In the November 1996 Communicator Quickmill featured a story on Caterpillar and their Aurora Illinois manufacturing plant. The Aurora plant is still the third-largest Caterpillar facility, covering more than 370 acres – with nearly 100 acres under the roofs of the four main buildings. 3100 employees design and produce wheel loaders, excavators, front shovel, and power-train components for domestic and foreign markets in this facility.
In 1996 Caterpillar had just installed their new 60" x 324" x 16" Quickmill Gantry Machining Center in their facility. Today 14 years later, Caterpillar’s Aurora plant has taken delivery of their new Eliminator 60" x 324" x 24" drilling and milling machine. Caterpillar’s strategy has always been to focus on improving efficiencies by utilizing new technologies to improve product throughput.
When asked about the research and thought process that Caterpillar went through in the purchase of the new machine Matt Zulkowski, the Manufacturing Engineer for the burn to shape at the Aurora facility commented, "Quickmill had us hooked on the first machine we purchased so coming back for another machine was a no brainer. Quickmill simply offers a bullet-proof machine at a price that no one can match."
To ensure that Caterpillar was a success with their new Eliminator machine, Quickmill offered Caterpillar a complete turn-key package to get the operators up to speed on the new features of the machine as quickly as possible. When asked about Caterpillars' thoughts on the installation and training process, Matt had this to say; "Quickmill brought experts to train our operators to ensure that we took full advantage of the machine's capabilities. The machine is literally a crown jewel for Caterpillar as we have had people from different Caterpillar facilities coming to see this machine operate".
The installation and training of the new machine were completed in October of 2009, and since then the machine has proven to be a good investment for Caterpillar. "This newest machine from Quickmill once again has exceeded our expectations. Quickmill is clearly outdoing themselves allowing us to see cycle time reductions of 10-25% from their previous machine. Now that’s real savings!"
Caterpillar is a world-class manufacturer who knows that to really make a contribution to their overall efficiencies in their Aurora plant, any new piece of equipment needs to be able to process the parts quickly, accurately and most importantly, without downtime. Quickmill was very aware of these requirements after working with Caterpillar for the past 14 years, and the new Eliminator machine was more than up to the challenge. According to Matt, "The machine has been able to repeat flawlessly since it was installed and runoff. The tool changer for one has NEVER dropped a tool, never faulted. The machine operates at such a high level that we are currently working with Quickmill on how to further utilize this great machine for milling."
The new Eliminator machine was originally intended to replace the old Quickmill machine and only be used to drill and tap various flat carbon steel plates, but as Caterpillar’s need for a more versatile machine grew, it was a natural step to utilize all the capabilities of the new Eliminator machine. "We are now tooling up our Quickmill machine to get into milling because of our confidence in the machine’s ability to repeat every time".
As the new Eliminator 60"x324"x24" machine is utilized in a variety of new ways, Caterpillar is confident in Quickmill’s ability to support and service the machine if the need should arise. Quickmill has developed an excellent relationship with Caterpillar and the staff at the Aurora IL plant and when asked if they would consider another Quickmill machine in the future, Matt had this to say; "This almost goes without saying but if Quickmill offers a product that is capable of doing what we need, they will be on the top of our list.", "Quickmill stands behind their equipment!"