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Noise pollution is no laughing matter. Take a brief look at the process behind making some of the quietest generator sets on the market, and how Cummins is committed to combating environmental noise.

If you admire Parisians who have the luxury of sipping their coffee with a direct view of the Eiffel Tower, consider this: The average Parisian has a hearing loss equivalent to adding more than 15 years their actual age. In its defense, Paris is not unusual; most residents in other cities face the same challenge at varying levels.

Environmental noise is a growing concern, and it's one of the reasons Cummins is working hard to make its products the quietest in the market. Here’s why you and everyone you know should take noise pollution seriously:

  • Hearing loss: Hearing loss is the most common and well-documented impact of noise pollution. In cities, transportation and construction are two primary offenders when it comes to noise levels that could be dangerous for residents.
  • Stress and depression: Often overlooked, noise pollution can result and stress and depression. And both have their own adverse impacts on overall health.
  • Impact on the broader ecosystem: High noise levels can negatively impact the ecosystem. Marine life, for example, can experience noise pollution through ship engines, oil drilling and more, affecting everything from reproduction to defense mechanisms. 

When it comes to addressing noise pollution and making some of the quietest products on the market, Cummins has an advantage: An acoustic testing center unlike just about any other in the world.

With sound-absorbing acoustical wedges that line the building's walls and distinctive curved ceiling, Cummins' Acoustical Technology Center (ATC) in Fridley, Minnesota is large enough to house over 20 school buses. The building is engineered to eliminate unwanted noise, leaving just the sound from the product to be precisely measured.

Let’s see how a combination of this facility, our people and technologies bring innovations in helping make Cummins generators - and the world - a little bit quieter.

Pic. 1: Fridley, Minnesota is home to Cummins' Acoustical Technology Center, seen here

One of the quietest high horse power generators in the world

An enclosed generator set powered by a Cummins QSK78 engine is roughly the size of two school buses and generates enough electricity to power over 200 houses. Perhaps even more impressive is that the amount of noise it generates is the equivalent to that of rainfall (~50dBA @ 7 meters from the surface of the enclosure). You can reduce the noise produced by the generator set even further to levels that are lower than a typical human conversation level by equipping it with ultra-silent enclosures.

"A mix of technologies help us deliver these ultra-quiet products, and at the center of these innovations is the company’s trade secret element, Ducted Cavity Acoustic Material (DCAM)," said Dr. Shashikant More, Engineering Manager and Global Subject Matter Expert (SME) at Cummins. "This material is one of the lightest in the world in its class, over 200 times lighter than cotton, and is sometimes referred as ‘As light as cloud!’ due to its light weight. DCAM helps us to effectively absorb noise while keeping enclosure footprint minimal."

Homes featuring backup generators as quiet as normal human conversation

It is becoming increasingly common for homeowners to have generators to power their entire home during an outage. This trend is fueled by a combination of an increasing number of power outages and our growing dependence on electricity in modern lives. 

Pic. 2: The everyday noises that humans are exposed to could cause serious harm to our hearing

Cummins QuietConnect whole house generators produce approximately the same level of sound as a normal conversation. This product allows homeowners to power their entire home with little noise pollution.

Whether it is the larger or smaller generator sets, innovations continue to help Cummins foster prosperous lives while minimizing its impact to the environment. Whether it is a reduction of noise, harmful exhaust gases or fuel consumption, there is a team of diverse and talented individuals working at Cummins to bring the next innovation to life.