Perkins application and installation (A&I) process is a brand differentiator in a competitive market and part of our commitment to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to make sure their Perkins-powered machines work as they intend in the field. It’s a rigorous process that tracks a machine’s life from concept to production, to make sure we understand, anticipate and deal with every nuance of the machine’s desired performance to ensure a seamless integration and end user experience.
Perkins 85 years of experience has reinforced the company’s belief in rigorous coordinated planning. Today that function is carried out by our application and installation (A&I) engineers, whose primary function is to integrate Perkins engines into customers’ machines.
A&I is a comprehensive process, said Victoria Reeves, EAME A&I manager, involving several phases of consultation, design modelling and analysis. “It gives customers confidence that before they receive an engine, we know it will fit, and have done performance calculations on how it will perform in that application.
“If we come across any issues, we work with the customer to address them early. If some engine features don’t fit within a customer machine, we will work with the customer to resolve or offer a new engine option.”
Alex Wade, applications engineering technical lead, said: “We put engines in around 5,000 different types of application across markets and sectors, everything from telehandlers and forklifts to agricultural combines and tractors. We have experts in each area.”
The A&I process has six phases: pre-concept, concept, design, test, report and approval. It typically takes 18-24 months, depending on the customer and time frame, although ‘we do our best’ to manage tighter time lines.
Throughout the process, the engineers document test results, nuances of integration and performance parameters such as transmission rates, airflow, cooling and customer hook up points. “We aim to be as diligent as possible so when we sign it off we are confident our engine will help a customer release a quality product – it affects both our brands.”
The pre-concept phase involves understanding what the customer is looking for in terms of engines and specifications, and results in presenting a quotation to them.
In the concept phase, we have powerful tools such as the technical integration workshop (TIW) at our disposal, which brings together Perkins and OEM expertise to optimise engine integration. Alex said: “This creates visibility through 3D CAD modelling that allows us to integrate our engine into the customer machine. This not only has the capability to provide Perkins with confidence in the A&I work required but also allows us to work with the customer to realise installed cost benefits, such as using on engine aftertreatment. A week’s TIW can save an OEM several months in their own workshops.
“We introduce the customer to engineering teams, production teams, part requirement teams, applications, sales and marketing teams – the customer goes away knowing they’re well-supported.”
“The TIW process was a great programme to get involved with as it helped us to significantly reduce development times,” said one customer. “During a three day workshop we achieved six months’ worth of design work and integration.”
A lot of A&I activity comes in the design phase, and is recorded with the Perkins audit report form which “documents everything we can about the machine,” said Alex. This underpins the next phase, testing, which validates the customer’s key performance metrics.
“At this stage we’ll have a prototype engine so the customer can confirm the earlier virtual work and measurements, and a pilot engine to their absolute specification that they can run down the production line with all the tooling. This allows them – and us – to see how it will work in production.”
In the reporting phase, we check that everything noted or mandated in the A&I audit reports has been completed. The engineers then hand over the project to our product support colleagues while they compete the final phase – approval. Here they assess the project against the Perkins ‘book of knowledge’ for the application concerned and add any lessons learned, and study the customer satisfaction survey for any areas where our relationship could be improved.
“The whole A&I process is quite intensive,” said Alex. “We capture about 500-600 different data points. It’s all focused on putting quality machines in the field, customer satisfaction, and allowing us to do our job.
“It’s a good collaborative process that maximises both our brand and our customer’s.”
Victoria adds: “It’s a good differentiator for Perkins, especially on the lower-end ranges where our flexibility stands out from the competition. We provide a more personal service. Every OEM is assigned an applications engineer who works through the whole process with them.
“We expect the same of our distributors. They would have their own A&I engineers, and would follow the same process with their direct customers.”
“It gives customers confidence that before they receive an engine, we know it will fit, and have done performance calculations on how it will perform in that application.” – Victoria Reeves, EAME A&I manager