Caterpillar shows how it builds its massive mining truck

If you’ve never seen Caterpillar’s 797 mining truck … it’s huge. The current, third-generation model, the 797F, offers one of the largest haul truck payload capacities in the world – up to 400 short tons – and has the highest payload capacity among mechanical drive haul trucks.

The company began development of the 797 series in 1997 to meet the demand from large-scale mine operators wanting to reduce operating costs at mines. The first truck hit the market in 2000 in North America, with worldwide marketing following in 2001.

The vehicle’s wheels are attached to the axle using 54 nuts that are torqued to 2,300 ft-lbs. Six tires are required per truck at a cost of about $42,500 per tire. The frame is created from nine individual metal castings with the smallest weighing 500 pounds and the largest about 12,000 pounds.

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At Caterpillar’s assembly plant in Decatur, Illinois, the frame is assembled and the powertrain is installed and tested. While most of the major components are manufactured and assembled at seven Caterpillar or supplier facilities throughout North American, the parts are then shipped to the customer site for final assembly by Caterpillar technicians.

Take a look for yourself at how they build this monster of a machine in this cool time-lapse video from Caterpillar:

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