How Caterpillar Keeps Ahead of Construction Technology

Five different Caterpillar machines vs. a mountain of 600-lb Jenga blocks. Adding a fun twist to their “Built for It” campaign, Caterpillar staged a giant-scale Jenga game to show off the capabilities of some of their heavy-duty equipment.

You can’t work in the construction industry without hearing the name “Caterpillar” — and when you take a look at the way they embrace technology, it’s easy to see why.

The Caterpillar Technical Center

Dedicated to research and development of constantly improving solutions for their customers, Caterpillar maintains its own technical center in Illinois. The company spends more than $2 billion annually on its R&D program.

A major part of Caterpillar’s success in developing new solutions is their immersive 3D virtual reality center. Here, technicians can simulate and test products before they’re built — identifying potential problems with assembly, service, ergonomics, and visibility from the “driver’s seat” before spending big bucks on production. By using a set of 3D glasses and a tracking device, technicians can take a 3D tour of the virtual machine — including sitting in the cab to check operator visibility, walking around the machine (even ducking under various parts), and taking a look inside the engine.

Technology Strategy

Part of Caterpillar’s success is their attention to global trends and ability to use those trends to help predict what customers might need in the future. A few of these developments include reducing emissions to near-zero, automating, and autonomy. For example, they’re currently looking ahead to EPA Tier 4 Final standards to produce more powerful engines with far lower emissions.

Another of Caterpillar’s leading areas of research is in remote control operations that allow operators to run machinery from a safe distance. The company has also partnered with Carnegie-Mellon University to develop autonomous vehicles — vehicles that could, for example, haul materials and equipment without needing a human operator at the controls.

Cat Connect

One way Cat’s delivering technological solutions right now is through their Cat Connect program. This system uses data from technology-equipped machines to help you monitor and manage equipment and improve productivity. Through Cat Connect solutions, you can keep track of equipment location, fuel efficiency, and maintenance issues. You can also increase jobsite safety with tire monitoring and safety reporting.

Fleet Management

Concerned with equipment theft or maintenance issues? Caterpillar’s constant consideration of customer needs has led to a suite of powerful fleet management programs to help give you peace of mind and keep your equipment up and running.

These solutions range from a robust equipment theft deterrent system to a remote monitoring solution and road analysis control to help you manage efficiency and productivity on the fly.

Caterpillar has shown how embracing new technology can help you become — and remain — an industry leader. By following their lead and keeping your customers’ needs in mind as you explore new technology options, you can stay ahead of the tech curve and set yourself up for success.