Cum­mins banks on ad­vanced pow­er­train tech­nolo­gies

Look­ing at In­dia as an im­por­tant mar­ket, Cum­mins Inc. is bank­ing on ad­vanced pow­er­train tech­nolo­gies to be a provider of choice.

Auto components India - - CONTENTS - Story by: Ashish Bha­tia

Cum­mins Inc. has an­nounced an in­vest­ment of Rs 1000 crore to Rs 1500 crore to set up a tech­nol­ogy cen­tre in Pune, and of Rs 300 crore to de­velop BS-VI tech­nolo­gies and ex­pan­sion of man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties at Phal­tan.

Said to be the big­gest among its tech­nol­ogy cen­tres, the Pune project is ex­pected to go on stream in a few months. Srikanth Pad­man­ab­han, Pres­i­dent, Cum­mins Engine Busi­ness, said that a trans­for­ma­tion has been un­der way at Cum­mins In­dia, and in line with the global growth strat­egy of the par­ent, a con­scious align­ment of prod­uct port­fo­lio has been on to make it ‘fit-for-mar­ket’. Cum­mins is keen to pro­vide a host of in­te­grated so­lu­tions and the ‘pow­er­train provider of choice’,

The com­pany will give im­por­tance to R&D and elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of pow­er­trains to be a su­per pow­er­train provider for com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles. De­scrib­ing In­dia as a key mar­ket for the com­pany, Pad­man­ab­han said that “the fo­cus will be on en­ergy di­ver­sity, con­nec­tiv­ity and au­to­ma­tion. The dis­rup­tive mar­ket driv­ers that have stemmed from a spate of reg­u­la­tions are com­pelling Cum­mins to lower the car­bon foot­print, and ap­ply rel­e­vant tech­nolo­gies”.

New pow­er­train tech­nolo­gies

Cum­mins wants to of­fer ad­vanced pow­er­train tech­nolo­gies by lever­ag­ing its global know-how in com­bi­na­tion with the ca­pa­bil­i­ties it has built in In­dia. Cum­mins is tap­ping new op­por­tu­ni­ties for its engine and com­po­nents prod­uct port­fo­lio to be a lead­ing provider of ad­vanced com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle elec­tri­fi­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies, Pad­man­ab­han said. Spe­cial­is­ing in turbo and af­ter-treat­ment

tech­nolo­gies, the com­pany wants to work closely with its clients and help them to fol­low the new reg­u­la­tions.

Cum­mins wants to pass on the ben­e­fits to the end cus­tomer by dig­ging into its tech­no­log­i­cal know-how, and by lever­ag­ing its ca­pa­bil­i­ties as the mar­ket moves to BS-VI emis­sion reg­u­la­tions, and looks at al­ter­nate propul­sion medi­ums. “We will con­tinue to do both for fuel ef­fi­ciency and to­tal cost of ownership,” Pad­man­ab­han said. Ad­di­tional work on the sim­u­la­tion of the engine would be done for the Su­perTruck I and Su­perTruck II. The R&D ac­tiv­ity of the com­pany is di­vided be­tween the base engine and com­po­nents, he said.

In 2010, the US Depart­ment of En­ergy (DoE) ini­ti­ated the Su­perTruck pro­gramme to im­prove long-haul Class 8 ve­hi­cle freight ef­fi­ciency, a met­ric us­ing pay­load weight and fuel ef­fi­ciency de­fined as tonne-miles per gal­lon. Three projects are un­der way. One is a Cum­mins-Peter­bilt project. The other 2 are pro­grammes in­volv­ing Daim­ler Trucks North Amer­ica, and Nav­is­tar Inc, re­spec­tively. Dubbed as Su­perTruck II, the 5-year $160-mil­lion pro­gramme will see the 4 teams that par­tic­i­pated in the Su­perTruck I project to look at far ex­ceed­ing the re­sults achieved in the ear­lier project.

