Could This be the Start of the ‘Rail Renaissance?’

Amtrak in December 2018 announced it was purchasing 75 Charger locomotives with Cummins' QSK95 engines (rendering courtesy of Siemens).
Amtrak in December 2018 announced it was purchasing 75 Charger locomotives with Cummins' QSK95 engines (rendering courtesy of Siemens).

It looks like Siemens’ prediction of a “Rail Renaissance” in North America might just be happening.

Last year, Siemens received contracts for more than 100 of the company’s Charger locomotives – powered by the 4,000 to 4,400 horsepower Cummins’ QSK95 Tier 4 engine systems. The purchases are merely the latest evidence of the growing interest in rail, especially passenger rail, in the U.S. and Canada, advocates say.

Brightline, the passenger rail service in Florida that recently announced it would become Virgin Trains U.S.A. in partnership with entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, said in December it hopes to begin construction in 2019 to extend service from West Palm Beach to Orlando. Brightline has 10 Charger locomotives. 

Meanwhile, Amtrak, which announced Dec. 21, 2018, that it was  purchasing 75 new Charger locomotives, posted record revenues and earnings for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2018.

“Riding trains in North America is ‘in’ again, particularly in the megacities and large metropolitan areas,” Siemens said in a background paper released to the media predicting the “Rail Renaissance” at the UITP Global Public Transport Summit in May 2017 in Montreal, Canada. “Year after year, the volume of passengers is rising, the number of rail routes and networks is growing, rolling stock and infrastructure is being modernized, and politicians are rediscovering the advantages of passenger rail.”

CHARGED UP

The Charger locomotive may be leading the way to that renaissance. Designed to operate at speeds up to 125 miles per hour, the Charger is the first high-speed passenger locomotive to receive Tier 4 emissions certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

It’s only been in service for a little over a year and a half and is already being used by rail systems in Washington, California, Oregon, Illinois, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin, Indiana and Maryland. There are currently 70 Chargers in operation. As of Jan. 8, the locomotives had traveled more than 5 million service miles. 

The 2018 contracts will more than double the number of Charger locomotives in revenue service, and include multi-year parts, service and support agreements in addition to buy options for future purchases. The most recent Amtrak contract will result in the single largest North American rail engine system purchase with aftermarket agreements in Cummins’ history. 

“Cummins is so proud to be a part of this tremendous locomotive, which is not just demonstrating every day it can move people dependably and efficiently, but also deliver significant reductions in particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2),” said Regina Barringer, General Manager – Global Rail and Defense at Cummins.

“Siemens has built a tremendous product that’s having a positive impact across North America, and we’re so glad to be part of that,” she added.

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS

A big part of the Charger’s appeal is its environmental benefits. Cummins’ 16-cylinder QSK95 engine system, a high-speed diesel-electric engine using the latest in clean diesel technology, provides a huge environmental improvement over the medium-speed diesel engines it will be replacing in many cases – some dating back to the 1990s.

The Charger is expected to achieve an approximate 10 percent improvement in CO2 emissions, a nearly 90 percent improvement in NOx and a more than 95 percent improvement in PM. Carbon dioxide is a major contributor to the greenhouse gases (GHGs) blamed for climate change. NOx and PM are key contributors to smog.

Advocates for passenger trains hope a renaissance will translate into more people leaving their cars in the garage, reducing the congestion plaguing many large urban areas in addition to the potential environmental benefits. Studies show a person traveling by rail uses almost half as much energy as by car, resulting in significant additional GHG savings.

While there remain challenges ahead – ranging from aging infrastructure to changing long-established consumer habits – passenger train advocates say they are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  
 

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. blair.claflin@cummins.com

 

Cummins recognized for outstanding work in diversity and inclusion

Cummins has long believed that teams of diverse employees with diverse skill sets and backgrounds are more likely to reach creative solutions for customers.
Cummins has long believed that teams of diverse employees with diverse skill sets and backgrounds are more likely to reach creative solutions for customers.

Cummins recently received three honors for its work in diversity and inclusion, including a perfect score for a 14th consecutive year from the educational arm of the largest LGBTQ civil rights organization in the United States.

Cummins was among 571 businesses receiving perfect scores as part of the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index (CEI). The index was released last week by a foundation affiliated with the HRC.

“The top-scoring companies on this year’s CEI are not only establishing policies that affirm and include employees here in the United States, they are applying these policies to their global operations and impacting millions of people beyond our shores,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. 

