Powering the future

posted on 2nd October 2019
Powering the future

A number of manufacturers of engines used in GSE are committing themselves to minimising emissions and – to this end – assessing the feasibility of various electric driveline options

Columbus, Indiana, US-headquartered Cummins is the world’s largest independent manufacturer of diesel engines. It is amongst the big GSE engine suppliers that will have a presence at this year’s inter airport exhibition in Munich.

Cummins will be highlighting its Performance Series of engines. Meeting both EU Stage V and EPA Tier 4 Final emissions standards, the company has engines available from 3.8 to 15-litre displacement. It says that these engines are said are “ultra-clean”, an important consideration of many customers now being their GSE’s environmental credentials.

Alexei Ustinov, vice president of Cummins off-highway engine business, informs: “Cummins solution has achieved the near-zero emissions levels demanded by Stage V.  All our Stage V engines are in production, some of them ahead of the legislated date of January 2020.”

He continues: “We have over 200 successful installations, delivering more with less for our customers – more performance with lower installation costs for OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] and lower running costs for operators.”

According to Cummins, its four-cylinder F3.8 and B4.5 Performance Series engines also offer particularly good power and torque, giving manufacturers the opportunity to improve their motorised GSE’s capability.

The 3.8-litre engine offers 173hp (129kW), while the 4.5-litre provides up to 200hp (149kW).

The F3.8 also benefits from Cummins’ Hybrid Power Plug-in (HPP) technology. The HPP offers a balance of battery power alongside a compact engine-generator. It works in the same manner as a full electric driveline but has both an F3.8 Performance Series powered generator and plug-in options for charging. It offers more flexibility where charging infrastructure is more challenging.

The 74kWh electric battery pack is to be displayed on the company’s stand at inter airport; it can form part of a full electric or HPP driveline for ground handling equipment.

“The HPP solution lowers total emissions, with the opportunity to operate at zero or near-zero emissions during the shift. Noise and fuel consumption are reduced, using a smaller engine, operating for less time,” observes Ustinov.

Moreover, according to the company, “Moving forward, Cummins will offer full electric and diesel electric solutions as part of a wide portfolio of power solutions.”

Further up the engine size range, the six-cylinder B6.7 Performance Series engine offers 326hp and a peak torque of 1375Nm – a 30% increase over its predecessor. And the L9 9-litre Performance Series engine provides up to 430hp (321kW).

“The higher torque capability of the Performance Series engines, particularly low in the rev range, makes them more responsive meaning the work gets done quicker – which improves productivity,” Ustinov adds.

The same Cummins engine platforms can satisfy multiple emissions standards, from Stage V and Tier 4 Final, all the way down to unregulated levels. Each machine can have the same electronic integration and mechanical hook-ups, with or without exhaust after-treatment. This give installation commonality and manufacturing flexibility to OEMs, thereby cutting costs, Cummins notes.

At the top of the range, the X12 and X15 engines deliver power right up to 675hp (503kW) for larger airport equipment.

“All Performance Series engines are available as power units which are more than 70% pre-approved for installation, including the engine, exhaust after-treatment, cooling system, hoses, air cleaner and mounting,” Ustinov concludes.

An interesting market

Elsewhere, Volvo Penta supplies power plants for marine and industrial applications on land and at sea. Christer Hedström, Volvo Penta’s director product planning industrial, notes: “The airport/GSE is a highly interesting market for Volvo Penta, being a global power solution provider to off-road applications.

“An important customer for many years has been the Austrian manufacturer of airport rescue fire-fighting vehicles, Rosenbauer. The strong partnership between us involves the supply of both diesel engines and electric drivelines. Volvo Penta has a few other customers in this segment as well, and we see great potential to grow.

“Our current diesel engine portfolio is a great fit for other ground support equipment as well, such as pushback tractors, towbar tractors and generators,” says Hedström.

As with Cummins, Volvo Penta’s environmental responsibilities are not forgotten. “Recently, our Stage V engine range was launched to the market, not only meeting the world’s toughest emission legislation, but also providing several benefits to customers.

“Each engine (D5, D8, D11, D13 and D16) has been specifically engineered to deliver optimum productivity, uptime and total cost of ownership, and is developed to offer ease of installation, operation and maintenance.”

Considering how different types of GSE are used, Volvo Penta Stage V engines are particularly beneficial as they maximise passive regeneration during normal operation and, therefore, obviate the need for stand-still regeneration. The fuel consumption is also reduced by up to 5% across the range compared to Stage IV engines.

In parallel to developing diesel-powered solutions, Volvo Penta is also leveraging the strength of the Volvo Group, developing an electromobility platform for the future based on proven technology used in Volvo’s bus and truck applications.

In fact, says Hedström: “We are seeing that certain electric applications are reaching a point in development where they are now providing a lower total cost of ownership than diesel engines. We see that airport GSE is promising for electrification, due to its machine utilisation and great accessibility to charging.

“We also clearly see the trend that the airports/operators are more and more interested in zero emission solutions. Our approach going forward in development in this area will centre around close collaboration with OEMs and operators.

“With deep application knowledge, our solutions will be fit for purpose and adapted to customer needs and we take a full systems supplier approach,” Hedström promises.

Modular product

Cologne, Germany-based Deutz is another of the engine manufacturers that has an operation dedicated to GSE. Like Volvo Penta, it, too, is seeing the potential of electric drivelines.

Deutz offers engines with capacities of up to 620kW for a range of markets including commercial vehicles, construction, agricultural machinery, materials handling equipment (MHE) and rail vehicles as well as GSE; two of the company’s current priorities relate to electric drives and its ‘modular product kit approach’.

Both of these themes are relevant to the GSE market right now, a Deutz spokesperson points out, in terms of carbon emissions-free mobility, which is certainly an important theme for many airports.

Kalmar goes with Cummins for electric tractor

Kalmar has chosen Cummins to be its driveline supplier for its next-generation electric airport tractor. Currently scheduled for introduction to the market in 2020, the Kalmar electric terminal tractor will be equipped with a 107kWh lithium-ion battery capable of DC fast charge. This means that operators can take advantage of opportunity charging during shift breaks.

To maintain battery life, a thermal management system will keep the battery within the optimal temperature range, enabling the machine to operate in a range of climates.

“We’re excited to take on the next phase in our journey in providing electric solutions to industrial markets in collaboration with Kalmar,” enthuses Julie Furber, executive director – electrified power at Cummins. “By combining Kalmar’s next-generation terminal tractor platform with our lithium-ion battery expertise and experience in system integration, we will be able to deliver market-leading, optimised electric powertrain solutions for port and distribution customers.”

Gina Lopez, vice president, terminal tractors for Kalmar, explains: “We selected Cummins because of our longstanding co-operation in providing world-class drivetrain platforms, their global reach and their strong commitment to leading the industry in electrification solutions.”

Cummins announced its commitment to invest US$500 million in electrification across many applications, markets and regions over a period of three years back in 2017. Then, in 2018, the company revealed a number of partnerships and collaborations with on- and off-highway OEMs who were working on electrification solutions in products ranging from buses to medium-duty trucks, light commercial vehicles, excavators and drayage trucks.