On Su­perTruck I, the par­tic­i­pants spent $258 mil­lion – a com­bi­na­tion of fed­eral fund­ing and their own money. Su­perTruck II is look­ing for a 100% in­crease in freight-haul­ing ef­fi­ciency and a new engine-ef­fi­ciency stan­dard of 55%, a 31% in­crease from a 2009 base­line mea­sure­ment. While freight ef­fi­ciency is the amount of freight car­ried and miles trav­elled for each gal­lon of fuel con­sumed, engine ef­fi­ciency, known as Brake Ther­mal Ef­fi­ciency (BTE), is the ra­tio of fuel en­ergy con­verted to power out­put at the engine’s crankshaft. The in­dus­try av­er­age BTE for a 2009 Class 8 engine was 42%. The goal of Su­perTruck I was 50%. The goal of Su­perTruck II is 100%.

Tech­no­log­i­cal suc­cess

Ap­ply­ing the tech­no­log­i­cal suc­cess of Su­perTruck projects to real world CVs, es­pe­cially Class 8 trucks, Cum­mins re­leased X15 engine se­ries, a new diesel engine pis­ton de­sign and tur­bocharg­ing sys­tem for Volvo Trucks North Amer­ica. A re­designed 13-litre N13 engine is claimed to use sev­eral Su­perTruck project-de­vel­oped im­prove­ments, in­clud­ing new con­trol logic and a high-ef­fi­ciency com­bus­tion sys­tem. “The fo­cus is to lever­age elec­tron­ics in the in­ter­est of con­nected tech­nolo­gies and in­tel­li­gence,” Pad­man­ab­han said. In the realm of pow­er­train in­te­gra­tion, the com­pany is look­ing to in­te­grate the engine, trans­mis­sion, axles, and brakes in an ef­fort to of­fer higher value. Con­nected soft­ware, over the air cal­i­bra­tions, di­ag­nos­tics and prog­nos­tics, Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence (AI) and Data An­a­lyt­ics (DA) are the key fo­cus ar­eas.

“Pow­er­train de­vel­op­ment is driven by chang­ing emis­sion norms. It is ap­pli­ca­tion-driven in niche mar­kets,” Brett Mer­ritt, Gen­eral Man­ager, Global On-High­way Engine Busi­ness, said. The B-Se­ries en­gines are the largest sell­ing and has a large mar­ket share in South Amer­ica, North Amer­ica, In­dia and China,” he said. Mod­i­fy­ing the B-Se­ries engine to ac­com­mo­date a four­cylin­der ver­sion from light-duty cy­cles, Cum­mins has come to have an abil­ity to of­fer tai­lored so­lu­tions.

In China, the com­pany builds a 12-litre engine since the power and torque needs fail to jus­tify the use

of a 15-litre engine. Rather than costs, the evo­lu­tion of en­gines is in­creas­ingly linked with emis­sions. Costs mat­ter, but tech­nol­ogy and util­i­sa­tion are tak­ing prece­dence. “There is a need to set aside fu­ture tech­nolo­gies. They will start playing out in the next 5 years,” Mer­ritt said.


Cum­mins is work­ing to of­fer fully-elec­tric pow­er­trains by 2019. Range ex­tended en­gines will be of­fered a year later. These, ac­cord­ing to Pad­man­ab­han, would be aimed at buses, pick­ups and de­liv­ery vans. As a sys­tem in­te­gra­tor, the com­pany is look­ing at both, a bat­tery-elec­tric and a range ex­ten­der. Fo­cus ar­eas in the realm of com­po­nents in­clude align­ing ma­te­ri­als to the vi­sion of at­tain­ing a fully-elec­tric pow­er­train. Fo­cus is on bat­tery pack man­age­ment rather than the bat­tery cells. Power elec­tron­ics from a ther­mal man­age­ment point of view is an­other area of fo­cus for Cum­mins. The ul­ti­mate ob­jec­tive is to come up with a so­lu­tion that is re­li­able and of high qual­ity. Hy­brid pow­er­trains would be of­fered for heavy-duty ap­pli­ca­tions ini­tially, he said.

“Elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of the aux­il­iaries is the need of the hour. By 2019, a cost- ef­fec­tive start-up so­lu­tion with spe­cific duty cy­cles will find its way to the In­dian mar­ket,” Mer­ritt said. The joint ven­ture be­tween Cum­mins and Ea­ton for M&HCVs, started in April 2017, will of­fer an Au­to­mated Man­ual Trans­mis­sion (AMT) prod­uct port­fo­lio in the US. Ea­ton will bring a strong brand and ser­vice pres­ence, and a sig­nif­i­cant mar­ket share on the heavy duty side. Cum­mins will bring its engine ex­per­tise and a strong pres­ence to the ta­ble. To work in the in­ter­est of a sus­tain­able prod­uct plan for 5 years, the JV will fo­cus on the de­vel­op­ment of ad­vanced AMTs and in­te­grated pow­er­trains. It will also look at the de­vel­op­ment of a ser­vice net­work, and help de­sign, as­sem­ble and sup­port all fu­ture M&HCV au­to­mated trans­mis­sions. The JV is ex­pected to ex­pand its pres­ence to the world mar­kets, in­clud­ing In­dia.

The de­mand for re­duc­tion in car­bon foot­print and in­crease in fuel ef­fi­ciency will con­tinue to be a sig­nif­i­cant call­ing fac­tor as far as tech­nol­ogy is con­cerned, Jen­nifer Rum­sey, Vice Pres­i­dent and Chief Tech­ni­cal Of­fi­cer, Cum­mins Inc., said.

The fu­ture

Diesel may con­tinue to play a sig­nif­i­cant role in some of the mar­kets that Cum­mins is present in for a long time. The trend for the fu­ture seems to paint a con­trast­ing pic­ture point­ing at a move away from diesel. Rum­sey said that “they will con­tinue to evolve and we will pro­vide a su­per power so­lu­tion for CVs for trans­porta­tion, off-high­way, and sta­tion­ary ap­pli­ca­tions,” she ex­plained.

The su­per power so­lu­tion in­cludes a con­tin­ued fo­cus on the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion engine and its key com­po­nents. Aware that the suc­cess in In­dian mar­ket de­pends on the abil­ity to be fru­gal, Cum­mins is work­ing to­wards meet­ing the BS-VI chal­lenge. Pur­su­ing the ‘fit for mar­ket’ strat­egy in In­dia, the com­pany is ad­dress­ing the need for a unique de­sign and build method­ol­ogy. “I am con­fi­dent that this will in­crease speed as well as out­put. This is a crit­i­cal pe­riod for the In­dian mar­ket. The NOx lev­els on high­ways are ex­pected to go down by 30% this year. They are ex­pected to go down by 90% when BS-VI emis­sion norms are en­forced”, Rum­sey said.

Ac­cord­ing to Sherry Aa­holm, Vice Pres­i­dent and Chief In­for­ma­tion Of­fi­cer, the com­pany, through ‘Dig­i­tal Ac­cel­er­a­tor’ ini­tia­tive is tak­ing new busi­ness con­cepts from the idea stage to com­mer­cial stage by lever­ag­ing re­sources from busi­ness units and func­tions.

“One such new ven­ture is Zed Con­nect which of­fers a smart­phone app. called ed. It was de­signed to elec­tron­i­cally log hours for truck driv­ers and pro­vide other key fea­tures for driv­ers and fleet. For such tech­nolo­gies to come to In­dia may take time. We will need ad­vanced pow­er­trains that will help CV mak­ers to be BSVI emis­sion stan­dards com­pli­ant,” Aa­holm said.

Cum­mins will of­fer ad­vanced pow­er­train tech­nolo­gies by tap­ping new op­por­tu­ni­ties in the area of en­gines and com­po­nents.

Srikanth Pad­man­ab­han, Pres­i­dent, Cum­mins Engine Busi­ness, stressed on R&D and elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle pow­er­trains.

Jen­nifer Rum­sey, Vice Pres­i­dent and Chief Tech­ni­cal Of­fi­cer, Cum­mins Inc., “The Ea­ton JV will help ad­dress the de­mand for car­bon foot­print re­duc­tion and fuel ef­fi­ciency rise.

Sherry Aa­holm, Vice Pres­i­dent and Chief In­for­ma­tion Of­fi­cer, pointed at the dig­i­tal ac­cel­er­a­tor ini­tia­tive.

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