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Cummins to Continue With EGR

Truck West spoke to Cummins Diesel of Canada's general manager Alasdair McNellan, on the field performance of the '02 engines, plans for the '07 engines and why another pre-buy is not a smart idea. The following is the second part of McNellan's ex...

Truck West spoke to Cummins Diesel of Canada’s general manager Alasdair McNellan, on the field performance of the ’02 engines, plans for the ’07 engines and why another pre-buy is not a smart idea. The following is the second part of McNellan’s exclusive interview with Truck West.

TW: Let’s look ahead to 2007. How is Cummins coming along with preparations for the 2007 emissions standards?

McNellan: The blueprint is in place in terms of where we are going. It will be the same basic engine as we have now. For the ISX it will be a 15L for the ISM it will be an 11L. The carcass will be the same. Crank, bore, stroke, etc., will be no different. Aftertreatment in the form of a DPF – Diesel Particulate Filter – will be utilized by Cummins and other engine manufacturers. Here, Cummins will have a unique advantage in that we are the only company who can design and manufacture a complete, integrated engine/aftertreatment system. With our Fleetguard subsidiary we have access to a world leader in filtration and exhaust systems. Cummins will initially have a minimum of 30 engines available – both ISX and ISM’s – for customer field-testing. We’ve had a commitment from the fuel companies that there will be a corridor for low sulphur fuel – this is required with the new ’07 engines. To run these engine tests we have to make sure drivers can fill up with LSF.

TW: Why do you feel EGR will still be right for the North American market in 2007?

McNellan: The ISX was designed about a decade ago with the environment in mind. The ISX is capable of being around, like the N14 was, for over 30 years. The on-highway EGR application was the best way to go for RAM-air effect. This could not be done with a bulldozer but for highway applications it made far more sense to go with cooled EGR because the Ram-air effect was crucial. It was also technology we knew and understood from use in engines sold in California. And for the same reasons it makes sense to continue into 2007.

TW: You feel strongly that EGR is the right technology for North America. Why is SCR (selective catalytic reduction), in your view, not right for the North American market?

McNellan: EGR is the right technology for North America and has been well proven since the ’02 emissions introduction. This will continue to be the technology path forward for Cummins in ’07. SCR technology is the best solution for the European market due to the very high price of fuel, which makes the investment in a urea supply infrastructure for vehicles feasible. It will work and in the future it may just very well come to North America. But right now the availability of urea, which needs to be injected into the exhaust system, is an issue. Urea is a lot more available in Europe than it is here. If the driver runs out of urea and he continues to drive, the aftertreatment would not be doing its job. So what do you do? Do you stop the engine? Do you allow him to run without it?

TW: Are there any applications in North America where you see SCR making sense, and if so, do you have any plans to offer SCR for such applications?

McNellan: SCR remains an option for the future that the industry could consider but there are also other emission reduction options to evaluate after the introduction of the Cummins ’07 EGR products.

TW: What trends do you see emerging in the North America engine market over the next 10 years?

McNellan: We have to make sure our engines continue to do the job they are doing today and that we support the heck out of them. What’s also changing is the number of new people coming into the business at the fleet level. They are a different kind of manager. We were used to knocking on the doors of maintenance managers and their nails would be dirty and they would want to talk about engines, turbochargers etc., and when it came to ordering trucks they would pick a specific nameplate and ask for a specific engine. Now when we knock on the door we are seeing accountants and they don’t care as much about name brand as long as the reliability, price, up-time and fuel consumption are there. Is that a smart move? It probably is because now they will have some control over fuel consumption numbers and maybe they will be a bit more structured about which parts failed and which didn’t. That’s why we have to be there and to support our products and customers.

TW: At the recent TMC Steve Duley, Schneider National’s vice president of purchasing, announced his company is planning another pre-buy in 2007 to avoid the tighter emissions standards. Schneider is also considering if it can add two years to its traditional trade-in cycle. Does this thinking extend to many other fleets? Are we headed for another pre-buy?

McNellan: If we, as an engine manufacturer, are able to go out there and show our customers that reliability, performance, fuel economy with ’07 engines will be the same or better than the ’02s, and, perhaps incentives will be there, then we make sure everything is supported in the field, the cost is not that much greater, why a pre-buy?

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