Kohler's Tom Cromwell Talks Engines & Power Generation
Kohler Power president talks about Liebherr, Clarke Energy, what’s ahead for the global generator and engine manufacturer.
One of the key architects of the company’s growth strategy is Tom Cromwell, president of Kohler Power. A vice president at heat transfer specialist Modine Manufacturing before coming to Kohler in 2009, Cromwell served as president of gasoline and then global engine business before assuming leadership of the company’s overall engine and power generation segments in 2009. Diesel Progress recently talked with Cromwell in his office in Kohler, Wis.
In 2016, Kohler partnered with Liebherr on a new range
of generator drive engines and then launched the KD series generator sets based on those engines. Where might that relationship go in the future?
Liebherr’s capability, from a development standpoint, has been outstanding. They have strong
engineering capabilities; strong technical capabilities and they’ve invested a lot into the partnership. They’ve built a brand new facility in Colmar, France, for these units. They’ve continued to add more and more capacity into both the Bulle and Colmar facilities to support our growth.
They’ve done the engine development work on the mining and construction application for those engines and
we’ve helped them from an engine development standpoint specific to G-drive engines. If you think about
most generator applications, it uses an engine that was developed for something else and at some point, the engine is retrofitted to be an acceptable generator engine?
Everything that has been launched by Liebherr so far for these large platform engines has been for generators. We changed where the turbos are configured and a lot about the base engine configuration to make it a strong generator engine. Liebherr’s willingness to invest from a capital standpoint and from a development standpoint, exceeded even what we anticipated going into the partnership.
With the KD series and where we’ve gone from a generator standpoint, the range is everything from a 700 kW unit up through 4 MW at the top end of the range. Right now we’re capped at 3.3 MW, but we’ll start doing a lot of the prototype work in 2019 and then in 2020 will be in full production with the 4 MW unit.