Cummins marks 10 years of silence

By Mike Brezonick24 June 2022

Cummins ATC Cummins is marking the 10-year anniversary of the Acoustic Technology Center (ATC) at the Cummins Power Systems campus in Fridley, Minn. (Photo: Cummins)

Cummins has historically been a company that has let its actions do the talking for it. But in one case, at the Cummins Power Systems facility in Fridley, Minn., it’s the lack of sound that has been the story.

The Cummins Acoustic Technology Center (ATC), located at the Fridley campus, is marking a decade of operation. The advanced facility has given Cummins and its customers the ability to test product noise levels of power generation systems of all sizes in the company’s drive to deliver the quietest power generation products on the planet.

As noise emissions regulations continue to advance around, power generation systems need to comply to increasingly stringent sound thresholds. To pass those rigorous acoustic requirements, highly scientific and precise testing is essential.

“The ATC is a magnificent house of sound,” said Gary Johansen, vice president of Engineering for Cummins Power Systems. “We recognize the need for an investment like this and wanted to make sure we had a world-class facility to deliver world-class solutions.”

Cummins ATC Under the distinctive roof of the ATC is one of the largest hemi-anechoic chambers in the world that can record precision-grade acoustical data from 20 to 20,000 Hz. (Photo: Cummins)

Cummins said the ATC is the largest facility of its kind in the world, with a hemi-anechoic chamber that is 105 ft. long, 80 ft. wide and 36.5 ft. high, The chamber can record precision-grade acoustical data from 20 to 20,000 Hz – virtually the entire range of human auditory recognition.

Prior to the ATC, Cummins conducted noise testing at an outdoor facility in Fridley, but because of the frequently harsh weather conditions in Minnesota and uncontrolled climate and outdoor background noise levels, the accuracy of the acoustic testing was often compromised. That led to the construction of the ATC, which took more than a year to build and is distinctive for its curving roof.

The interior of the facility utilizes patented Metadyne anechoic wedges that consist of foam-coated perforated metal wedges filled with fiberglass that deliver a 50 Hz frequency cutoff. The chamber is also equipped with a sophisticated ventilation system that transfers air at a rate of 222,500 cfpm while maintaining regulated temperature and humidity levels.

While the site has been operating for a decade, Johansen said “the ATC is also a significant investment for the future.”

“Today we have been testing diesel and natural gas gen-sets, as well as other industrial equipment,” he said. “But what we are quickly moving towards is testing hydrogen fuel cells, energy storage systems, and power electronics that control and manage the movement of power between assets and sources. So, in the future we may be testing fewer engines, and more new technologies.”

The 10-year anniversary of the Acoustical Technology Center coincides with the launch of Cummins Destination Zero, the company’s journey to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Any person that visits the ATC will be marveled not only at what it looks like but also at what it can do,” said Alex Savelli, managing director of Cummins Electrolyzer business.

To see a video on the Cummins Acoustic Technology Center, click here.

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