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Caterpillar Inc.

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Caterpillar Inc. is a U.S.-based company that deals in manufacturing industrial and agricultural machinery.

Often recognized for its vehicles’ yellow and black color scheme, Caterpillar is commonly referred to as "Cat" or “CAT.”

Its developments have pushed the industry to grow exponentially. Beginning in the early 1900s with crawler track development through the use of both steam and gasoline powered vehicles, Caterpillar has played a large role in advancing the equipment industry. It currently makes more than 300 different types of agricultural and construction machinery.

Success has permitted the company to expand worldwide with nearly 300 operations in 40 countries. Caterpillar boasts nearly 95,000 employees, 100,000 dealer employees, and thousands of suppliers doing business on every continent. In fact, over half the company’s sales are made outside of the United States.

Sales and revenues for 2007 are listed at more than $40 billion.[1] As a Fortune 500 company, ranked first in its industry, it is currently being traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the Dow Jones.


[edit] History

[edit] Moving Out West

During its more than 80-year history, Caterpillar has become “the largest maker of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbine engines in the world.” [2]

The company’s two pioneers, Benjamin Holt and Daniel Best, began developing machines separately in California, as early as the late 19th century. In 1859, Best headed west after his brothers who were working in cornfields. Eleven years later, he designed his first successful portable grain cleaner. As a result, he established factories in California and Oregon to manufacture the grain cleaner and other equipment he developed, including a combine harvester in 1885.

Benjamin Holt arrived in California in 1864 and formed the Stockton Wheel Co. with his three brothers. At first the company focused entirely upon wooden wheel production in hopes to enter the automobile industry. However, after witnessing the success and versatility of the combine harvester, the company decided to enter the agricultural market. The first Holt combine was manufactured in 1886.[3]

Still, the biggest innovation for agricultural was just about to arrive: the steam traction engine. Horsepower on farms was tremendously expensive. Some California farms required as many as 150 horses, and the cost to house and feed them was quite great.[4] Realizing this fact, Best recognized the steam traction engine’s potential for farm use. He purchased the rights to sell the Remington “Rough and Ready” engine on the West Coast. The new steam engines were adapted to tow the attachments Best had developed.

Holt also recognized the market for the steam engine. Soon both men were in direct competition with each other. The competitive atmosphere provided a perfect environment for further advancements.

[edit] Origins in Development

After years of involvement in California agriculture Holt recognized that Western soil was often boggy, becoming impassible when wet. So by 1904 Holt produced the first commercially successful crawler tractor. Based on the Lombard Log Hauler, it replaced wheels with crawler tracks, which spread the tractor’s weight over a larger surface area, allowing the vehicle to travel on mud and snow.[5] It “allowed planters to reclaim thousands of acres of land previously thought useless.”[6] The new vehicle quickly gained the name “caterpillar” since it moved much like the insect of the same name.

Holt began manufacturing gasoline-powered crawler tractors in 1908. It immediately provided him with a significant boost in sales.

Daniel Best sold his company to Holt Manufacturing in 1908. However, as part of the deal Daniel wanted his son Clarence Leo Best to be president of San Leandro, which was the main facility of Best’s company.

A few years later C.L. Best established his own company, C.L. Best Gas Tractor Co.

The U.S. military used Holt’s crawler technology to develop the tank in World War I.

Benjamin Holt died in 1920. He was succeeded by Thomas A. Baxter, a former Boston banker who had joined Holt Manufacturing in 1913 as a business manager.

With the end of the war came a struggle for both companies, and they decided the only way to survive would be for the two to merge.

[edit] Caterpillar is Born

In 1925, the Holt Manufacturing Co. and the C.L. Best Gas Tractor Co. merged to form Caterpillar Inc. Head offices were based in Peoria, Illinois; C.L. Best served as the company’s first chairman of the board.

By 1929 Caterpillar had achieved sales of $52 million, but was hit hard by the Great Depression. However, it was able to stay afloat because it had expanded worldwide, including facilities in the Soviet Union. Caterpillar struggled through the early 1930s, but rebounded later in the decade.

Despite the setbacks of the 1930s Caterpillar continued to institute innovative technology, most notably diesel-powered tractors. “In 1933 Caterpillar's diesel production was double that of all other U.S. firms combined.”[7]

By 1940, Caterpillar expanded its product line to include motor graders, blade graders, elevating graders, terracers and electrical generating sets.

The U.S. military used CAT vehicles and technology during World War II. Caterpillar tractors were used in battle zones to repair damaged roads and the company also helped to convert the gasoline airplane engine to the diesel model.

Success allowed Caterpillar to expand further into world markets. The Caterpillar Tractor Co. Ltd. was established in Great Britain in 1950 to “manage foreign exchange shortages, tariffs, import controls and better serve customers around the world.”[8] The company also opened subsidiaries in Brazil in 1954, Australia in 1955, and Scotland in 1956. By 1963, Caterpillar came together with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to become one of the first U.S. joint ventures in Japan. By 1965 they had renamed the company Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi Ltd., and have since gone on to become the number two maker of construction and mining equipment in Japan.[9]

In 1978, the expansion was paying off exponentially as Caterpillar sales reached $6 billion. However, Cat was confronted with a recession in the 1980s.

[edit] Financial Ups and Downs

The decade started positively with 1981 sales in excess of $9 billion.[10] The next year Caterpillar registered a $6.5 billion drop in sales due to a recession.[11] As a result the company was forced to make huge layoffs and close a number of facilities.

In 1985, the company hired a new CEO, George A. Schaefer, who decided to shift some production from U.S. soil abroad. The high value of the American dollar allowed the program to succeed financially. Workers were still laid off, but the company earned profits of $200 million.

