This artist rendering shows the futuristic design of the new Cummins Technical Center India under construction in Pune.
Posted: Feb. 6, 2014
A typical day at the new Cummins Technical Center India (CTCI) might start with a wave to a colleague from a different department and a stroll to your work station through the futuristic glass and steel building, awash with natural light. Then, it’s off to the virtual reality lab to strap on some goggles to see how that emission control systems fits on the new engine you have been vetting.
Almost everything at what will be Cummins’ largest and most sophisticated technical center when it becomes operational by the end of 2015 is designed to encourage collaboration, bringing together nearly every Cummins engineer in Pune at one location, more than 2,000 engineers in all.
“I am very excited about the work our talented employees will do at Cummins Technical Center India,” said Cummins Vice President Dr. John Wall, Chief Technical Officer, at the groundbreaking for the center in June, 2013. “This new facility will play a significant role in our commitment to ‘Innovation You Can Depend On,’ by equipping our people with the best tools and technologies so that they can lead and deliver innovative projects for all of our business units and our customers globally.”
The new center also represents the next step in the Company’s efforts to be as environmentally friendly as possible in the way it tests its products. Cummins has been a leader in analysis led design, which uses computers to test ideas before going to the expense of using a prototype in a test cell. That typically uses a significant amount of fuel and creates emissions.
Virtual reality will give Cummins engineers one more tool to test ideas before trying them out using a prototype in a test cell. The new center in India will be the first Cummins technical center equipped with virtual reality.
The Company currently has 30 technical centers around the world, including centers in Brazil, China, France, India, Poland, the United Kingdom and Japan. Cummins’ push to be the technology leader in its industry goes back to co-founder Clessie Cummins and longtime leader J. Irwin Miller.
When Cummins announced plans in 1963 to build the Cummins Technical Center on 18 acres in Columbus, Ind., Miller made his goal for the building exceeding clear.
“We are building the most important diesel research center in the world,” said Miller, who would go on to increase the size and scope of the center several times before the project was completed. “…We mean business. We mean never again to have to respond to a competitor’s development. We mean to beat him on each move, and be out first with a product so clearly superior in economy, bulk, weight and long life that our excellence does not have to be argued.”
Dr. Karen Ramsey-Idem, Cummins’ Director – Global Technical Resource Planning, says an innovative idea can come from anywhere – a plant, a customer, a technical center or somewhere else. She sees the technical centers’ primary role as vetting innovative ideas to determine which ones will work best.
Some of Cummins technical centers are tied to one of the Company’s product divisions such as the Engine Business, Power Generation, Emissions Solutions or Cummins Filtration. Others work with every business unit.
One of the things Ramsey-Idem is most excited about is that the new CTCI will bring together hundreds of engineers who had been previously spread over three campuses in Pune, separated by as much as two hours given the city’s traffic challenges. She envisions informal discussions taking place in the common spaces throughout the new tech center as well as its expansive canteen.
Cummins is the only Company that produces all of the critical subsystems required to build an engine or genset in-house. Getting engineers together from various product areas enables Cummins to take full advantage of that critical difference with its competitors.
It also opens up the possibility of bundling testing to take the fullest advantage of work in a test cell. For example, if an engine is being put through its paces, it might be possible to test a component at the same time, saving time and fuel compared to testing those items separately.
Hélène L. Cornils, Director – Technical Operations Excellence for Components Engineering , is working on a computer program to support testing at the Company. It includes a feature showing an engineer what testing is going on at one of the Company’s 227 test cells around the world so they can explore the possibility of joining a colleague’s test.
“There’s the potential to create significant efficiencies that would be good for business and good for the environment, too,” Cornils said.
The new center in India is also being built with the infrastructure to test the use of different kinds of fuels with Cummins products, another potential plus for the environment. And it incorporates green space within its unique design.
CTCI Leader Rajeev Sardesai says he hopes the new center in India produces ideas and concepts that can benefit Cummins’ technical centers around the world.
“It is a great honor and a huge opportunity for us engineers to be associated with this major project which highlights the technical capability and capacity building of Cummins,” he said at the groundbreaking.
“With an exciting way forward, one of the biggest challenges is to ensure that we deliver a world class technical center, one that will be a benchmark for future Cummins technical centers in other parts of the world.”
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