Cummins and Department of Defense commit to energy storage innovation

Cummins AMMPS Unit
TESS uses AMMPS housing (pictured here) and the same control software as the AMMPS generator set already in use with customers

Six years in the making, Cummins helps the U.S. Military meet its need for energy storage solutions

Cummins’ Tactical Energy Storage System (TESS) recently reached an important milestone. After demonstrating its capability to the United States Military in May, TESS was recently awarded its first purchase order by the Project Manager Expeditionary Energy and Sustainment Systems (PM E2S2) program office.

For Brad Palmer, Cummins’ Director of Electrification Technologies Research and Development, the journey to this point has been long, yet he always remained optimistic.

"It’s something we’ve been working on since 2013," Palmer said. "It’s cutting edge. We knew we wanted to do it and knew we could." 

Cummins sample TESS unit
A sample TESS unit. The U.S. military placed a purchase order (PO) for four units with an expected delivery date between April-June 2020.

In 2013, Palmer and his cross-functional team received word that the military was seeking advances in energy storage for microgrids. At the time, Palmer's team was in the process of developing the Advanced Digital Control System for AMMPS microgrid capability. Knowing that his team had the capability to also develop a complimentary battery pack, they got to work researching and developing Cummins’ solution to meet the military’s need for storage solutions.

Fast forward five years, where Palmer - along with the help of Doreen Swanson AMMPS Account Manager - have managed to keep the idea alive. 

By 2018, the AMMPS program was highly successful, with another $491 million contract signed by the Department of Defense (DOD). Leveraging the success of the AMMPS program, Palmer's team updated the original proof of concept design using battery modules originally designed for motorcycles by the Cummins Electrified Power business segment. They then created a high-quality field-able concept for what became known as TESS, an energy storage unit that networks with existing engine-based gensets to drive even more improvements in areas like fuel economy and system reliability.

TESS uses AMMPS housing and the same control software as the AMMPS generator set already in use with customers. Feedback from previous demonstrations identified strong interest in the fact that TESS looks and acts like the AMMPS generator set with which the end-user is accustomed to operating in the field. 

After the successful demonstration​ of TESS in October 2018, the military placed a purchase order (PO) for four units. The expected delivery date is between April to June 2020. Each unit is destined for a separate location for end-user testing in Army locations in the United States. 

The purchase orders are a milestone for Cummins and for Cummins Power Systems, and a win for the engineers who worked quickly and tirelessly to bring the idea to life.

"There is a lot of excitement about working on a new product," Swanson said. "The engineering team is dedicated and working hard to meet the aggressive delivery dates and challenging specifications we have established."

For Palmer and his team, this moment feels like a long time coming.

“Having the military recognize our capabilities in the microgrid field validates that we can do this. It’s gratifying to be recognized by them," Palmer added.

Brad Palmer - Cummins AMMPS and TESS
Brad Palmer before and after shaving his mustache, welcoming a clean face for the first time in 34-years and fulfilling a promise he made last year.​

Keeping his promise...

TESS’ first purchase order also came with a promise from Palmer in October 2018: If the system he was helping develop ever received a purchase order, he would shave the mustache he has had since he was 18 years old.

On June 3, 2019, Palmer fulfilled that promise and welcomed a clean-shaven face for the first time in 34 years. 

Palmer, Swanson and the entire TESS team are cautiously optimistic that the technology will be embraced and can be turned into future production. It is no doubt that, as Cummins continues to power the future, all eyes will be watching the journey of this unique and innovative application.

Amy Lewis photo

Amy Lewis

Amy Lewis leads internal communications for the Power Systems segment of Cummins Inc. Prior to joining Cummins in 2015, Amy led communication training for a global cloud-based software company and was an instructor of Public Speaking.

What does the future hold for the construction sites of the world?

Worksite of the Future

Introducing our 'Worksite of the Future' series of articles, where we look at the trends that will shape the future of the construction industry. 

For the construction site of the future, equipment and site managers could be checking on their dozers and excavators before they ever leave home. Using a dashboard on their laptop or phone, they could check to see what maintenance has been performed overnight and what maintenance will be needed to maximize uptime over the next few days. Some predict a time will come when equipment and site managers never have to leave their home, performing their jobs remotely. Their autonomous equipment could be controlled remotely, too.

It may be a while before any of this happens. But as the construction industry evolves, Cummins Inc. will partner with construction customers to develop innovations that work for them. In fact, some of these advancements are around the corner.

