One of the most demanding applications for engines is rail operations. With Africa investing significantly in continent-wide transportation networks, this is an area where Cummins’ unique experience, expertise, and technology stand to play a critical role, according to Cummins Application Engineer Gerhard Potgieter.
The Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) offers a full line of ratings, with many engine models modified specifically for railway equipment. For example, Cummins railcar engines are based on low-profile designs for use under the car floor. This allows for easy access to service points from underneath the engine, as opposed to inside the passenger compartment.
In terms of locomotive power, Cummins offers a comprehensive range of high-performance, low-maintenance diesel engines to meet customer requirements. There are 12 different engines available in a range of ratings, including V12 and V16 configurations. With ratings of up to 2 100 rpm, these engines are more fuel-efficient and space-efficient, as well as having longer service intervals and a higher power-to-weight ratio than low-speed units.
Potgieter stresses that Cummins is able to offer its rail customers complete solutions, and not only the engines themselves. Aftermarket support and refurbishment services are also available thanks to Cummins’ extensive distributor and dealer network in Africa, in addition to its Master Rebuild Centres (MRCs). Another major advantage is its close relationship with leading third-party suppliers, which supplement its footprint on the continent.
“What gives us the leading edge in the African market in particular is that we are able to manufacture durable mechanical engines that can cope with issues such as fuel quality,” Potgieter points out. While Cummins has made Tier 3 engines available for several years now, it is already focusing on the Tier 4 requirements for more advanced markets like Europe and North America.
“The main requirements from our rail customers in Africa are improved fuel economy and reduced total cost of ownership. The fact that we are able to offer complete solutions goes a long way in assisting our customers in this regard,” Potgieter highlights.
These solutions run the gamut of the entire rail industry, from under-the-floor units on passenger trains to 20 t rail grinders, high-speed trains, and locomotives hauling freight. “With over 13 000 Cummins engines running in the toughest rail applications globally, our customers have peace of mind that we can cater for diverse specifications,” Potgieter concludes.