The HRC said the CEI was the most comprehensive assessment of workplace lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer inclusion in its 17-year history. The group said it found a growing number of companies have adopted supportive inclusion guidelines for transgender workers who are transitioning. Cummins has had such guidelines for more than five years.

The group also found that 83 percent of companies participating in this year’s CEI offer at least one health care policy that is inclusive of their transgender workers. Cummins has various policies and benefits to support employees transitioning.

OTHER HONORS

Penny Wirsing, SWE President, with Cummins employees Christopher Scott, Stefanie Medina, Ben Schilling and Cheryl Lavalley.
Penny Wirsing, SWE President, with Cummins employees Christopher Scott, Stefanie Medina, Ben Schilling and Cheryl Lavalley.

The other recent honors include recognition last month from the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), which awarded Cummins its We Award for Outstanding Professional Development. 

In 2018, Cummins hosted its sixth in-person, global Cummins Women in Technology Conference. The conference was the largest to date with 138 attendees representing eight countries and all Cummins business segments.

This event was part of the Cummins Technical Women’s Initiative to attract, develop and retain technical women across all levels within all regions.

“Connecting with each other to learn about technical topics, but also to support each other on our journey is invaluable, and this conference helps us do that,” said Cheryl Lavalley, a Marine Engineering Leader at Cummins. 

The company was also recently honored by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), which presented Cummins with its prestigious Chairman’s Award at the group’s 45th annual convention last month in Detroit, Michigan (U.S.A.).

The award recognizes NSBE’s most committed partners who show dedication to the group’s mission to “increase the number of culturally responsible Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.”

Among the initiatives Cummins and NSBE have partnered on is the Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK), the largest summer engineering program geared toward African-American and other underrepresented elementary school youth in the U.S. The three-week program wrapped up its 12th year last summer in Minneapolis, Minnesota where NSBE mentors and Cummins volunteers worked to give students the chance to learn about science, technology, engineering and math in a fun environment.

“It is my hope that NSBE and Cummins will continue to collaborate to increase the number of Black students enrolling in engineering disciplines at the collegiate level and entering the technical workforce as graduates,” said Karl W. Reid, NSBE’s Executive Director.


 

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. blair.claflin@cummins.com

 

Cummins Takes Next Step in 3D Printing and the Future of Manufacturing

Cummins employee Devin Hunter cleans one of the company’s 3D printers at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus, Indiana, before another round of printing. Metal 3D printers could revolutionize manufacturing.
Cummins employee Devin Hunter cleans one of the company’s 3D printers at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus, Indiana, before another round of printing. Metal 3D printers could revolutionize manufacturing.

Cummins has sold its first metal part printed on one of its own 3D printers, moving the company a significant step closer to the exciting potential of additive manufacturing.

The part was a low-volume bracket for a customer in Cummins’ New and ReCon Parts division and did not have a current supplier. The company is focusing first on printing low-volume parts as it studies how best to use 3D technology in higher volume manufacturing.

“With this technology you can really unshackle the designer to do things you just can’t do using traditional forms of manufacturing,” said Brett Boas, Director-Advanced Manufacturing at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.). 

Parts can be made lighter, stronger and more effective using metal 3D printing compared to parts created using more traditional methods that employ molds, molten metal and equipment to precisely cut and shape the part.

3D printed part
The 3D printer technology that produced this metal part could have a major impact on manufacturing in the future.

3D printing creates three-dimensional objects one ultra-thin layer at a time. If the part doesn’t come out quite right, the designer can simply change the computer design file and print it again; a much faster process than using traditional manufacturing techniques to build a test part.

Finally, the technology enables designers to combine multiple parts into one printed object, creating the ideal geometry to avoid potential failures at weldments, gaskets and joint assemblies needed using traditional manufacturing methods.

THE BEGINNING OF A REVOLUTION?

Cummins’ two-pronged strategy for additive manufacturing is part of the company’s take on Industry 4.0, the trend of automation, cloud computing and data driven technology that some call the fourth industrial revolution.  

At Cummins, Industry 4.0 includes everything from collaborative robots to artificial intelligence, augmented reality and the enhanced integration between information technologies and manufacturing operations. 

The company currently has a metal 3D printer at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus and three printers at the company’s technical center devoted to aftermarket products in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Cummins’ operations in San Luis Potosi include a large remanufacturing plant. 

Remanufactured engines and parts provide customers with a low-cost option compared to new parts and engines to meet their power needs. They also require far less energy to produce than new parts while keeping products in use and out of landfills.