We want to share our vision of the future worksite, how we see the evolution affecting our customers and what we are doing to evolve with it. We will bring this information to you through a series of short articles over the next several weeks. 

A natural starting point is understanding the driving force behind a technology shift and how these advancements can address the challenges facing this critical industry. By outlining a few key elements driving change around equipment powertrains, we will explore how we are adapting current technology to meet the need of today’s construction industry.

We believe advanced diesel power has a long future in the construction space, but there are alternative power solutions available that make sense for certain applications. Beyond technology advancements with the equipment powertrain, we can deliver productivity improvements with digital products, through the internet-of-things (IoT) and machine learning.    

As the series progresses we will explore the power solution technologies of the future and even showcase some current test cases. We will look at specific job tasks each application performs on the site, and how that duty cycle aligns with the strengths of some future technologies. With any new advancements, the rate of adoption will depend on many factors, so we will discuss these items and how they might adjust the way construction projects are planned. 

Today, equipment managers are projecting things like fuel consumption, filter replacements and lubrication changes. In the future, those same equipment managers might be considering electricity consumption, charge schedules and how that might impact infrastructural support. For example, will portable charging modules be required, or should the site install charge towers tied directly into the electrical grid or a series of generators?       

As the power solutions used to move construction equipment evolves, so will the support that is required. Our service tools and support models will evolve with emerging technologies. Digital technologies that monitor and automate service actions across multiple worksites and product lifecycles will contribute to keeping construction sites running efficiently. The same prime mover technologies that will be showing up on the site will also be used in service vehicles to deliver energy storage and replacement parts, maybe by leveraging predictive algorithms.

We are excited to share this evolutionary story, we hope you will tag along and enjoy.

Learn More and Join the Conversation

Join the conversation with #Cummins on your social platforms or visit to learn more about our current and future product solutions. We also have Cummins experts around the world happy to answer your questions. Find your nearest Cummins professional by visiting or calling 1-800-Cummins.  

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Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Trade activity to urbanization, trends driving the future of rail industry

Over 50 tons. This is the amount of goods transported annually, per person in the U.S. This shouldn’t be surprising given the device you are reading this article on is likely made from several different minerals and multiple sub-components. These get mined or manufactured at different locations then transported to various locations in-between, before getting shipped to you. 

The transportation sector is one of the pillars of our modern world, and rail is a critical component of this eco-system. This article spotlights a few trends impacting the future of the rail industry to help your organization succeed and keep your perspective of the future fresh with these insights. Let’s look at these three trends influencing the rail industry this decade.

No. 1: An urbanized world needs more efficient ways to transport people

It may be difficult to imagine that only a third of world’s population lived in urban areas just a few decades ago. In comparison, more than half of world’s population live in urban areas today. 

There are good underlying reasons for urbanization: people move to urban areas to prosper, find better jobs, and to get access to education and health services. Meanwhile, urbanization also has its damaging side-effects; we live in urban areas where some face water and air quality issues, poverty and limited housing. When it comes to transportation, congestion and the environmental impact are commonly called out as two side effects of urbanization. 

Urban transportation modes - infographic
Moving people in urban areas with different modes of transportation. 

On the bright side, emerging technologies in the energy sector combined with advancements in connectivity help us create more efficient transportation solutions. These include electric buses, autonomous cars and of course, modern trains.   

Modern trains feature innovations such as the use of renewable fuels, sensors and IoT devices. These enable autonomous operation, increased safety and a reduced carbon footprint. Moreover, rail transportation continues to offer the highest capacity per hour to serve people’s travel needs in a transitway setting 1.

Going forward, urbanization is expected to increase the demand for rail transportation within and across urban areas.

No. 2: Expanding middle class consumes more; increasing the transportation of goods

2018 was the first year 50 percent of the world’s population had enough discretionary spending to be considered “middle class” or “rich,” according to The Brookings Institution 2

There are two sides of this story. On one side, the middle class is under pressure with weakening job security and stagnating income levels. Moreover, the on-going COVID-19 pandemic puts increasing strain on our economies. On the other side, a growing middle class means increasing the number of people with higher purchasing power. This results in increasing trade activity and traffic of goods. 

expanding middle class - infographic
Middle class to dominate demographics by 2030. 

