ENVIRONMENT

Mining the main driver behind Cummins rebuild plant

Expectations of growth in the mining sector, particularly in Northern Europe due to supply disruptions and new precious metals projects there, played a major part in engine developer Cummins decision to build a high horsepower engine rebuild facility in Poland, company officials said on Wednesday.

A QSK60 at the plant

A QSK60 at the plant

The Master Rebuild Centre centre in Krakow will be able to target multiple sectors including maritime, rail and agriculture - it will remanufacture Cummins high horsepower engines with displacements of 19 to 78 litres, and in the 450 to 3500 horsepower range. But mining is expected to lead demand.

"We anticipate the primary source of growth to stem from the mining sector. We've observed several promising developments in Nordic countries. This is where significant progress is being made, particularly in copper mining, alongside other valuable metals. It represents the most substantial opportunity for us," said Goran Galic, Director AM Sales Strategic Accounts Europe, at the centre's launch. 

The rebuild option will enable miners to ask for rebuilds that go through a six-stage remanufacturing process that sees the engine disassembled, cleaned, inspected, re-machined, and reassembled. Engines can also be upgraded or altered to incorporate environmental regulations as part of the process.

It is, however a new proposal for European customers, the Cumming management noted, unlike Australia and South America, where rebuild centres are already up and running.

"Some of our OEM customers who have dealt with Cummins in other markets are familiar with this. However, for us, it marks a significant change in our approach," said Chris Brown, Aftermarket Development & Channel Management. "We're focusing on a complete rebuild philosophy, offering service exchange engines, and ensuring maximum uptime and efficiency. We're delving into a three-tiered solution model that is gaining traction in Europe. This shift represents a substantial change, and we'll need to invest in educating our partners."

Alt-fuels focus

Sustainability has played a role in the decision to focus on rebuilds in Europe, said the company, noting that alternative fuels are set to play an integral role in its planning.

"Much of this shift is driven by the need to decarbonise our economy. Cummins is actively working to determine the best approach. Currently, the majority of our products are already B20 compliant, and all products are in compliance as well. We're also exploring various fuel options, and we can discuss other decarbonisation efforts by Cummins later," added Alok Joshi, Power Generation Business Director.

"Our aim is to provide flexibility in the types of fuel that can be utilized. Additionally, there's ongoing discussion about hydrogen and how we can integrate hybrids and other technologies to play a substantial role in decarbonising the economy." 

Joshi admitted that Cummins' role in engine development means it will be closely watched in how it approaches the energy transition.

"There's a substantial amount of change underway, and it's a significant challenge for all of us. Cummins, being deeply involved in engine production, finds itself at the heart of this transformation as our technology evolves."

"Many of us are dedicating a considerable amount of time just to navigate through this. It's expected to be a complex journey; some technologies may emerge and then fade away, while others will thrive. Different segments of the industry may adopt different technologies. For instance, in the automotive sector, particularly in the lower range, batteries have gained immense popularity and this trend is set to continue in Europe. In fact, a significant portion of our buses have already transitioned to battery technology. It's evident that various segments will pursue their own paths. Governance bodies are heavily investing in a range of these technologies to ensure their success across different sectors."

Optimisation

Choosing a completely rebuilt engine over a new one can generate savings of up to 30% - a Cummins QSK60 engine can cost from US$150,000 to US$200,000 - but upgrades can also be made that will improve monitoring and maintenance.

"We can enhance a standard ECM that currently monitors a set number of parameters with a sensor system. This system incorporates exhaust gas temperature sensors and also evaluates intake manifold temperatures, not individually, but in quadrants," noted Brown.

"This upgrade allows for more comprehensive monitoring. Additionally, we have the capability to remotely monitor this system. Many major sites in Australia utilise this technology, where engines provide real-time updates to the control room, detailing their operations. This data allows for more effective maintenance and performance management."

 

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