DECATUR — When you are the largest of something made at Caterpillar Inc.'s Decatur plant, you are already the center of attention when you show up on most work sites across the world.
On Thursday, it wasn't the size of the 24 Motor Grader that put it in the spotlight. Instead it was its place in history as the 1,000th motor grader of its kind manufactured at the plant.
“A lot of hard work and dedication and a lot of people to got us to this moment today,” said Tina Czerwinksi, the Decatur Caterpillar facility manager. “And it looks beautiful.”
Employees pose with the 1,000th 24 Motor Grader manufactured at the Decatur Caterpillar Inc. plant during a ceremony Thursday.
Employees from the
Decatur plant were on hand during a ceremony Thursday to celebrate the milestone before the machine is shipped to its new home in Australia.
“We have been building the
24 Motor Grader model since 1996,” Czerwinski said. “Twenty-six years, hundreds of employees have contributed.”
One of those employees is Section Manager Megan Haurberg, who began her career with the company and the celebrated piece of machinery in 2017.
“I take a lot of pride in this one,” she said. “This one’s kind of my baby.”
According to the company, the 24 Motor Grader model is often used at mining sites. The process of building the grader can take weeks, which includes fabrication and assembly, before it is shipped.
“They have exceptional operator comfort,” Czerwinski said. “Serviceability is really what our customers are looking for.”
The model has changed and updated since the first one 26 years ago. “But that’s always with our customer in mind,” Czerwinski said.
The normal processes of getting customer feedback and incorporating them with the products have evolved. “This one definitely has our customer’s stamp on it,” Czerwinski said.
Caterpillar has been a major manufacturer in Decatur since 1955.
Decatur Facility Manager Tina Czerwinksi shares information about the 24 Motor Grader and the teamwork that makes it possible during a ceremony Thursday to mark the 1,000th motor grader of its kind to come off the Decatur assembly line.
The 24 Motor Grader is different from the others produced on the Decatur assembly lines, according to Haurberg. The 80-ton piece of equipment has a 24-foot long blade.
“It’s really neat to be a part of it, to say that my hands were touching this machinery,” Haurberg said. “I take a lot of pride in that. It’s a huge accomplishment for us.”
Photos: Caterpillar operations in Illinois
An employee fabricates exhaust aftertreatment equipment Tuesday, June 7, at Caterpillar in Pontiac. The red tarp is meant to protect passersby who may not have eye protection.
Olivia Holowinski is training to be a fabrication specialist at Caterpillar in Pontiac.
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An employee sorts parts Tuesday, June 7, in the production factory at Caterpillar in Pontiac.
The schematics of the fuel injectors produced by Caterpillar in Pontiac.
Employees on the production line make components for diesel fuel injectors Tuesday, June 7, at Caterpillar in Pontiac.
The Caterpillar Employee Mixed Chorus sings holiday songs as guests celebrate a "Light up the Holidays" event in 2017 at the Doug Oberhelman Caterpillar Visitors Center in downtown Peoria. The museum offers interactive and historical displays.
The Holt 45 Long Track prototype tank rolls through Peoria during a parade on Nov. 11, 1918. Holt, one of the companies that would later become Caterpillar Inc., played a big part in World War I.
A giant Caterpillar wheel loader processes through downtown Washington, Ill., on July 22 as part of a parade that honored first responders who helped the city recover and rebuild after a massive EF-4 tornado leveled more than 1,100 homes in 2013. Caterpillar end loaders were instrumental in helping clear the debris.
East Peoria’s Building SS is the manufacturing home of Caterpillar Inc’s D10, a trendsetting track-type dozer that is one of Caterpillar’s largest dozers in the company lineup. The company celebrated the 40th anniversary of the D10 in 2017. The D10 represented a significant advance in the design of tracks using an elevated sprocket.
Caterpillar female employees were recognized for a job well done in the East Peoria Plant during World War II, 1942.
Caterpillar's entry during a Peoria parade on June 2, 1944. The company commemorated its production effort during World War II.
Caterpillar track-type tractor on the beach in France with U.S. troops during World War II, circa 1944.
Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR