September 24, 2017 10:00 PM, EDT

Cummins Outlines Products, Research to Address Changes Disrupting Trucking

Cummins press conference John Sommers II for Transport Topics

ATLANTA — Independent engine maker Cummins Inc. is prepared to have the right products for customers at the right time in order to respond to three key forces disrupting the trucking industry: energy diversity, connectivity and automation, executives said.

The company outlined its stance at a press conference during the inaugural North American Commercial Vehicle Show here late last month.

Calling Cummins a “global powerhouse,” Srikanth Padmanabhan, president of the company’s engine business, said the original equipment manufacturer employs 55,000 people in 190 countries because of its technology leadership.

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“We have shown time and again when the industry changes or when technology changes that is when we deliver and our customers win in a big way,” he said.

An early example, Padmanabhan said, was introducing the diesel engine to the industry at a time when gasoline-powered V10 engines were the norm in trucks.

Its next 15-liter diesel engine is scheduled to come on the market in 2022, and it will be smaller, lighter and more efficient “than today’s engines with a design protected to integrate on-engine aftertreatment, waste heat recovery and mild electrification,” according to Cummins.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Phase 2 rule on greenhouse gas emissions from heavy- and medium-duty trucks is advancing in three stages — 2021, 2024 and 2027.

Also, regulators worldwide are working to protect the environment and “leave this place better than we found it,” Padmanabhan said, including in China and India.

The range of its products on display at NACV included: its AEOS model, “the world’s first fully electric heavy-duty truck,” the “super-efficient” X12 and X15 diesel engines, ultra-low-emission natural gas engine technology from Cummins Westport and the new Endurant transmission from Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies, according to Cummins.

Also, the company has ongoing research into high-efficiency spark-ignited technology that can deliver diesel-like performance and durability across a range of liquid fuels and natural gas, to battery electric and hybrid power.

Cummins also is continuing to investigate the viability of other alternatives, such as biofuels, synthetic fuels, hydrogen and fuel cells.

Meanwhile, what its customers are looking for convenient and responsive interactions, real-time updates, and information that make products safer, more productive and easier to use, according to Cummins. The OEM has offered telematics systems in some markets for many years, but the potential for digital goes far beyond telematics systems and will be realized at a faster pace.

In May, Cummins formed an internal organization led by Chief Information Officer Sherry Aaholm. Digital Accelerator’s objectives are to streamline innovation, quickly bringing the best concepts from the idea stage to commercialization, according to the company.