For more than 30 years, the CAT 3500 engine series has brought power to people and businesses all around the world. As we visit the state-of-the-art Caterpillar production facility in Tianjin, China where the 3500 marine engines and generator sets are built to order for Asian customers, we also take the opportunity to look back on some highlights in the strong relationship between China and this reliably muscular engine.

With over 180,000 engines providing over 250 million horsepower, the CAT 3500 series engine has been an unsung hero powering much of the world. From supplying vital standby and prime power for communities, hospitals, data centers, aquariums… you name it, to providing the muscle behind the toughest, most unforgiving applications in rail, mining, oil & gas and, of course, marine. In Tianjin, they started manufacturing 3500 generator sets back in 2010. All with the exact same quality processes and standards as the Lafayette factory in North America.


And, as Gordon Wong the Product Director for the Asia Pacific region points out, the same products down to the tiniest detail, “Our series 3500 products from Caterpillar Tianjin are exactly the same as those from the Lafayette factory in North America. It is the same product with the same design.”
As you look around the impressive facility nothing looks out of place. It runs like clockwork and that’s from taking the lessons of 35 years of production in Lafayette and applying them directly in China.
“Throughout the entire design process, everything from production process to quality control is built on 35 years of experience in the Lafayette factory, says Gordon.

“We have established a culture of quality, quality systems and lean production processes to ensure world-class quality of our products.”
Good news for the customers who will continue to rely on the 3500 engines and generator sets to push, power and drive business – and even life itself – in this part of the world. Because while meeting customer demands and making them happy is the main story, the 3500 series also has a special place in the hearts of many Chinese. Over the years, it’s boosted marine and other industries but also brought light and warmth to places where they’ve been in short supply.


SPREADING LIGHT AND JOY

2500 meters up in the Jade Dragon Snow Mountains of Yunnan province lies the village of Yuhu. It’s a remote community where the village’s 380 families have indoor power but very limited outdoor electricity. But that doesn’t stop them celebrating their Lantern Festival every year to announce and honor the start of spring. These lamps and lanterns symbolize prosperity and good fortune. So the more lanterns, the merrier. In early 2015 Caterpillar brought power to the people of Yuhu, by transporting a Cat 3500 generator up the mountain. While the generator slowly made its way up the narrow, winding road, Yuhu families worked together to hang 8,840 lanterns, strung together with almost 12,000 meters of wire. Once the generator was in place, hooked up and started, the result was astonishing – spreading light and joy in equal measures.

A HEART WARMING STORY

In the late 1990s, many families in the Mongolian western province didn’t have any electricity or heat to keep them warm. Which is a pretty big problem when you’re living in one of the most remote and toughest environments on earth with winter temperatures down to -40C. An international team led by Batsaikhan Khurelbaatar (Bigman to his friends) and sponsored by the US Agency for International Development went there to install 3508E engine generators – and ultimately change lives. Over the next two years, the Cat team installed a total of 31 generators around Mongolia, bringing warmth to many villagers and getting a lot of warmth in return. As Bigman puts it, “The warmth of their heartfelt help and sincere gratitude really gave us the energy to work in the freezing weather.”

GOING WITH THE FLOW

Oil and gas exploration in Zhongyuan began as early as the 1950s. For a long time, Zhongyuan had been using the Cat G399 as a prime power source to keep the flow of energy going to where it was needed most. These engines were renowned for their toughness and reliability, running without a hitch for over a hundred thousand hours of uptime. So when it came time to phase them out, which engines could possibly live up to that? The answer was obvious and now the baton – and the record of unflagging dependability – has been passed on to Cat G3512 and G3516 engines.

Cat Factory Tianjin
For more than 30 years, the Cat® 3500 engine series have brought power to people and businesses all around the world. In this issue of Wake, we take a look at the state-of-the-art Caterpillar production facility in Tianjin, China where the 3500 marine engines and generators sets are built to order for Asian customers, and look back on some highlights in the strong relationship between China and this reliably muscular engine.


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