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Company plans to unleash new Hedgehog next month

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The massive Seymour Engine Plant renovation and expansion continues motoring toward completion and soon will start making its star engine.

Production of the QSK95 — the new behemoth engine driving the $219 million expansion and creation of a new technical and office center in Seymour — will get underway next month for delivery in early August, plant manager Darren Wildman said Tuesday.

The starting date for production is slightly ahead of schedule, Wildman added Production numbers for the engine, nicknamed the Hedgehog, should reach into the upper teens to lower 20s this year as the factory hires more line workers and confirms more orders, he said.

“Things are going very, very well,” he added. “We’re excited and nervous. It’ll be good to get moving. We’re starting with 10 line workers, and that number will continue to rise as we ramp up production lines and receive orders.”

The QSK95 weighs more than 27,000 pounds and can generate more than 4,000 horsepower.

The factory eventually will employ about 200 workers to build the QSK95, the company’s largest and most powerful engine.

The heavy-duty horsepower plant and technical center will bring all   of the company’s southern Indiana engineers for the division under one roof.

The first engines to roll off the assembly line will be used to generate power, Wildman said. Another early application of the engine will be in the powering of train locomotives.

Other potential applications for the engine include powering boats, mining trucks and offshore oil and gas platforms.

The mining industry is eager for production to get started, said Ed Pence, vice president and general manager of Cummins high-horsepower engine division.

“They tell us they want the engine for their new products,” Pence said Monday in Seymour.

Customers around the world will receive those first engines, with destinations in the U.S., Europe and Asia, Wildman said.

The diversity in customers could be seen as an extension of the diversity in people who are designing and building the engines.

Mayor Craig Luedeman said he’s excited to see the city’s cultural diversity expanding as a result of the project, with engineers from the U.S., Asia and Europe adding to the area’s population.

That diversity is important to Cummins, Wildman said.

“We get the best from our people because of our diversity,” he said. “We rely on the best people from around the world.”

Work continues on the interior renovations and expansion at Seymour Engine Plant off East Fourth Street, but most external work is completed, Wildman said.

“You’ll see some landscaping work still taking place, but most of the exterior work is done,” he said. Workers, for instance, could be seen planting trees along a water retention pond that fronts

East Tipton Street on Monday afternoon.

Cummins launched the Seymour expansion project in April 2012, more than doubling the plant in size to 800,000 square feet.

As part of the expansion, Cummins is adding warehousing, engineering and production test cells, a new office building that will house up to 500 people, a cylinder block line and parking for new employees.

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