RSI Member Spotlight: Power Drives

Since its founding in 1946, Power Drives, Inc. (PDI) has been an integral link in the supply chain of manufacturers, municipal departments, and companies worldwide.  PDI, now celebrating 70 years in business, designs and manufactures custom hose and tube assemblies as well as engineered systems for OEM applications.

In 2004, in collaboration with one of the world’s leading locomotive manufacturers, PDI designed a diesel powered auxiliary warming system for 78 locomotives destined for Tibet, where altitudes reach 17,000 ft. and temperatures drop to -40°F. The system was installed and tested on locomotives in Erie, PA and the Rocky Mountains prior to departure to China.  The units where tested for vibration, performance, life cycle, low oxygen levels, debris, and potential lack of maintenance. Based on this project The PowerHouse™ Idle Reduction Technology was born.

The heart of the PowerHouse™ is the 136,500 BTU/hr (40kW) diesel-fired heat exchanger, which provides rapid heating and dependability.  The PowerHouse™ is fully compliant with EPA Tier 4 Emissions Standards is EPA SmartWay certified, and offered in two unique design models.  The PowerHouse™ 120  is the only 120 volt plug-in offered in the rail industry and is used when locomotives have ready access to 120V (5 amps) shore power.  The diesel-powered Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) model is a modular, two-piece APU, and is ideal for road haul and run-through locomotives.  The APU also includes a standard remote monitoring capability to provide real-time data, anytime, anywhere.  Both PowerHouse™ models are the most compact in the industry and this design allows for easy installation in almost any locomotive.  In addition, both PowerHouse™ models include microprocessor controls to automatically start and stop the heat exchanger to avoid continuous run time, further reducing fuel consumption.   In fact, most customers realize a payback of their investment in only a few short months due to dramatic fuel savings.

For more information about our company visit or contact David Word at