Social hubs, walking treadmill desks, movable furniture, quiet zones, focus booths, a food court-inspired cafeteria and a telepresence room.

This isn’t your stereotypical office space. Gone are employee cubicles, microwaves, vending machines and fluorescent lighting.

All the features of the new Cummins Seymour Technical Center combine to create a work environment for engineers and technical support specialists that fosters planned and impromptu collaboration and promotes efficiency and innovation.

And the best part is the nearly 9,000-square-foot facility is co-located with the Seymour Engine Plant, putting those who design engines in the same place with those who build and initially test them, company officials said.

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On Tuesday, Cummins officials, city and state leaders and others came together for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion and opening of the new facility, which is now the global focal point for the company’s high-horsepower engine business.

“We’re pretty excited about the evolution of the Cummins high-horsepower campus here in the Seymour community,” said Ed Pence, vice president and general manager of the high-horsepower division. “Both the transformation of the Seymour Engine Plant, which we’ve watched unfold for the last several years, and in the last couple of years the development and opening of the Seymour Technical Center, bridged together by the first cafeteria, which we are proud to bring to this campus.”

With 700 employees currently working at the engine plant on East Fourth Street, the tech center will house an additional 500 to 600 employees, bringing the total number of employees in Seymour to more than 1,200.

The Seymour Technical Center and Engine Plant will design and manufacture many of Cummins most-attention-getting and important products, including the QSK95, said Gary Johansen, executive director of high-horsepower engineering.

‘Inspiring, technology-rich’

Called the Hedgehog, it is the most powerful engine built by Cummins, with up to 5,100 horsepower output. It’s currently being used to power locomotives and to generate electricity.“These product lines do such important work from powering backup generators that support hospitals to powering rail and locomotive applications. They are in operation every second of the day around the entire globe,” Johansen said.

Seventy percent of the products produced in Seymour are exported to customers for applica- tions outside of the U.S., he added.

“The work done here is important to people around the world,” Johansen said. “It was important to us that our employees have an inspiring, technology-rich and collaborative space to work.”

The new technical center makes Seymour and southern Indiana even more visible and important in Cummins global reach and will connect it with other high-horsepower sites in the U.S., United Kingdom, China, India and other countries.

“It’s where we build our products for today and design products for tomorrow,” Pence said.

State-of-the-art technology including a telepresence room with cinema-like viewing screens allow people at Seymour to meet with Cummins employees and customers around the globe without leaving Seymour, saving the company time and money.

“With our laser-focus on meeting the needs of our customers, this technical center is a tremendous advantage in our quest to always be better, faster and first,” Pence said. “This addition enhances our Seymour site, which is now truly an industry-leading facility for engine design, testing and manufacturing with world-class credentials.”

‘Embodied our values’

From the outside, the two-story facility consists of windows and steel, but every aspect of the building serves a purpose.The exterior design features large, cantilev- ered steel canopies referencing the engineering work that will take place in the building.

The three facades were individually engineered to capture sunlight and provide passive solar management capabilities for daylight control and active energy-efficiency to reduce the company’s overall impact on the environment.

Looking past its architectural aesthetics, the space is designed to be highly flexible, allowing employees to adjust and move desks and chairs as needed.

Raw materials and exposed structural, mechanical and electrical systems in the interior create a “shop-like” environment that also relates to the company’s engineering foundation.

Ergonomic designs are used throughout the workspaces and for high-tech audiovisual capabilities. With a mix of workstations, treadmill walk stations and informal seating, employees are able to choose where they work instead of having assigned desks.

Employees will have their own work lockers to keep private items.

For those who need less activity going on to focus on individual tasks, whether it’s taking part in a conference call or preparing a presentation, there are quiet zones and focus booths to accommodate them.

“When we designed this facility, we looked at how we could create a building that embodied our values,” said Phil Henry, director of Cummins facilities. “With that in mind, we established environments with things like workstations on wheels and technology-rich collaboration spaces, which promote innovation.”

‘Unleashing the power’

Plant manager Darren Wildman called the new tech center paired with the expansion of the existing manufacturing facility a “really significant investment in Seymour.”There are now 22 test cells at the plant dedicated to engine research and development, Wildman said. Twelve of those cells, or labs, are new and have increased horsepower capability. The test cells will help Cummins focus on improving fuel efficiency and engine endurance under high loads and in creating near-zero emissions.

Wildman said he also is excited about the technical center’s new restaurant-quality cafeteria and dining area, which will serve both facilities.

“When I came here in 2007, an onsite cafeteria was something far beyond what we could ever believe,” he said. “So no more microwaves and vending machines.”

He is proud of the investment and growth of the company’s presence in Seymour and said it will result in more successes in the future.

“Looking back to 2007, this campus looked nothing like it does today. It couldn’t be more different,” he said. “But it’s very pleasing and very rewarding to see and be a part of it.”

Pence said Cummins has built its success over the years by remaining committed to its vision, mission and values.

“We are making people’s lives better by unleashing the power of Cummins,” he said. “I think if you look at what we’ve done with collaboration with the Seymour community, it’s really an affirmation of commitment to that vision.”

Pull Quote

“The work done here is important to people around the world. It was important to us that our employees have an inspiring, technology-rich and collaborative space to work.”

Gary Johansen, executive director of high-horsepower engineering, on the new Cummins Seymour Technical Center

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.