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Nat Geo TV Visits CAT Decatur

CAT Decatur
A large mining truck frame is craned onto an in-ground turntable.

Ultimate Factories, a show on cable TV’s National Geographic Channel, recently showed viewers how Caterpillar builds its massive 797B dump trucks. Used in large mining operations, the 797B is almost two stories tall and weighs more than a Boeing 747 when loaded.

Components for the 797B are made in six factories across North America. The frame and most of the components are assembled in CAT’s sprawling 350-acre Decatur, Ill., facility.

The frame, considered the backbone of the dump truck, is comprised of nine separate castings forged in Louisiana. Once assembled, the frame stretches 37 feet in length and weighs 61,000 lbs. An astonishing 275 pounds of welding wire are required to stitch the metal skeleton together.

Careful viewers will spot a number of Axial Industrial Turntables throughout the episode. Axial designed and built 17 in-ground turntables for CAT Decatur with capacities up to 300,000 lbs. Powered by Airfloat air bearing technology, the turntables feature integrated rails used to “steer” the frames as they snake their way down the various assembly lines.

Click here to see the episode.

By Gary Mollohan

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Note: all images courtesy of Ultimate Factories and Nat Geo TV.

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