Construction Industry Outlook: Caterpillar Inc.
The construction sector is an integral part of life across all areas of the world. Thanks to some excellent innovations within the industry, the machinery that is used to accomplish various construction projects has drastically helped this important industry survive and thrive.
The American construction equipment industry is projected to grow to $37 billion by 2026, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. This 4% annualized growth rate from $28 billion in 2019 means that while the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic may have slowed industry expansion, the U.S. construction equipment market remains viable.
One of the most popular and prestigious companies within the construction machinery and equipment sector has long been Caterpillar Inc.
Caterpillar: The Global Heavy Equipment Giant
Caterpillar remains an essential part of construction, mining, oil & gas, agriculture, and forestry industries as well as other job sites around the world. For 2019, Caterpillar (online at www.Cat.com) remained the world’s largest equipment manufacturer, according to Statista, with $33 billion in annual sales. The company’s business almost equals the combined revenue of its two closest competitors: Japan-based Komatsu ($23 billion of revenue in 2019) and American competitor John Deere ($11 billion of revenue in 2019). For 2019, total global heavy equipment sales were around $153 billion.
According to the company, Caterpillar’s 2019 sales and revenue reached $53.8 billion; this includes results from its Cat Financial subsidiary.
Caterpillar’s Equipment Lineup
As the world’s leading manufacturer of heavy equipment, Caterpillar products have a far-reaching use in construction, mining, and other vital industries. Known for their technology and long-lasting durability, Caterpillar’s extensive equipment product line includes:
- Backhoe Loaders
- Skid Steer Loaders
- Compact Track Loaders
- Forestry Equipment
- Asphalt Pavers
- Material Handlers
- Hydraulic Mining Shovels
- Motor Graders
- Cold Planers
- Articulated Trucks
- Earthmoving Equipment
- Dump Trucks
Role of Excavators in Construction
The importance of excavators in the construction industry cannot be overstated. The trade has come to rely on excavators for versatility and a wide range of size options.
These smallest excavators are designed for smaller jobs and have a 6-8 foot digging depth capability with an average of 15 horsepower.
When a mini won’t do, a small excavator typically offers a 20-foot digging depth and 100 horsepower capability.
Thanks to a greater digging depth up to around 24 feet and at least 200 horsepower, a mid-size excavator can be a sweet spot for some operators.
Greater horsepower (often above 400 hp) and advanced hydraulic systems mean a large excavator can do things that would tax a smaller model.
Some excavators are designed for specific tasks like building demolition or operating on wheels instead of tracks.
Given the importance of excavators in most construction operations, let’s take a look at what Caterpillar has to offer. Since the company sells more than 60 models, we will focus on some of the smaller offerings.
With a 4,473 lb weight, the 301.8 mini excavator offers a 101-inch digging depth and 21 horsepower capability. New Cat operators appreciate the choice of an open cabin with a canopy or an enclosed configuration with air conditioning. The 301.8 is designed for easy and efficient use. Maintenance checkpoints are accessed through ground-level side doors and a tilt-up cab. Features like automatic idle and engine shutdown help keep operating costs in check.
The 308 model offers mini excavator size convenience while approaching the capabilities of a larger model. With a 20,077 lb weight, the 308 features a 182.8-inch dig depth and 69.5 horsepower. In addition to a sealed and pressurized cab, this bigger mini excavator features improved swinging, lifting, and travel functionality. Blade float helps with an easy clean-up.
When the job calls for increased capability, those in the construction industry frequently turn to Caterpillar’s model 336 large excavator. Weighing 81,900 lbs, this large excavator offers 311 horsepower and an almost 27-foot dig depth. Relying on the Cat C9.3B engine, the 336 can use biodiesel fuel while meeting EPA Tier 4 Final emission requirements as well as EU Stage V and Japan 2014 standards.
Other advanced features with the 336 include a tri-mode power setup — Power, Smart, and Eco — that can match engine and hydraulic power to digging conditions. Not to mention, it has operator presets for the joystick, power mode, and other operations that can be pre-programmed into the system.
The History of Caterpillar, Inc.
Caterpillar Inc., sometimes called “CAT” for short, began in California in 1925 following the merger of Holt Manufacturing Company and the C.L. Best Tractor Company. Before the merger, Benjamin Holt had purchased a patent for a steel-plate track system for vehicle movement, which observers at the time remarked had similarity with the movement of a caterpillar. Thus, the origins of the company’s name began.
Today, Caterpillar ranks number 62 on the Fortune 500 list of largest American companies. The company ranks number 204 on the Fortune Global 500 list of the world’s largest companies. Caterpillar is based in Deerfield, Illinois, and employs more than 97,000 people worldwide.
Caterpillar and MiniFinalDrives.com
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