By Jennifer Jensen, Assistant Editor

In an effort to continue to meet its goal of being ahead of customer demand and emission standards, Tognum has recently expanded its MTU Aiken plant in Graniteville, S.C., with the addition of a research and development facility for its diesel engines.

A grand opening for the $40 million expansion was held last month and included the addition of the new R&D center that houses two combustion air-controlled, transient test cells for off-highway diesel engines used in mining and other industries. The building is large enough for two additional cells, which are targeted for completion in February 2015.

“We have space for the future,” said Joerg Schwitalla, chairman of Tognum America.

The cells are equipped with the most advanced engine test equipment that can simulate a variety of environmental conditions, applications and load demands, MTU representatives said. “Everything in the cell is to stimulate what is in the field.”

Tognum will use the facility to develop newer, cleaner and more efficient diesel engines.

The completion of the R&D facility marks the final step in shifting all manufacturing and research and development to the South Carolina facility from its facility in Michigan.

“Today we celebrate the last day of our Exodus,” said Joerg Klisch, vice president  of operations, North America, Tognum America Inc.

Tognum has always had a R&D facility, but will now have a more advanced area in America at its Aiken facility. Joerg Baumgarten, senior manager for development and product engineering, North America, said Tognum decided to add the R&D facility in Aiken so it could be close to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is the main regulating agency for emission standards.

The idea is to try and predict what is coming from the EPA and stay ahead of regulations, developing engines that will meet future mandates, said Norbert Veser, vice president of development testing engines. As well as making sure the engines fit the demands of a lot of customers.

Gary Mason, senior public relations manager for Tognum America, said, “The idea is to develop engines to meet the needs of our customers well into the future. The company puts a lot of effort and resources into the development of engines before they need them.”

This is true of MTU’s development of the EPA Tier 4 final-ready, large-displacement diesel engines, which are based largely on the Tier 2 platform. Veser said the company tries to keep the base engine as common as possible and add the needed technology to meet the new standards. The Tier 4 Series 2000 and 4000 engines for the North America market will be produced at the Aiken plant.

The Tier 4 Final diesel engines were two years ahead of the EPA’s rule, Mason said.

This requires a lot of work from the development team, which is why it is so important to have a good, strong team, Veser said. “Our goal is to be in front of the development. We want to set a standard,” he said.

In addition, the new facility also created 20 additional jobs. The expansion also included a new administration building and additional parking areas.

Tognum America is part of the Tognum Group and is responsible for the manufacture, sales and support of MTU and MTU Onsite Energy branded products in North America and Latin America.