Think of how frequently you replace your electronic devices and the extensive supply chain behind these simple purchases. Minerals to be transported to mills to produce metals. Then these metals get transported to factories to produce goods. These goods get transported to warehouses, then to consumers. Trains have long been a critical component of the transportation eco-system that facilitates this freight movement. 

Going forward, the continued expansion of the middle class is expected to fuel the growth in the rail industry when it comes to freight transportation.

No. 3: Our environmentally conscious society demands greener modes of transportation

Seventy-five percent of the respondents to a PEW Research Center survey were particularly concerned about helping the environment 3
The transportation sector gets the spotlight when it comes to helping the environment by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is partially because the sector produces 15 percent of man-made GHG emissions globally, and is second only to the electricity and heat sector 4.

Rail has long been considered as one of the most environmentally friendly modes of transportation both for goods and people. In fact, it is estimated that rail moves 40 percent of freight measured in ton-miles, but is responsible for only 8 percent of freight transportation carbon emissions 5. Meanwhile, there have been significant advancements in road transportation over the last decade to lower environmental impact. These advancements range from trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells to buses powered by fully electric drivetrains

The rail industry is also reducing its already low environmental footprint. Trains powered by electricity supplied through overhead power lines have been in use for a long time. Nowadays, some of these trains produce zero carbon emissions when the electricity used is produced by renewable sources. There is also growing interest in powering trains with hybrid solutions featuring hydrogen fuel cells. In fact, Coradia iLint, launched in France, is one of the first passenger trains powered solely by hydrogen fuel cells and produces zero emissions at the point of use. 

It is an exciting time to be in the rail industry where the macro drivers such as an expanding middle class and urbanization increase the demand for the industry’s services. Moreover, societal changes coupled with emerging technologies in energy and connectivity create the room for the industry to transform itself into a high-tech sector. 

Sign up below for Energy IQ to receive periodic energy focused insights. To learn more about solutions Cummins Inc. offers in the rail market, visit our webpage. To learn more about hydrogen fuel cell trains, visit Hydrail webpage. 

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1 National Association of City Transportation Officials. (n.d.). Transit Street Design Guide. Retrieved from
2 Kharas H., Hamel K. (September 2018). A global tipping point: Half the world is now middle class or wealthier. [Web page]. Brookings Institution. Retrieved from 
3 Anderson M. (April 2017). For Earth Day, here’s how Americans view environmental issues. [Web page]. PEW Research Center. Retrieved from
4 Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. (n.d.). Global Emissions. Retrieved from
5 Webber M. (May 2019). Freight trains are our future. Popular Science. Retrieved from

Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

Cummins dealer co-op program helps WWII Veteran

When the Arkansas Veterans Administration (VA) contacted Cummins dealer, Northside Power, about providing a generator to a local WWII Veteran – Northside Power didn’t hesitate.

“We feel this is one of the simplest things we can do to honor someone who gave their time in service to our country during such a trying time in history,” said Greg Nalley, Owner of Northside Power. 

James Joseph Torres (Jim), 93, was born on May 23, 1926 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Shortly after graduating high school, Torres was drafted into the United States Navy at the age of 18. “I was 1 of 700 people drafted that day,” recalls Torres, “They just told me you’re going to the Navy.” Torres was soon sent to San Diego, California for naval training where he was trained as a fireman. During his three-year enlistment, he would spend most of his time on the U.S.S Massachusetts sailing to different ports all over the world including the Philippines, Hawaii, and the Panama Canal. 

After three years in the Navy, Torres transferred branches and enlisted in the Fourth Army where he served as a Corporal in the 1040 Squadron at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. There Torres set up a M.A.S.H medical unit used to train medics and nurses that were being sent to the Korean War. While working at the Brooke General Hospital at Fort Sam Houston, Torres managed to catch a glimpse of the famous General Douglas MacArthur. “He was walking through the hospital smoking his pipe,” remembers Torres. 

After six years in the Army, Torres enlisted in the United States Air Force, where he trained to become a crew chief on the B-52 bomber. “I scored the highest out of all the candidates on the test that day,” said Torres. He was subsequently stationed in Shreveport, Louisiana at Barksdale Air Force Base and retired in 1966 with the rank of Master Sergeant/E8.

Cummins continues to be a strong supporter of the US Armed forces. Supporting veterans aligns with the company’s core values and beliefs. Through the years, the company has provided power solutions to our troops in the field, as well as, mobile power solutions for military vehicles.

