Cummins Inc. Saves $200K Annually Using Energy-Efficient Motors

Mention Cummins engines to anyone who's ever put the pedal to the metal in an 18-wheeler and you'll probably hear words like value and efficiency. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Cummins Inc. also practices energy efficiency in its plants. Cummins management believes a proactive energy efficiency policy helps the company stay competitive.


Mention Cummins engines to anyone who's ever put the pedal to the metal in an 18-wheeler and you'll probably hear words like value and efficiency. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Cummins Inc. also practices energy efficiency in its plants. Cummins management believes a proactive energy efficiency policy helps the company stay competitive.

In fact, Cummins' energy savings have been so remarkable, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Industrial Technologies (OIT) granted the company its Industry Captains Command Award in 1999. This article describes how Cummins reduced energy consumption, created real benefits to the environment, and saved more than $200,000 per year in energy costs. And those savings wouldn't have been possible without copper.

Working with Your Utility

Cummins' award-winning energy program began in 1987. Public Service of Indiana (PSI) did a survey to determine where Cummins could reduce its energy consumption. Besides a number of beneficial changes, PSI recommended DOE's Motor Challenge program. Since electric-motor-driven equipment consumes about 60% of all electricity produced in the USA, increasing motor efficiency by even a few percent adds up to big savings.

How big? DOE's Paul Scheihing notes, "If every plant in the United States integrated motor system upgrades to the extent that Cummins did, American industry would save $1 billion annually in energy costs. This would be the equivalent of the amount of electricity supplied to the State of New York for three months."

Working with Motor Challenge

Cummins became actively involved with Motor Challenge in 1995 at its main plant in Columbus, Indiana, and the 296 motors that drive the plant's engine block machining and transfer lines. While the line's electric motors were reliable enough, their efficiency ratings were typical of those available 30 years ago.

"We studied the Motor Challenge information thoroughly. In the end, we got to the point where we realized we'd be better off throwing these things out," recalls Tim Burke, Cummins director of administration and finance. That meant getting rid of more than 1,000 motors, including all spares as well as those in service.

Working with Your Consultant

Cummins brought in McBroom Electric Company of Indianapolis to take a close look at every motor on the production lines. Their audit projected that Cummins would save $80,000 per year in power costs by replacing all of the lines' 1- to 125-hp standard-efficiency motors with energy-efficient motors.

Table 1 shows the results of Cummins' motor-upgrade program. They provide dramatic proof that improved efficiency yields big savings. Table 2 shows the results of Cummins next step, which was to replace 500 motors ranging in size from

Life-Cycle Costing

Cummins Inc. has an in-house standard for life-cycle costing of equipment. "In the case of energy-efficient motors," Burke says, "annual energy savings provided the major incentive. But since installing the motors,… we now have all new motors in our upgraded transfer lines, so maintenance costs have been reduced, … and we can now point to the reduction in fossil fuel use and lower greenhouse gas emissions brought about by our energy-efficient motors as evidence of our corporate environmental awareness."

What's Available from CDA

Like Cummins Inc., your company can benefit from the greater energy savings provided by energy-efficient electric motors. Read and download the complete Cummins case study and other success stories on the Web at .

For a free copy of MotorMaster+ software, information on NEMA Premium motor guidelines and other sources to help you get maximum returns on your motor investment, call the Copper Development Association at: 888-480-MOTR (888-480-6687).

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