For the rest of the 1980s the company swayed back and forth between financial incline and decline.

In the beginning of the 1990s Caterpillar was met with considerable strikes. Workers were eventually brought back to work under a company-imposed contract.

By 1993 the company began a factory modernization program, which reduced the time to process a part by 75 percent and reduced inventories by 60 percent.[12] The newly updated facilities introduced a number of new or improved products. By 1994, profits had reached $955 million.

Caterpillar was faced with a new set of strikes in June 1994. Many workers returned to work by December without the promise of a new contract.

By 1995 the company had achieved profits of over $1 billion for the first time. Caterpillar’s financial success continued throughout the 1990s with profits peaking at $1.66 billion in 1997.

In 1998, the company finally appeared to have overcome its worker disputes with a new contract:

“Most observers agreed that the company had come out clearly ahead, having largely met most of the goals it had set before the dispute began. The union, however, did manage to force the company to unconditionally recall 160 workers who had been fired for union-related activities during the prolonged and bitter period of strife.”[13]

[edit] The New Century

The turn of the century was met with another downturn, but Caterpillar was again able to remain afloat because of the diversity of its holdings. This is not to say that it did not suffer losses, but “thanks to its leaner and more diversified operations…the company [was] less vulnerable to the cyclical ups and downs of the heavy machinery industry.”[14]

The 21st century was also met with an increased global environmental focus. Caterpillar became the first engine manufacturer to offer a complete line of clean diesel engines fully compliant and certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to the Caterpillar website, “Caterpillar's breakthrough emissions control technology, known as ACERT®, is designed to comply with EPA standards without sacrificing performance, reliability, or fuel efficiency.”[15]

[edit] The Company Today

Caterpillar can be found on every continent in the world and its product groups are number one or two in every industry it serves. Currently CAT participates in a wide variety of industries including construction, mining, diesel and natural gas engines, generators, gas turbines, remanufacturing, logistics, and natural services operations.

CAT equipment can be seen in general and heavy construction, mining and industrial, forests, quarries, and even landfills.

Caterpillar is looking to further expand into both China and India as they “represent the largest growth opportunity in the global construction equipment market today.”[16]

Caterpillar registered 2008, quarter one revenues of $11.8 billion.[17]

[edit] Equipment List

Attachments & Tools
- Articulated dump truck
- Asphalt cutter
- Diesel engine
- Articulated truck
- Auger
- Gas engine
- Asphalt paver
- Backhoe
- Marine engine
- Baler
- Blade
- Oil and gas engine
- Cold planer
- Broom
- on-highway engine
- Combine
- Brushcutter

- Compactor
- Bucket
Power Generation
- Compact wheel loader - Coupler
- Fuel cell
- Crawler loader
- Fork
- Integrated system
- Crawler tractor
- Grapple
- Generator set
- Feller buncher
- Hammer
- Power plant
- Forwarder
- Hopper
- Switchgear
- Harvester
- Lifting hook

- Hydraulic excavator
- Material handling arm
Specific Model Categories
- Industrial loader
- Mulcher
- Caterpillar compactor
- Knuckleboom loader
- Multi-processor
- Caterpillar crawler loader
- Loader backhoe
- Pipe tong
- Caterpillar crawler tractor
- Log loader
- Pulverizer - Caterpillar front shovel
- Material handler
- Rake
- Caterpillar hydraulic excavator
- Midi excavator - Ripper
- Caterpillar loader backhoe
- Mini excavator - Saw
- Caterpillar material handler
- Mobile Excavator - Scarifier
- Caterpillar midi excavator
- Motor grader
- Shear
- Caterpillar mini excavator
- Multi terrain loader
- Snow blower
- Caterpillar mobile excavator
- Off-highway tractor
- Snow plow
- Caterpillar motor grader
- Off-highway truck
- Snow wing
- Caterpillar motor scraper
- Pipelayer
- Stump grinder
- Caterpillar multi terrain loader
- Road reclaimer
- Thumb
- Caterpillar rock truck
- Rock truck
- Tiller
- Caterpillar skidder
- Scraper
- Trencher
- Caterpillar skid steer loader
- Skidder
- Truss boom
- Caterpillar wheel dozer
- Skid steer loader
- Caterpillar wheel loader
- Telehandler

- Tractor

- Trencher

- Underground mining truck

- Underground mining loader

- Wheel dozer

- Wheel loader

[edit] Used Caterpillar Equipment for Sale

Search for used Caterpillar equipment being sold at Ritchie Bros. unreserved public auctions.

[edit] References

  1. Fortune 500. Money CNN. 2008-09-09.
  2. Home. Caterpillar. 2008-09-09.
  3. Homepage. Caterpillar. 2008-09-09.
  4. Used Car Check. Autolemon. 2008-09-09.
  5. Holt. Techdirections. 2008-09-09.
  6. Caterpillar Inc. Funding Universe. 2008-09-09.
  7. Caterpillar Inc. Funding Universe. 2008-09-09.
  8. Homepage. Caterpillar. 2008-09-09.
  9. Homepage. Caterpillar. 2008-09-09.
  10. Caterpillar Inc. Funding Universe. 2008-09-09.
  11. Caterpillar Inc. Funding Universe. 2008-09-09.
  12. Caterpillar Inc. Funding Universe. 2008-09-09.
  13. Caterpillar Inc. Funding Universe. 2008-09-09.
  14. Caterpillar Inc. Funding Universe. 2008-09-09.
  15. Homepage. Caterpillar. 2008-09-09.
  16. Homepage. Caterpillar. 2008-09-09.
  17. News. Caterpillar. 2008-09-09.

[edit] External Links