The tech center at San Luis Potosi only opened in 2017 and the company has already built an addition for the printers. Cummins plans to print parts there that no longer have a supplier or are made on an extremely limited basis. 

“This provides an avenue for customers looking for hard-to-find parts,” said Kelly R. Schmitz, Executive Director of New and ReCon Parts Engineering, speaking from San Luis Potosi where he was inspecting the installation of the latest printer.  He said metal 3D printing will potentially shave months off the process for customers to get low volume parts.

 “The work we are doing in San Luis Potosi will also provide significant learnings as we prepare to leverage metal 3D printing in high volume production,” Schmitz said.

LOOKING AHEAD

Boas is looking at how the printers could work in high-volume settings. He says that will likely mean investing in the next generation of printers. Binder jet printers use an adhesive between powder layers, which can increase printing speed 20 times or more over the printers the company currently owns.

Cummins engineer leading 3d printing initative
Dr. Adeola “Addy” Olubamiji is Cummins first engineer hired for a full-time position in metal additive manufacturing development. She is based at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus.

It’s that next generation of technology that could make a seismic change in manufacturing. From a supply chain perspective, it means parts are printed on demand, or closer to demand, so fewer parts would need to be stored for use at manufacturing plants.

From an environmental perspective, additive manufacturing also means less waste because the cutting required as part of the tool and die process is eliminated. And it could mean fewer resources used for transportation because parts are no longer made in one location and shipped to another.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, metal 3D printing enables geometry not possible with traditional methods, creating opportunities to improve product performance. 

It becomes significantly easier, for example, to design in weight where it’s needed and take weight out where it’s not, said Dr. Adeola “Addy” Olubamiji, Cummins’ first engineer hired for a full-time position in metal additive manufacturing development. It also means potentially bypassing those connecting parts unavoidable using traditional manufacturing techniques.

When might 3D technology come to high volume manufacturing?

“It’s coming faster than many of us might believe,” Boas said. “I’m thinking as soon as five years. We are at the start of a really interesting time in manufacturing.”

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. blair.claflin@cummins.com

 

Cummins Named to Ethical Companies List for 12th Year in a Row

Cummins was honored recently for its work on ethics and sustainability.
Cummins was honored recently for its work on ethics and sustainability.

Cummins has been named to Ethisphere’s list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for a 12th consecutive year as well as to the FTSE4Good’s index, which measures the performance of companies demonstrating strong environmental, social and governance practices.

The World’s Most Ethical Companies list includes 128 honorees based in 21 countries and engaged in 50 different industries, ranging from aerospace and defense to water and sewerage utilities.

“Today, employees, investors and stakeholders are putting their greatest trust in companies to take leadership on societal issues,” said Ethisphere’s CEO Timothy Erblich.”Companies that take the long view with a purpose-based strategy are proven to not only outperform but last. I congratulate everyone at Cummins for earning this recognition.”

The World's Most Ethical Companies assessment is based upon the Ethisphere Institute’s Ethics Quotient® framework, which offers a quantitative way to assess a company’s performance in an objective, consistent and standardized manner. Companies are asked to answer an extensive survey.

Scores are generated in five key categories: ethics and compliance program (35 percent), culture of ethics (20 percent), corporate citizenship and responsibility (20 percent), governance (15 percent) and leadership and reputation (10 percent). All companies that participate in the assessment process receive their scores, providing them with valuable insights into how they stack up against leading organizations.

“As we celebrate our 100th anniversary, we should all be proud to work for a company that puts integrity at the forefront of everything we do,” said Mark Sifferlen, Cummins Vice President of Ethics and Compliance. “Thank you to all of our employees for living our Code of Conduct and for all you do to make Cummins a world class company and a great place to work.” 

FTSE Russell’s products are used by institutional and retail investors globally. Approximately $16 trillion is currently benchmarked to FTSE Russell indexes. For over 30 years, leading asset owners, asset managers and investment banks have chosen FTSE Russell indexes to benchmark their investment performance and create investment funds.

FTSE Russell gathers information about companies from a number of public sources on a wide range of issues and then asks companies to review its findings and challenge any they deem inaccurate. 
 

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. blair.claflin@cummins.com

 

Cummins Manufacturing: Doing More to Use Less

Cummins’ manufacturing plants are building in ways to reduce their use of water and energy, while producing less waste.
Cummins’ manufacturing plants are building in ways to reduce their use of water and energy, while producing less waste.

