Caterpillar opened its corporate visitor center just days ago. The company invested more than $52 million into the Caterpillar Visitors Center and Peoria Riverfront Museum projects.
The Visitors Center is nearly 50,000 square feet and home to a number of exhibits, including a 62-seat theater inside a life size Cat® 797—24 ft. tall, 400-ton truck. The facsimile of the 400-ton truck was constructed on-site using conventional building materials. You’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between it and the real machine.
As for the theater, the seats vibrate enhancing the experience as the truck roars across the screen leaving you with the feeling that you have just been for a ride in the behemoth. Having experienced both, I recommend that you race for the special seat.
The Visitors Center spotlights Caterpillar’s heritage, products and services and showcases the amazing work contractors, miners and the people who operate these machines do every day all around the world reshaping the earth and helping create a better world and better life for all of us.
Fun Facts About The Visitors Center:
- The Caterpillar Visitors Center has achieved LEED Gold status
- Solar panels on an adjacent parking deck provide about 10,000 kilowatt-hours of electric energy per year (approximately 10% of the Visitors Center’s projected annual energy usage)
- On sunny days the solar panels could fulfill up to 75% of the Visitors Center’s power needs
- The solar panel’s electric energy production reduces greenhouse gas emissions by about 80 metric tons per year
- The Time Capsule in the lobby of the Visitors Center will be sealed by Caterpillar Chairman and CEO, Doug Oberhelman, and is scheduled to be opened in 2050 – the 125th anniversary of Caterpillar.
- Upon entering the Visitors Center visitors will see a display of approximately 11 different configurations of the Ground Engagement Tool (GET). Cat® GETs are sacrificial iron that is designed to increase a machine’s production and protect critical structural components from wear.
- The 797F Mining Truck Theatre is housed in the bed of a 400-ton-capacity 797F mining truck
- The 797F is approximately the size of a two-and-a-half-story house, covering more than 4,500 square feet.
- The 797F is the largest mechanical drive truck in the ultra class industry.
- A truck of this size has to leave the factory on 13 different shipment trucks to be delivered for assembly.
- It takes 25 gallons of Caterpillar Yellow paint to cover this truck and prevent weather corrosion.
- There are 7 computers that process 6.2 million lines of code in this truck with software complexity similar to that of a space shuttle.
- Just one tire on this truck weighs 11,680 pounds (ie: one tire is equivalent to that of the tires on 500 regular-sized pick-up trucks)
- The Caterpillar name was derived from a company photographer who, when photographing a test run of the first steam-powered track-type tractor, noticed there were no wheels on the machine and commented that it moved like a caterpillar.
- Over the course of Caterpillar history, more than 4,000 employees have earned at least one patent during their careers.
The Caterpillar Visitors Center is a fascinating look at the company, the iron and the people making sustainable progress possible around the world. From the humble beginnings of the first tractor to the company’s present-day leadership in building infrastructure and powering the planet—it’s all right there on Peoria’s beautiful riverfront.
Stop in and you’ll enjoy experiencing Caterpillar on a self-guided journey at your own pace. You’ll find interactive displays and exhibits sure to engage and entertain visitors of all ages. Climb in the seat of a massive two-story Cat® 797 truck and take a virtual ride into a customer’s mine site down a haul road. Unleash your inner engineer and design your very own Cat machine. Hop onto a simulator and see first-hand what it’s like to operate equipment the way real-life operators do. Marvel at the sheer massive volume of the rugged Cat machines. Delight in the customer-driven design and innovation that has made Caterpillar a world-leading manufacturer. Spend an hour or an afternoon. It’s all up to you.
Boys and girls have always had fun playing in the sandbox (if you don’t know what a sandbox is, google it) and standing on the side of a construction site watching machines, dig in and push huge piles of dirt and rock, sculpting the surface of Mother Earth, creating the bed for a new road that will eventually lead them into a new era.