One of the most valuable benefits of membership in the NAFTC is the privilege of attending our bi-annual instructor updates. For an automotive instructor, the ability to receive training and first hand information from firms such as BOC Gases, Toyota and Ford is priceless beyond compare! Our latest instructor update took place August 8 & 9 in Columbus, Indiana, the home of Cummins, Inc.
During our intense, two-day stay, 25 NAFTC instructors were able to tour three major manufacturing facilities of Cummins Engines & Components and also attend three workshops led by Cummins senior personnel.
1st Stop: Cummins Midrange Engine Plant (CMEP)
Monday morning the group traveled to Walesboro, Indiana, home of the Cummins Midrange Duty Engine Plant (CMEP). This facility was designed to blend into its natural environment. This was accomplished by building the plant down into the earth and surrounding it with earthen berms so that only the upper areas of the plant are visible. To avoid the unsightly expanse of a parking lot, the factory roof is utilized as the parking lot. Entrance to the plant is gained via numerous elevator shafts and stairwells, which lead from the roof to the main floor below. Much of the upper plant walls are made of glass. As a result even though the plant is set into the earth there is plenty of natural light inside.
This plant produces a 5.9 litre inline 6 cylinder turbocharged diesel engine with twin overhead camshafts, 4 valves per cylinder, and Bosch Common Rail (high pressure) fuel injection. The Engine is so clean it is able to meet emissions standards without the use of Exhaust Gas Regeneration (EGR)! These engines are being manufactured exclusively for Daimler-Chrysler and are installed into the Dodge Ram series of light and medium duty trucks.
Consortium members were led in small groups through the plant by Cummins engineers who allowed us to view the entire process, from machining of the block castings, through assembly, to final testing, painting and shipping.
Working five days a week in 3 shifts, the unionized plant is presently producing just over 800 engines per day. We were told that plant management anticipates increasing production to 1000 units per day to satisfy customer demand. This will require the plant to operate on Saturdays as well.
2nd Stop: Cummins Industrial Center (CIC)
We departed the CMEP plant and headed further south along Interstate 65 to Seymour, Indiana. This is the home of the Cummins-Komatsu High Horsepower Engine Plant (Cummins Industrial Center or CIC).
Where the midrange duty plant (CMEP) was highly automated and producing only one engine series, the high horsepower plant was a completely different experience.
The high horsepower plant produces a wide variety of both Diesel (CI) and gaseous fueled (SI) engines in sizes ranging from the 14.8 litre (903ci) V-8 used by the US Military as motive power for armored vehicles in Iraq to 15 litre, 30 litre and even 60 litre power units. All of these engines are essentially assembled by hand at the rate of only 2 to 3 per day! Each engine is fully run and tested in huge test cells installed within the plant. We saw a pair of 15 litre units that had just been completed and were being prepared for shipment to Germany where they will be installed in a hybrid locomotive. Most noticeable on these two engines was the special oil pan that they required so that they could be mounted flat on their sides in the locomotive rather than upright as is usually the case.
After lunch, 3rd Stop: Cummins Fuel Systems Plant
Clessie Cummins patented his own fuel injection system for Cummins engines and Cummins continues to design and manufacture their own fuel injection systems to this day. The group divided into two groups for the plant tour. Led by the director of quality assurance, Alex Guluk and development engineer Stephani Serrufino, we were shown the process of producing and testing both the pumps and the precision injector barrels, which are machined to tolerances of less than 0.5 microns. Alex Guluk talked to the group about the upcoming ultra low sulfur fuels (ULSD) and the effects it may have on fuel systems components. Cummins research has shown that the additives that are being added to ULSD to enhance lubricity are so aggressive that they are causing swelling and cracking of the sealing O-Rings used throughout the system. This then causes the systems to leak. These additives are being evaluated by Cummins.
4th Stop: Meeting with Cummins Service Training Manager
After the plant tour, consortium members gathered in the conference room at the Fuels Systems Plant for a presentation by Fred Murphy, director of service training for Cummins, Inc. Mr. Murphy introduced the group to Cummins virtual training program which is available through Cummins regional distributors. A discussion followed between Mr. Murphy and several NAFTC instructors as to the benefits of this training program and the training needs of medium and heavy duty technicians.
Tuesday Morning: Cummins Technical Center
The Consortium spent the entire day at the Tech Center, home to all of Cummins research and developments efforts. The center is a 6 level facility with labs, offices, its own cafeteria and 89 test cells for the testing, evaluation, development and certification of Cummins products.
After arriving at the center we were divided into two groups for a tour of the test cells and labs. Senior Performance Engineer, Genevieve Cregar explained the operation of the Cummins Emission Lab; an EPA certified emissions lab where Cummins products receive their certifications as being in compliance with EPA standards. Genevieve explained the basic workings of the sampling process, the precision weighing room where the emissions products are accurately weighed to calculate the grams per brake horsepower figures that are required by Federal regulators. She also explained that a continuous in-house audit program is also carried out in this lab to assure ongoing compliance with EPA regulations. The group was also able to see a Cummins-Westport natural gas engine operating in a test cell to evaluate a new type of spark plug. We toured the hydraulics lab where all manner of engine components are hydraulically tortured to asses their material strength and durability. It was pointed out that each of the 89 test cells has an outer wall which is not firmly attached to the building, rather the concrete wall panels notched in place and sealed with grout. This is done so that if an engine blows up within the cell, the blast will push the outside wall out and the explosive gases will exit the building rather than blow out the inner wall and cause injury or damage to the building’s interior. Ms. Cregar mentioned that this has happened once.
Tuesday Afternoon: Cummins Technical Center
Following an onsite lunch in the Tech Center conference room and an opportunity to take photographs of most current Cummins products the group sat down for a presentation by Edward Lyford-Pike, Chief Engineer for Alternative Fuels & Advanced Technologies. Mr. Lyford-Pike discussed Cummins strategy for meeting both 2007 and 2010 emissions standards, what those standards are, the technology that will be used such as cooled EGR and selective catalytic reduction (SCR), the impact of ultra low sulfur fuels and the impact of biodiesel. Please see “Let’s Clear The Air” elsewhere in this issue for details.
Our last presentation was offered by Mostafa Kamel, Director of Product Development for Cummins. Mr. Kamel concentrated on the Cummins-Westport series of gaseous fueled spark ignited engines. He pointed out their many advantages especially in terms of low emissions and simplicity. As he pointed out, diesel technology has become much more complex to meet emission standards, while gaseous fueling systems have actually become simpler to achieve the same or even lower emission levels. He discussed the growing market for gaseous engines and Cummins-Westport’s increasing share of the medium and heavy duty market.
The two day instructor update was extremely informative and educational for the consortium member participants. It was agreed by all that the information will be immeasurable in the educational and outreach activities of the NAFTC.