Smooth Shifter – Cummins, Peterbilt & Eaton

Three heads are better than one as Cummins, Peterbilt and Eaton join forces to reduce fuel consumption

It’s hard to be anything but positive if right now you happen to work at Cummins Engine Company. At this year’s Mid-America Truck Show, executives of the company were buoyant about their current trading position, with 2012 turning in the second best sales and profit levels in the company’s history.

As Rich Freeland, president of Engine Business at Cummins explained: “The diversification of business is strategically important. We achieved sales of $17.3 billion, comprising of the engine division (50 percent), the distribution system (16 percent), power generation (15 percent) and components division (19 percent).

“We believe we have a lead and we want to improve on that,” he added.

Cummins used the MATS event to showcase its clean diesel ISX15, ISX12, ISL9 and ISB6.7, as well as the Cummins Westport natural gas engines.

Cummins Westport offers the industry-leading natural gas engine, the ISL G, and with the launch of the ISX12 G will deliver high performance, dependable natural gas power to the heavy-duty trucking industry.

The ISX12 G will enter limited production in April 2013. Engine braking, as well as automatic and manual transmission compatibility, will be available.

Both the ISX12 G and the ISL G utilise Cummins Westport’s proprietary spark-ignited combustion technology with Stoichiometric cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (SEGR) with a maintenance-free, three-way catalyst (TWC), and fuel can be stored on the vehicle in compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas or biomethane forms

Although there is a flurry of activity surrounding the use of natural gas in place of, or in conjunction with diesel, so far it’s still quite a rarity on the road, currently running at less that one percent take-up of the on-highway market.

For Australia, it’s time to adopt the SCR engine, replacing the EGR version that has not been without its concerns over turbocharger durability. The good news for Australian operators is that early reports of the ISXe5 SCR engine have been loudly proclaiming a higher rate of satisfaction.

The general consensus is that operating temperatures at high ambient influences are at least 10 degrees C lower that with the EGR version. The engine itself is quieter, snappier in performance, and pulls more strongly, all of which bodes well for the general, broader introduction of this engine to the market.

The latest Cummins on-highway diesel engines already in use for 2013 in the US are providing customers with up to 2.0 percent better fuel economy compared with the 2012 model-year engines. In addition, all Cummins engines meet the 2013 US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and the greenhouse gas (GHG) and fuel efficiency rules that will take effect in 2014.

“Cummins and Cummins Westport offer the industry’s broadest product line of both clean-diesel and natural gas engines to meet the needs of our customers,” said Jeff Jones, Cummins vice president – North American Engine Business.

Cummins is making further gains in fuel economy as the result of its new SmartTorque ratings. These are designed especially to meet the needs of fuel-conscious fleets, and deliver up to 271 Nm (200 lb-ft) of extra torque in the top two gears.

New SmartTorque2 ratings, delivering 3.0 percent to 6.0 percent better fuel economy when matched with the new Eaton Fuller Advantage™ automated transmission, will be available in the 3rd quarter of 2013.

SmartTorque 2 is the result of a long-standing collaboration between Eaton and Cummins. The combined technology promises to deliver a more fuel-efficient, reliable and robust powertrain package.

“Cummins and Eaton have had an extensive technical and business relationship over the years, in which we have collaborated on powertrain solutions for the North American on-highway markets that we serve,” said Lori Thompson, Cummins vice president – Truck and Bus OEM Business.

“This latest chapter in our partnership combines some of the best technologies from both companies, and makes them smarter, delivering the level of fuel economy improvements that our customers have come to expect,” she added.

The Eaton Fuller Advantage Series automated transmission will be offered as a small ratio step overdrive model with new Cummins ISX15 SmartTorque2 ratings. These see the ISX15 415 ST2 with a rated torque output of 1,966-2,237 Nm, (1450 to 1650 lb-ft) and the ISX15 450 ST2, with ratings of 2,012-2,373 Nm (1550 to 1750 lb-ft).

Through a combination of hardware and software enhancements, the powertrain package benefits include integrated power, fuel and shifting strategies to provide 3.0 percent to 6.0 percent fuel economy improvement for linehaul and regional haul applications.

Further optimisation of the engine and transmission communications and new control logic enable additional engine downspeeding in the overdrive position, and the effective use of direct drive technology in operational conditions required for a blend of perfect efficiency.

One of the main enhancements Eaton has made with its Fuller Advantage Series transmission is the elimination of the cooler, helping to reduce the overall package weight and improve reliability.

Combined with the use of aluminium for the rear transmission housing, range cylinder, shift bar housing and the shift tower – along with a thin wall, cast iron main case design – the new transmission weighs 35 kg less than Eaton’s UltraShift PLUS LAS base model. A new precision lubrication system for precise and efficient transmission lubrication further enhances fuel economy by reducing churning losses.

Fuel economy is improved through the use of downspeeding, which allows the ISX15 and ISX12 to achieve peak torque at 100 fewer rpm, and the approved use of low-viscosity 10W30 oils. Maintenance expenses are also reduced through increased oil drain intervals.

As a step forwards from SmartTorque 2 technology we now move on to a collaboration by Cummins with Peterbilt in addition to that of Eaton.

In technology terms, a typical diesel engine is rated at around 30 percent thermal efficiency. So when some of America’s leading manufacturers combine and achieve a leap in thermal efficiency to 50 percent, it’s worth taking a closer look.

Together – with the US Department of Energy – Cummins, Peterbilt and Eaton have combined to work together over a four-year period to create project “SuperTruck”.

