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Honoring the legacy of Cummins engineers

Views: 0     Author: by Cummins Inc., Global Power Technology Leader     Publish Time: 2023-04-14      Origin:


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Honoring the legacy of Cummins engineers

Dr. Perr anthologies

Cummins Inc. engineers, technicians and technologists are no strangers to setting records in the industry, especially when it comes to powering the success of customers.

Since Clessie Cummins’ first two patents awarded in 1921, Cummins engineers have continued to foster invention and innovation year after year. In 2017, Cummins engineers and scientists set a record after receiving 287 patents from the United States and countries across the world. In 2020, 312 patents. By 2022, Cummins doubled our previous numbers, receiving a record of 623 global patents.

“Every company strives to leave a legacy of change and impact, but it starts internally with fostering an environment of innovation and ideation for individuals,” said Srikanth Padmanabhan, Vice President and President of the Engine Business. “We have some of the brightest people across the world working for Cummins, not solely asking the question ‘does this work well?’ but more importantly, ‘how can I make it better and something that has not been done before – for all stakeholders – for the planet, for our customers, for our communities and fellow employees?’ We believe that’s powerful, for both our employees to be so closely connected to purpose in their work and innovating for the future.”

In conjunction with the recent World Engineering Day, take a moment to reflect on our history of innovation, led by our incredible engineers, technicians, technologists, and many more.

Julius Perr Innovation Award

Cummins engineers are encouraged to explore their ideas, leading to upwards of thousands of inventions each year. Yet, while many of these thousands of inventions become patented – an incredible feat in and of itself – an even fewer number of those are considered for Cummins’ prestigious Julius Perr Innovation award.

Dr. Julius Perr, who retired from Cummins in 1997 as Vice President – Fuel Systems, began his 41-year career as a Cummins engineer and leader. Throughout his career, Perr submitted over 300 patents on engine technology improvements, 186 of which were granted he invented or co-invented, and more than Clessie Cummins himself.

“Dr. Perr really set the standard that the sky is the limit for ideas,” said Jonathon White, Vice President of Engine Business Engineering. “It’s rewarding to see employees strive to exemplify Perr’s ambitions, not for status or reputation, but because they have the ability and are encouraged to try - and maybe fail - but try again. That’s how we achieve progress, as a company and for our customers.”

Perr award winners 2022

To date, only 84 patents have been selected for the award, yet each award application symbolizes the promise of innovation and dependability as well as the desire for employees to continue pursing ideas that improve the world for our customers and communities.

Today, Cummins, with our recent acquisitions, has almost 6,000 active patents.

A look back at Cummins’ patent history

Throughout the 103 years, Cummins has made our mark in history through invention and innovation. Check out some of the patents that make our history.


Clessie L. Cummins filed for one of his first patents in 1921, just three years after establishing Cummins Inc. In 1925, the circulating fuel system for oil engines was granted. Crude oil used in engines contains a high percentage of gasoline. The purpose of the fuel system was to construct the injector and evolve a principle of fuel supply. It would allow the engine to be operated not only by kerosene but also by fuel sources with a low percentage of gasoline.

picture of original patents


When the United States was thrust into World War II, Cummins supported the U.S. Army with their technology. From generators to charge radio communications at the front lines, to engines powering ‘Ghost Ship’ minesweepers and heavy-duty trucks carrying soldiers to and from the battlefield. Cummins continued pushing innovation and submitting patents globally throughout that time.

Italy patent


Like many companies following the end of the war, Cummins experienced a great time of growth. Throughout the 1950s, over 65 patents were granted. While the geographic reach of the patents was predominantly in the United States, the company was expanding their patent reach into European countries. Technology like fuel supply, injectors, pressure regulators and distributors defined the 1950s.

Norwegian patent


Throughout the 70s, Cummins had over 175 patents granted. This was a time of expansion into new areas such as piston and cylinder construction, isolation of components from vibration, compressions ratio, and filtering and mixing. Dr. Perr was a prolific inventor during this time.


By the 1990s, the culture of creation and invention was deeply a part of Cummins. Patent work had heavily expanded into other countries beyond the U.S. and Europe including China, India, and Japan. With over 580 patents granted during this time, electronic controls for engines and early aftertreatment systems for particulate filters and NOx removal became key focuses.


Having officially established the Julius Perr Innovation Award in 2000, Cummins kicked off a new period of recognizing the innovative ideas and creations of its engineers. Cummins employees have submitted ideas ranging from internal combustion engines producing low emissions and NOx adsorbing catalyst technology, to developing methodologies to not only monitor the accumulation of sulfur on a selective reduction catalyst (SRC) but also to regenerate the catalysts faster and at lower temperatures.

In 2022, seven Cummins engineers received the prestigious Julius Perr Innovation Award. Eleven Cummins leaders were also named recipients of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) annual Patent Recognition Award. The SWE program is dedicated to recognizing industry leaders who are making significant contributions to the STEM community and the advancement of women in engineering.

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