Cummins Achieves Major Milestone in 3-D Printing for Production Parts

May 6, 2021 9:05 AM ET

Global power leader Cummins is finalizing its first production part using a new, high-precision 3D metal printing technology called binder jet. This marks a significant milestone in the company’s additive manufacturing and Industry 4.0 journey. 

The part, a Cummins Emission Solutions lance tip adapter used in high horsepower engines, is now moving through Cummins’ production part approval process for formal approval. The lance tip adapter, a critical emissions component in Cummins engines, atomizes and injects diesel exhaust fluid into the engine exhaust stream to reduce the amount of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emitted from Cummins’ engine systems. NOx is a key contributor to smog. 

“This is incredibly exciting, as it signifies yet another significant milestone in our 3D and additive manufacturing roadmap,” said Tim Millwood, Vice President of Global Manufacturing. “We’re on the cusp of being able to leverage a broad range of additive technologies to print the parts we need, using the right technology and at lower costs and increased speeds.”

Producing this part through additive manufacturing provides several additional benefits, including a lighter-weight design, improved geometry for fluid and air flow, and the elimination of the added complexity of cross-drillings. The company hopes to have final approval of the part and to start official production later this year.

In April 2019, Cummins announced its investment in binder jet technology, where a print head moves across a bed of powdered metal and selectively deposits a liquid binding agent in the shape of the part cross section, bonding these areas together to form a solid part one layer at a time. Depending on the complexity of the part, the technology can print 60 to 100 times faster than other laser-based printing processes, allowing high-volume production with this technology.