Torres yard

After learning that Mr. Torres was in failing health and did not qualify for additional services through the Veterans Administration, Northside Power and Cummins felt compelled to help. Using funds from the Cummins Co-Op Policy program, Northside Power was able to install the Cummins QuietConnect Series generator at no cost to Mr. Torres. 

Jill Weiler headshot

Jill Weiler

Jill Weiler is a Marketing and Communications Senior Specialist for the DBU. She joined the company in 2012, and has served in a variety of roles including Visual Communications as an associate producer and project manager. Prior to joining Cummins, Jill served in the United States Army for 4 years.

Five practical tips to keep your facilities and business on through potential power outages

Keep business running through a power outage

Healthcare services, water plants, data centers, greenhouses, food manufacturing and textile facilities producing personal protective equipment (PPE), all play a key role in overcoming the current pandemic. These industries also have another thing in common; uninterrupted access to electricity is critical for the continuity of their operations. 

Fortunately, resiliency and flexibility in our electricity infrastructure is expected to prevent any large-scale blackouts. Moreover, these facilities are also commonly equipped with on-site back-up power generation systems. These systems keep these critical facilities running if the utility power goes out. 

This article outlines five practical maintenance tips for your business’ back-up power system. These tips aim to address preventable and inspectable issues, and are complementary to your scheduled and unscheduled maintenance procedures, not substitutes to your existing procedures. 

No. 1: Regularly exercise your back-up power systems 

Regular exercising helps with reliable engine starting. It keeps engine parts lubricated, prevents oxidation of electrical contacts and uses up fuel before it deteriorates. Exercise your generator set at least once a month for a minimum of 30 minutes loaded to no less than one-third of the nameplate rating. Try avoiding periods of no-load operation, since unburned fuel tends to accumulate in the exhaust system. One testing option is to simulate a power outage by conducting the test with your facility’s load. Alternatively, you can use a load bank during testing if connecting to the facility load is not convenient for test purposes. 

No. 2: Ensure there is adequate fuel; confirm fuel quality 

Start by checking the main and day tank fuel levels to ensure you have enough fuel to operate as needed. Continue your visual inspection by checking for any leaks, cracks or loose connections. Tighten the clamps as necessary. Inspect the day tank float switch; it ensures the day tank is getting filled from the main fuel tank, as the fuel level within the day tank drops. Drain any water or sediments from the fuel system if necessary. Diesel fuel, when stored, is at risk of contamination. Exercising the generator set regularly is one way to address the contamination risk, since the fuel gets used through this planned exercise. NFPA 110 recommends testing fuel quality at least annually to ensure stored fuel has not degraded significantly and to identify treatment opportunities. If there is need, you can consider fuel polishing and tank cleaning. 

No. 3: Confirm that starting batteries are sufficiently charged  

Weak or undercharged starting batteries are the most common cause of standby power system failures. Begin with a visual inspection of starting batteries. The connections at the terminals need to be tight and clean of any corrosion. You can clean the batteries by wiping them with a damp cloth. Corrosion at the terminals can be cleaned with a solution of baking soda and water. Finish up by checking the electrolyte level and specific gravity. Fill the battery cells with distilled water if electrolyte levels are low. If the specific gravity reading is below 1.215, charge the battery. You can also check whether the batteries have recently been replaced; batteries should be replaced every three years.

No. 4: Regularly inspect and test power system transfer equipment

Transfer switch equipment generally requires limited maintenance, compared to power generators. Start by verifying all indication lamps are functional, and the control switches are in the proper (AUTOMATIC) position. Check circuit breakers and fuses to ensure they are free of dirt or corrosion. If your facility is required to be NFPA 110 compliant, test the transfer switches at least once a month. 

No. 5: Conduct daily visual inspections of your back-up power system

A simple daily walk around your back-up power system could help you identify preventable issues before they lead into loss of life, personal injury, property damage or loss of business income. Conduct a daily visual inspection including, but not limited to:

  • Check for oil and coolant levels.
  • Check for any debris, loose or broken parts; check if there are any leakages.
  • Check the operation of the engine coolant heater(s). If the engine block is not warm to the touch, the jacket water heaters are likely not working and the engine may be challenged to start.
  • Keep the area around the generator clear; do not store items around or on top of the generator. 
  • Make sure the generator and automatic transfer switches are locked 

Please ensure to follow the schedule in the operator’s manual for routine periodic engine and generator maintenance in addition to these practical tips. Many of the tips in this article are adapted from the following resources that you can check for further details.

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Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

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