For The Tribune
Bartholomew County’s largest employer has expanded its footprint in the community.
Columbus-based Cummins Inc., a global power company, publicly unveiled its new Machine Integration Center, located at 6880 S. International Drive in Woodside Northwest Industrial Park, with a Tuesday ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour.
Employees began working at the center July 16.
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The facility supports global vehicle integration efforts for multiple business segments, including the Electrified Power Business, for on- and off-highway equipment for customers in the United States, Europe, China and other countries, said Jennifer Rumsey, Cummins vice president and chief technical officer.
The facility is used for testing and installing powertrains in customers’ machines — such as buses, trucks and wheel loaders — that are currently on the road or in development and making sure the mechanical, electrical and other systems are performing optimally, said Rumsey, who described it as a key investment.
Cummins previously had several smaller pilot centers to do this kind of work, but the Machine Integration Center allows the company to put all of that work under one roof, which aids collaboration, Rumsey said.
“This one is much larger and has more capability and is designed to ensure we have the ability to do integration when we need to grow in the future,” she said.
About 35 to 40 employees work in the office space and another 25 in the shop area, said Dave Andre, operations manager for the Machine Integration Center.
The new 50,000-square-foot facility includes:
16 dedicated service bays
Office space for about 45 employees
Powertrain integration area
Jason Hester, president of the Greater Columbus Economic Development Corp., was among local and state dignitaries who toured the facility and said he was impressed. The structure originally began as a shell building constructed to attract business investment.
Columbus has few empty industrial buildings to show companies considering an investment, and some will not visit a community that has nothing to show, Hester said.
“It’s an impressive facility. It helps explain why we supported the shell building,” Hester said.
Force Holdings LLC purchased the 10.8-acre property, located between South International Drive and County Road 300W, on July 1, 2014, to construct a building ready for occupancy by a company. The idea was to have the basic structure ready that a company could then tailor to its needs.
GCEDC was able to show the shell building to a number of prospects, Hester said.
“Force did a terrific job with the building,” he said.
Cummins Inc. purchased property from Force Holdings LLC on Dec. 27, 2016, for $2.6 million, according to property records.
The company spent several million dollars to get the shell building ready for use, Cummins spokeswoman Katie Zarich said.
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The 50,000-square-foot Cummins Machine Integration Center, 6880 S. International Drive in Columbus, is where the company tests and installs powertrains in customers’ machines, such as buses, trucks and loaders, and makes sure they function properly.