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PEORIA

Catepiller World Headquarters Visitors Center

sunny 82 °F

(Monday) Reflecting on my previous views of Illinois my opinions were skewed by thinking of IL as metropolitan Chicago, much like many think of New York as the Big Apple, and neither view is accurate. Western IL is farmland as far as the eye can see. Were it not for the State Lines the flow of this cropland goes from Nebraska to Iowa to Illinois. Peoria, like Moline is located on the Mississippi River. Their locations have contributed to their industrial base. John Deere's emphasis is agricultural machinery, although they manufacture construction equipment but not to the scale of Caterpiller. Today, the Company employs 95,000 people, has about 24 subsidiaries, and with annual revenues of $38.5 billion.
The Caterpiller Company began in 1926 with its 'crawler track' design. Caterpiller engines have earned a reputation for simplicity, dependability, and economy. Today, the engine sizes range from as small as a backpack to as large as a one-story house. Cat-powered pumps, for example, are capable of draining an Olympic-size swimming pool in less than 10 seconds! Its products provide power for locomotives, ships, electrical generators, recycling plants, etc., etc.
This info was of particular interest to me since I came from the St. Lawrence Seaway region of NY. As a young boy I remember the Seaway construction between 1954-1959 and learned with this visit that Caterpiller supplied 75% of the crawler tractors and 80% of the motor graders for the project. At that time it was hailed as the largest construction project in the world. Workers and machines toiled 24/7 for 5 years, sometimes in -30 degree temperatures. Our family knew many men who worked on that project.
More than 2,000 Cat machines were used to build the Trans-Alaska Pipeline (1972-1977). The list goes on and on for wherever in the world a major construction project exists Caterpiller machines are on the job. In the Caterpiller Display Building in Peoria there were featured products ranging from their first to the giant machines of today.
Topping the list is their 797F Mining Truck. It is a 'mock-up' on display and for a reason. Its operating weight is 1,375,000#s or 687.5 tons! The docent explained that an actual truck in the display area would crush the floor. The 797F is the largest ultra class mechanical drive truck in the world. The 'mock-up' has an actual front end (2 stories tall), 6 tires/wheels (13' tall), and the dump bed has a 36 seat theater in it where the Caterpiller story is told/shown.
The truck was designed for mining operations worldwide. Due to its size it leaves the factory on 13 separate trucks for on-site delivery. Once assembled a SINGLE dump truck load carries up to 400 tons (1 million #s), operates 24/7, can go 40 mph loaded, all with a design-life of 20 years. It has the carrying capacity of 256 Ford F-150 pick up-trucks! Computer monitors in the cab tell the operator-driver when scheduled/required maintenance must be done. It is 25 ft high, 50 ft long, and 32 ft wide and with the dump bed raised it is 5 stories tall and has a 4,000 hp Cat engine to power it. The cost is $5 million a truck. The vehicle is produced with 98% recycled steel; castings, structural, and plate. All pretty amazing. Both Caterpiller and John Deere are American icons of industry.

I am running out of space so will continue with Springfield's visit tomorrow.

Posted by dixter 17:32 Archived in USA Tagged & peoria catepiller

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