Manufacturing and environmentalism don’t often go together. But at Cummins, the two are increasingly working in harmony to help meet the world's demand for goods and services while using fewer of its resources.

The company, for example, expanded its use of the latest technology to capture energy from engine test cells for use at its plants. Cummins is steadily adding high-efficiency LED lighting at its manufacturing facilities, also enhancing safety. And the company recently installed solar panels at its plant in Juarez, Mexico, joining plants in Jamestown, New York; Beijing, China; and eight other Cummins’ locations drawing some of their power from the sun.

These and other steps by the company’s manufacturing operations, working with Cummins’ environmental team, are helping the company make progress toward its 2020 goals to reduce the water and energy it uses and the waste it produces.  

“Our mission to build a more prosperous world can only happen if we take steps now to protect and preserve the environment,” said Tim Millwood, the company’s Vice President of Global Manufacturing. “While I’m proud of the progress we’ve made, there’s definitely a lot more we can do.”

GOAL-DRIVEN RESULTS

The company announced its first public greenhouse gas reduction goal in 2006 and set additional public goals for water, waste, logistics and products-in-use in ensuing years. Currently, Cummins’ targets around water, waste and energy are timed to 2020, but future goals are expected to be announced soon.

Manufacturing leaders have been all-in from the beginning. Relatively easy steps came first, such as investing in LED lighting. Then came controls to use water and energy only when needed, addressing more hidden inefficiencies.

The creation of a group Cummins initially called its Energy Champions and now calls its Environmental Champions has played a key role, said Alan Resnik, Director of Environmental Management for Facilities and Operations at Cummins.  About 1,000 employees from across the globe have been trained to look for savings in water, waste and energy at their plants and facilities. They’ve fixed leaks, replaced inefficient equipment and changed practices. Collectively, the improvements have made a big difference.

Seymour Engine Plant employees stand in front of one of the plant's regen dynos.
Employees at the Seymour Engine Plant stand in front of one of the plants regenerative dynamometers.

Finally, the company has invested in big ticket items such as regenerative dynamometers, also known as regen dynos. One of the biggest uses of energy at Cummins is engine testing. The engines can run for hours, requiring large amounts of fuel. The newest regen dynos capture the energy generated during testing so it can be used at the plant or sent back to the grid. They also use much less water for cooling than conventional dynos.

The latest dyno technology was recently installed at plants in Brazil, India and the United Kingdom. At Cummins’ Seymour, Indiana, Engine Plant, where the company builds some of its biggest engines, the regen dynos generate about 20 percent of the plant’s electricity needs.

These and other steps have led to:

•    A 25 percent reduction in energy intensity (energy use adjusted by hours worked) across Cummins toward a 2020 goal of a 32 percent reduction using 2010 as a baseline.
•    A 47 percent direct water use reduction, adjusted by hours worked, compared to 2010.  Cummins’ 2020 goal is a 50 percent reduction.
•    The company is nearing the half way point for converting lighting to LEDs and has completed dozens of projects to increase Cummins’ use of returnable and recyclable packaging.

“We're using less water and energy.  We're producing less waste,” said Brian Mormino, Executive Director of Worldwide Environmental Strategy and Compliance at Cummins. “And we are saving millions of dollars every year while mitigating risks.”

 A PROMISING FUTURE

Manufacturing leaders say future innovations hold tremendous promise. The company, for example, is working on a system at its Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Engine Plant that will capture all the water used on site and recycle it for heating, cooling and other non-potable uses.

Additive manufacturing, sometimes referred to as 3D printing, also could make a big difference. It creates three-dimensional objects one ultra-thin layer at a time. Elizabeth Hoegeman, Executive Director of Global Manufacturing Engineering at Cummins, said the process should reduce waste by eliminating the need for molds and dies to create a part.

Perhaps more importantly, 3D printing can make it much faster for new ideas, including those beneficial to the environment, to be designed, tested and adopted, Hoegeman said. While the technology is still developing for high volume industrial use, Cummins’ remanufacturing in Mexico recently sold its first 3D printed part.

Finally, Cummins is looking to see if tools such as computer-based Analysis Led Design and improvements in quality control might enable the company to reduce the time engines run in test cells.

While there are many challenges ahead, Millwood says this is an exciting time to work in manufacturing.    

“What we make and how we make it will help shape what our world looks like in 2050 and beyond,” he said. “That’s an awesome responsibility, and a tremendous opportunity.”
  

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. blair.claflin@cummins.com

 

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