Costing a research budget of $78 million, the aim of the project was to raise thermal efficiency to 50 percent, increase freight efficiency by 50 percent, and to reduce the ton/km/litre equation by 68 percent. By working with Eaton for profiling transmission matching, produced a further benefit of a 3.0-6.0 percent fuel economy improvement.

The achievements of the programme resulted from close attention to detail in many areas. As Cummins’ Rich Freeland and Dr. Stephen Charlton explained to PowerTorque, the final benefits occurred because of a combination of strategies.

“We looked at reducing friction by using lower friction lubricants, which gained us 2.0 percent. Better management of compressor ratios and air management produced gains of 2.4 percent,” said Rich.

“Shifting to SCR technology from the previous EGR system brought us gains of 1.06 percent, and then adding the benefit of waste heat recovery systems to the engine gave us a further benefit of 5.8 percent,” said Dr. Charlton.

The overall final test results showed that the demonstration prime mover and semitrailer achieved a 54 percent increase in fuel economy, averaging nearly 4.25 km/litre (10 mpg US) under real-world driving conditions

The “SuperTruck” developed by the two companies features a higher-efficiency engine and an aerodynamic prime mover and trailer that significantly reduces drag.

Among the next-generation technologies used is a waste heat turbine expander prototype, which captures what would otherwise be lost energy in the form of heat, from a number of sources onboard the vehicle, and turns it into useful mechanical 25 kW (34 hp) power. Developed by Cummins Turbo Technologies, the system is capable of reducing vehicle fuel consumption by 5.0 percent and delivering fuel savings of up to $5,500 (USD) per annum.

Holset has also developed a next-generation VGT™ Turbocharger based on a validated platform that can be tailored to meet the needs of individual customers easily, and that is 2.0 kg lighter than the model it replaces. It substantially lowers initial cost while featuring a high-efficiency compressor stage, delivering improved fuel economy.

The turbine now features an inverse impeller that replaces conventional designs and, through the use of flow optimisation software, has the capability to improve compressor stage efficiency by 1.0 percent on its own, delivering a $160 (USD) per annum fuel savings for on-highway applications.

A super map width enhancement collar that enhances map width by 15 percent and facilitates engine downsizing, improves driveability, widens the operating range, aids efficiency mapping and delivers fuel savings.

Other parasitic power losses have been reduced by incorporating rolling element bearings. Cummins Turbo Technologies has developed its own high-durability, low-friction ball-bearing solution that improves both transient response and lowers fuel consumption, delivering a 1.0 percent improvement in overall turbocharger efficiency.

Holset is also offering its Rotary Turbine Control (RTC). Patented flow-channelling technology directs exhaust gas to selected ports, for limited exhaust control capability. RTC is integrated into the turbine housing within Cummins Turbo Technologies Modulated 2-stage (M2) and Serial 2-stage (S2) products.

The truck also includes electronic controls that use route information to optimise fuel use, tyres with lower rolling resistance, and lighter-weight material throughout.

The Class 8 Peterbilt 587 powered by a Cummins ISX15 engine averaged 4.21 km/litre (9.9 mpg US), during testing prior to Christmas on US Route 287 between Fort Worth and Vernon, Texas. The testing was conducted over 11 runs, meeting SAE International test standards along a 500 km route with combined gross weight of 29,500 kg.

Today’s long-haul trucks in the US typically achieve between 2.34 km/l and 2.76 km/l. The 54 percent increase in fuel economy would save about $25,000 (USD) annually based on today’s diesel fuel prices for a long-haul truck travelling 200,000 km per year. It would also translate into a 35 percent reduction in annual greenhouse gases per truck.

The potential savings in fuel and greenhouse gases are enormous, with about 2.0 million registered tractor-trailers on US roads today, according to the American Trucking Associations.

In addition to the fuel economy improvements, the truck also demonstrated a 61 percent improvement in freight efficiency during testing, compared to a baseline truck driving the same route. That significantly exceeded the 50 percent SuperTruck program goal set by the US Department of Energy (DOE).

The Hybrid Connection

Cummins also chose MATS 2013 to present its CorePlus Motor Generator and Power Electronics technology in the American market.

Cummins believes there is a strong market for engine electrification in medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles, and has been investing in CorePlus technology, developing electrical Motor Generator and Power Electronics innovation to ensure its global leadership position in the sector.

The Cummins CorePlus Motor Generator will accelerate the evolution of engine electrification, and drive even greater improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions reduction. It is available with power, torque and performance characteristics suitable for hybrid systems, electric vehicle designs, range extender solutions and electrical power generation in vehicles. A power electronics package embedding Cummins CorePlus controls software complements the Motor Generator.

The Cummins CorePlus Motor Generator is fitted between the vehicle engine and transmission, allowing original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to keep using their preferred engine and transmission. The Motor Generator has an integral rugged housing to allow it to operate in the harsh environment of the engine bay, and has the torsional strength to allow engine torque to be transferred through it to the transmission.

“The class-leading performance of the Cummins CorePlus Motor Generator has a peak power of 90 kilowatts, peak torque of 660 Newton-meters and efficiencies greater than 95 percent,” said Robert Lee, executive director – Power Generation Strategy.

“The Cummins CorePlus controls software that enhances the power, performance, safety and efficiency of the power electronics and the Motor Generator combination. Alternate power and performance nodes can be developed, cost-effectively, to meet specific customer needs,” commented Lee.

Cummins Generator Technologies designs and manufactures the world’s broadest range of AC generators from 0.6 to 20,000 kVA under the MARKON®, STAMFORD® and AvK® product brands.

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