As Cummins nears the end of its centenary year, PETER BARRON looks back at 100 years of innovation

WHEN he founded what was to become the world’s leading engine manufacturing company in 1919, Clessie Cummins unleashed a spirit of innovation that lives on today.

That spirit was summed up in one of Clessie best known quotes: “Mechanical difficulty…can always be whipped.”

And it is perfectly captured in the theme for Cummins’ centenary: “Challenging the impossible.”

For 100 years, Cummins has truly whipped mechanical difficulties, and challenged the impossible, to deliver market leading products to customers all over the world.

It began when Clessie recognised the benefits of using technology developed by Rudolph Diesel at the end of the 19th century. He also saw that a design by Dutch engineer Rasmus Hvid was the best available for a small kerosene burning engine used for farms, boats and factories.

He persuaded banker William G.Irwin to invest the significant sum of $2,500 in the licence for the HVID and it became Cummins’ first engine.

From those pioneering beginnings, the spirit of innovation has continued to drive Cummins forward so that it is now a global power leader, with products ranging from diesel and natural gas engines to hybrid and electric platforms. In addition, it is responsible for technologies that include battery systems, fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions and electrical power generation systems.

A major milestone came in the mid-1980s when the company moved away from traditional markets and made a billion-dollar investment in the launch of the B Series. To date, more than 15 million B Series products have been built, including more than one million manufactured at Cummins’ Darlington plant.

The company now employs approximately 62,000 people and serves customers in about 190 countries and territories.

When the company celebrated its centenary at the Darlington site in September– the pioneering HVID – was proudly displayed alongside the latest B6.7 2019 Stage V off-highway engine showing 100 years of innovation.

Alexei Ustinov, Vice President Off-Highway Engine Business, said: “We are proud of our company’s heritage and past success. But we can’t afford to stop there, and we will keep evolving.”

Meanwhile, Cummins’ Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Tom Linebarger, has urged the next generation of technology experts to be part of the company’s future.

He said: “If you are a technology person, I promise you we do what you do – and we do it at the cutting edge. We do it in ways that affect people’s lives every day: they change the emissions, and the productivity landscape. So, I just want to say to technology students, come to Cummins, where you can make a difference, and you will be challenged while you’re here.”

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