In the first of a regular series of articles celebrating the centenary of Cummins, Peter Barron explains what the company does and why it has such an important place on the world stage

CUMMINS is a global power leader - designing, manufacturing, and distributing engines and related technologies that are in demand all over the world.

And it is a source of great regional pride that the North-East plays an important part in that international operation, with the company’s Darlington plant poised to employ 1,300 people by the end of this year.

Cummins exports about $3 billion in products annually, serving customers in 190 countries. Engines and exhaust after-treatment systems designed and manufactured in Darlington are used in vehicles worldwide, including buses, tractors, trucks, boats, excavators.

The company was founded by visionary entrepreneur Clessie Cummins in Columbus, Indiana, in 1919, and the Darlington plant, in Yarm Road, was opened in 1965.

The Northern Echo:

Cummins continues to go from strength to strength and in 2018 it sold a record 1.5m engines, with a turnover of $24 billion and 62,600 employees.

To put the company’s global importance into context, Cummins is number 128 in the Fortune 500 list, ranking the top 500 largest US corporations by total revenue.

And as it looks to the future, Cummins’ ethos is the same as when it all began 100 years ago: to find bespoke technological solutions for customers no matter how big or small.

Marketing Director Steve Nendick, who is based in Darlington, says: “These are really exciting times for Cummins with our continuing strategy to acquire knowledge and capability in alternative power. On top of being a diesel expert for the past 100 years, we are now ready to be a power expert for the next 100 years, and work with our customers to find the best solutions to fit their needs.”

That strategy has included buying key technology companies over the past few years. For example, in October 2017, Cummins acquired Brammo, which specialised in designing and developing low-voltage battery packs for mobile and stationary applications.

That was followed in January 2018 by the acquisition of Johnson Matthey’s UK automotive battery systems business as part of its move into the electric and hybrid vehicle market. Cummins and Johnson Matthey also agreed to collaborate on the development of high energy battery materials for commercial heavy-duty applications.

Then, in July 2018, Cummins bought Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), which designed and produced hybrid and fully-electric power solutions for commercial markets.

And, at the end of June this year, Cummins announced it had reached an agreement to take over one of the world’s leading fuel cell and hydrogen generation equipment providers, Hydrogenics Corporation.