How good is this for South Africa? Cummins has cemented its role as a pioneer in engine technology by launching the first Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) engine training programme in Africa. The programme is available through Cummins’ main training facility in Johannesburg and is fully accredited by merSETA.
And here’s even more good news. The training is open not only to Cummins ‘powered’ clients but to all who want to avail themselves of such training. This includes all truck manufacturers who are dabbling in CNG technology.
Although CNG trucks are used extensively in Europe, they have not yet arrived as a force on our shores – although there are some manufacturers FleetWatch knows of that are testing such products for various applications. CNG offers ultra-low emissions in addition to benefits such as exceptional performance and reduced engine noise
However, operating with CNG requires a different approach to maintenance and servicing, particularly from a safety perspective and it is therefore essential that when people work on these products, they understand the underlying dynamics.
This is according to John Shuttleworth, service operations director at Cummins, who adds that the launch of the new training programme follows in the wake of CNG being touted as a ‘greener’ option for buses running in the Johannesburg and Cape Town metros.
“There is a lot of energy and discussion around alternative fuels and cleaner solutions particularly in terms of public transportation. Cape Town is already operating a few CNG buses but Cummins has highlighted a dearth of local training facilities and programmes in this regard. Cummins prides itself on staying ahead of the technology wave and our latest CNG engine training programme is a clear example of our substantial investment into the region,” he says.
The fact that training is now available locally means that technicians no longer have to be sent abroad for training.
“OEMs interested in CNG can now rest assured that a local training programme is indeed up and running. While we have started to funnel our own internal technical people through the programme, in future we aim to offer it to the rest of the industry as well,” says Shuttleworth. Now there’s an example of good corporate citizenship.
To deliver top class training, Cummins has invested in a fully-trained and accredited technician as well as all the necessary equipment and facilities.
While the initial order of CNG automotive products introduced into South Africa is running on Cummins engines, Shuttleworth points out it is not the company’s aim to sell directly into this market at present.
“We expect that this product will flow organically into the market via the OEMs. However, we still have a responsibility to support that product, and hence the establishment of the training programme.”
It is anticipated that the training programme will be extended to include Southern Africa as a whole. “For example, we do have users in Mozambique and other regions interested in bringing in such products in quite high volumes. We certainly do not want to be playing catch-up,” says Shuttleworth.
The new CNG engine training programme also represents the latest development of Cummins’ training methodology. “Our ultimate goal is to use a strong balance between virtual, theoretical and practical training as deployed in advanced industries so as to achieve higher levels of understanding and training application.
“We find there are so many new products coming in, particularly into Africa, that it is sometimes a challenge to stay ahead. Virtual simulation offers us an ideal opportunity to keep ahead of the learning curve, as well as allowing us to present training at our customers’ own facilities,” says Shuttleworth, adding that such training also makes good business sense as there is a lot more focus on environmental awareness and reducing emissions at the moment.
This is really great stuff and good news. Well done Cummins.