Today’s modern diesel engine is an impressive feat of innovation. Cummins Inc. is no stranger to innovation. In fact, the company spends $1 billion annually on research and technology across its product portfolio with 11,000 of the brightest engineers innovating for their customers. Today the company is taking a look at three of the innovations that have shaped the advanced diesel engines that are relied upon by so many different industries.
1. Digital Tools
The advent of the computer age revolutionized many industries and had an incredible impact on diesel engines. Integrating computer components into diesel engines improved the efficiency and overall performance. The computer in your diesel engine integrates with the ignition system, fuel injection process, emission system, transmission, exhaust system and more. Beyond these basic integrations, computer technology has optimized the advanced diesel engines of today with additional digital hardware, applications and capabilities, mobile applications, and digital hardware. Cummins offers a full suite of digital products and capabilities* that enhance the entire life of your Cummins engine. These include:
● Remote Engine Monitoring
Cummins now offers PrevenTech®, its newest remote engine monitoring and advanced analytics tool. PrevenTech® helps enhance operational efficiency for applications including trucking, mining, marine, and rail by using connectivity and data to monitor equipment health remotely and connect our customers to the industry’s largest service network.
● Predictive Service
Cummins now offers industry-first Predictive Service Insights, which alert truck fleets and service locations when specific components are likely to fail – providing a service recommendation allowing them to plan a replacement before an actual failure occurs. This technology is powered by data directly from the engine – helping customers avoid unplanned and costly downtime. These insights are available via PrevenTech® and can be found in Cummins’ genuine services tools including Guidanz®, INLINE™, and Quickserve Online.
● Over-the-Air Capabilities
In the past, if you wanted to update the ECM (engine control module) software or engine parameters on a vehicle, you had to bring it to a service center or in-house repair location. Now, you can complete both of these service tasks over the air with Cummins’ application OptiTech®. OptiTech® allows you to update ECM software and a program a range of engine parameters from anywhere, using over-the-air technology. Allowing customers to adjust for changing terrain, duty cycles or driving preferences.
● New Engine Technology
In February of 2020, Cummins announced its first connectivity-enabled X15 Efficiency series engine and new Endurant™ HD powertrain for Freightliner Trucks. This innovative technology included Cummins’ advanced engine computing module, known as Acumen®. This connects to Cummins’ technology platform for direct access to digital apps, over the air product enhancements, and future service integrations; able to securely communicate information through cellular connectivity, engines with Acumen® provide a deeper understanding of how vehicles operate in different environments and varying duty cycles. The new insights will be used to enhance machine learning and deliver more customized products and services.
*Your engine may not be eligible for all of Cummins’ digital products and capabilities. Please check with a Cummins representative, your original equipment manufacturer, or telematics service provider.
2. Emissions Reduction
Today's clean diesel engines emit 90% less harmful emissions that the engines produced before the year 2000. The aim of reducing emissions has led to increased efficiencies without sacrificing performance. Advancements in technology and clean diesel technology have helped diesel engines continue to improve. Important emissions reduction innovations by Cummins include:
● Optimized Powertrain Functionality
Technology has played a vital role in helping reduce emissions. The new smart powertrains with Acumen® and Endurant™ HD improve fuel economy and significantly reduce emissions. For example, predictive gear shifting uses a combination of cameras, sensors, and traffic data to proactively upshift or downshift a vehicle based on upcoming road conditions. It allows the gears to change automatically, improving fuel efficiency and reducing mechanical straining on the transmission and associated parts. Other unique Cummins powertrain features include On-Ramp Boost, dynamic power, and hill roll-out.
● Aftertreatment Systems
Emissions standards continue to evolve, meaning commercial vehicles with old diesel engine specifications aren’t up to the current standard. That’s why Cummins offers a wide range of aftertreatment technologies to meet these constantly evolving regulations. These aftertreatment systems contain Cummins Particulate Filter, which collects and oxidizes carbon to remove particulate matter by more than 90%. Once the particulate matter is removed, there is still nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide left in the exhaust. In order to reduce these levels, an injection process introduces urea to convert these toxic emissions into harmless nitrogen gas and water vapor. This effectively eliminates harmful emissions resulting in reduced emissions from the exhaust.
3. Fuel-agnostic Engines
Derived from the diesel engine working principle, Cummins fuel-agnostic engine platforms are intentionally designed with commonality in mind. The series of engine versions come from a common base engine, sharing many of the same parts and components below the head gasket. Above the head gasket, there are different components for different fuel sources, allowing customers to choose from diesel, natural gas, and hydrogen to customize their transitions to zero emissions. Built on a legacy of innovation and dependability, Cummins leveraged research and insights from the millions of diesel and natural gas engines they have manufactured to design these reliable, fuel-agnostic platforms. This is an industry first, and this technology approach will be applied across Cummins’ product portfolio.
Cummins: Envisioning the Future of Diesel Engines in the U.S. and Beyond
Always innovating. That’s not just a slogan for Cummins, it’s their default setting. The company knows the future pulls us forward, and in order to keep up, Cummins must constantly meet that challenge. However good Cummins is today, they know the best is yet to come. The innovations listed above are just the beginning for the company, and they’re excited to continually reinvent the future of advanced diesel engines. Learn more about Cummins and their vision for the future.