From the outside, looking at Cummins’ system, it appears the engines stand on their own. In fact, it is the way the engine is supported which has enabled the company to hold on to market share in the face of a series of technical issues.
Is Cummins undisputed leader in heavy-duty engine market? It’s an interesting question and there are obviously a variety of reasons why this is reckoned to be the case. When it’s all boiled down, two terms stand head and shoulders above the rest, product quality and product support.
On the first front, Cummins’ product quality has been continually evolving since its formation. Yet no matter how well an engine is designed and built, inevitably there will be problems and issues which arise due to unforeseen circumstances and normal wear and tear. The way in which a company deals with these things to the satisfaction or otherwise of its customers forms the backbone of what is broadly known as product support.
Looking at this from a truck operator’s perspective, particularly an owner/driver who has one truck from which to derive income, having a truck working efficiently and consistently is absolutely paramount. Unscheduled downtime has a huge impact on the truck’s earning potential.
Diesel Workshop headed out to Cummins’ Brisbane branch at Carole Park. It is ideally located for road transport operators, being only a few minutes from both the Logan and Ipswich motorways which carry the bulk of traffic heading west from the Gold Coast and Brisbane.
As for the facility’s layout, there are two distinct sections. The truck workshop comprises 15 bays and is under the same roof as the office and reception areas. A separate building adjacent to the primary structure houses a dedicated engine rebuild facility known as the Master Rebuild Centre or MRC.
One of two such establishments in Australia, the other is in Perth, the MRC caters specifically for the larger Cummins engines used in mining equipment, power generation and marine applications. These range from the QSK19 (19 litre) in-line six through to the QSK78, a 78 litre V18.
There to give Diesel a guided tour was MRC general manager, Alan Routledge, who explains that the centre provides a service exchange program for the likes of mining companies which have scheduled change-out intervals for the engines powering their equipment.
“Mining companies don’t wait for their engines to fail,” says Alan. “After they complete a predetermined number of running hours or fuel burn they are replaced with a remanufactured unit.
“We work with the mines at the branch level and basically have the remanufactured engine ready to go when they need it.”
It’s a finely tuned program that works on a just-in-time basis. Between the two branches in Perth and Brisbane a large support bank of remanufactured engines is maintained to ensure supply keeps up with demand. When the changed-out engines return they are either torn down and rebuilt immediately or stored in their ‘dirty state’, depending on customer requirements for the particular engine.