By Greg Fenrick

I’ve always loved the sound of a diesel engine, and there is something about the smell of the exhaust that reassures you of the hidden power. My parents used to have a Mercedes 500D with a 5 litre, 3 cylinder diesel in it. It didn’t have much pick up and go, but it was ready to work anytime and could pull a holiday trailer with little complaint. They no longer have this car, but now pull a similar trailer with a big V8 gas engine. As you can imagine, there is no comparing the full economy and there may be some regrets in succumbing to the urge to replace the old with the new.

In mining it seems like haul trucks keep getting bigger, and with them so do the diesel engines that power them. Cummins make the following claim: “Cummins QSK78 is the most powerful engine in the mining industry. With 18 cylinders and 3500 horsepower, it's designed specifically for 320- to 400-ton haul trucks and other large mining equipment.”

For the world’s biggest truck, Liebherr’s T 282 B this is certainly true. This isn’t even close to the world’s largest engine. That claim goes to the Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C used for large container ships and produces 109,000 hp. So, what distinguishes the Cummins from its Caterpillar and Detroit Diesel competitors? The following is how Cummins highlights the QSK78 on their website:

  • Quantum System Electronic Engine Management - Continuously monitors engine conditions and automatically adjusts for peak operation.
  • - lets you monitor engine performance, cylinder by cylinder, while your equipment is working.
  • QuickServe ProAct™ - Gives you seven-day-a-week monitoring of your equipment and engines by industry experts. They review trend data daily (via with sophisticated prognostic tools, to ensure that preventive maintenance takes place when needed.
  • Cummins Prelub System - Eliminates wear from cold starts and hot starts, for longer engine life.
  • ELIMINATOR™ Filtration System - This optional feature eliminates up to 90% of lube system maintenance costs while increasing vehicle uptime.
  • High-Altitude Capability - Two-stage turbocharging, combined with two-pump, two loop intercooling deliver up to 3500 hp at 12,000-ft. elevations.
  • CENTINEL™ - Eliminates oil changes under most operating conditions.

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