can do to start reducing the carbon footprint today is a win for the planet.

“Having a variety of lower carbon options is particularly important considering the variation in duty cycles and operating environments across the many markets we serve. There is no single solution or ‘magic bullet’ that will work for all application types or all end users.”

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 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.

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