DALLAS -- Cummins Inc. announced during the Great American Trucking Show that its 2007 on-highway Heavy-Duty engine field test evaluation program is well underway, on schedule and providing valuable information.
The company announced previously that it will meet the more stringent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions standards for 2007 by integrating the Cummins Particulate Filter with its current cooled-Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) engine technology. Stable product architecture allows Cummins to focus the 2007 field evaluations on optimizing the integration of a proven engine design with the aftertreatment system. Conducted across a wide range of applications, duty cycles and geographic conditions in North America, the field tests provide a good look at how the Cummins Particulate Filter is functioning. These joint OEM field tests are also validating production-intent cooling packages and installations.
Cummins began running extensive field tests of '07 engines in 2004 with pre-production engines operated and monitored by engineers from the Cummins Technical Center. This program was extended to major fleet customers during the first half of 2005 in conjunction with all vehicle OEM partners. The Cummins Particulate Filter, developed and manufactured by Fleetguard Emissions Solutions, a subsidiary of Cummins Inc., reduces particulate matter emissions by greater than ninety percent from current levels.
It replaces the existing vehicle muffler, with minimal net weight gain. The filter automatically collects and burns particulates. When there is not sufficient heat in the exhaust, the Engine Control Module (ECM) initiates an active regeneration event so the catalytic reaction can take place. Most on-highway engines operate at a duty cycle where active regeneration rarely takes place. Some duty cycles, such as pick-up and delivery, high idling, vocational and diminishing loads, may require more frequent regeneration events.
"Cummins jointly selected customers with our OEM partners that run more challenging duty cycles for the aftertreatment. This allows us to gain valuable real-life data on how the Cummins Particulate Filter is operating so we can further optimize the integrated package," commented Dr. Steve Charlton, Cummins Executive Director and Technical Leader, 2007 Heavy-Duty Program.
Each field test vehicle is equipped with a data acquisition computer that continuously samples and analyzes data. Automated scripts transfer the data into readable graphs so trends can be identified. If the script identifies an out-of-bounds parameter, it will notify the responsible component engineer so the situation can be reviewed promptly.
Information is also received directly from the drivers of field test vehicles. Drivers complete a daily checklist monitoring various fluid levels such as oil and coolant. This information is communicated to the development engineers on a weekly basis. Another form sent weekly to Cummins invites drivers to record random comments and observations. This open two-way dialogue has been credited with identifying multiple improvement opportunities.
The extraordinary level of OEM collaboration has been a hallmark of the 2007 field test evaluation program. Cummins has been sharing engineering resources with OEM partners since the very beginning of the '07 project, which has resulted in more efficient integration of the engine into the vehicle system. The '07 engines are being built down the line at Cummins Jamestown Engine Plant and assembled jointly at OEM facilities without interruption to current production; these are not lab-built prototype engines or prototype trucks. This high level of manufacturing and assembly integration with OEM partners allows the complete engine-vehicle combination to be tested and any vehicle integration issues to be solved early in the process. The joint OEM field tests currently underway are validating OEM 2007 production-intent cooling packages and installations.