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Cummins Utilizes India CFD Group for Engine Design
Posted Mon August 29, 2005 @03:31PM
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News In India, the two-year-old Cummins Research & Technology India center in Pune is playing an important role in helping the company slash development costs and time in its bid to best such arch-rivals as Caterpillar Inc. (CAT ) in building a new generation of diesel engines. Cummins is tapping India's immense pool of skilled, low-cost engineers.

The center's 100 engineers specialize in 3-D computer modeling and simulated testing of engines and components. They collaborate with R&D teams in each of Cummins' 20 other development centers worldwide. "We're involved in just about everything Cummins is doing," says John O'Halloran, a 12-year Cummins veteran dispatched in June, 2003, to build and staff the center.

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In one area, a computational fluid dynamics team led by Ritesh Dungarwal, 26, an aerospace engineering graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, simulates the combustion process inside a virtual prototype of a future engine. By mapping the movement of each fuel particle after it is ignited, they learn the size of droplets, how many are burned up, and how many are kicked out in the exhaust. Such data help determine fuel efficiency and emissions. At other pods, staff test engine components to see how they hold up to stress and whether fuel and air flow past at optimal levels. They tweak designs, and U.S. engineers review the work overnight.

Cummins engineers in the West do similar work, of course. But because such labor is so expensive, "we had to be very selective in the past," says O'Halloran. "You can come up with hundreds of things to simulate in a computer. But we were constrained by the number of engineers, so you had to decide which tasks were most critical." Now, hundreds of parts can be modeled, tested, and perfected. That should translate into higher performance, lighter engines, and lower costs. Another benefit is that Cummins now builds half as many physical prototypes as it used to, thus cutting development time by up to two-thirds. Pune "eventually will play a significant role in developing major engine platforms," he says.

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