In January 1991, the Cat® 793 off-highway truck was introduced as the world’s newest and largest hauler. Its introduction created such excitement that it was put on display where it was made - Caterpillar’s Decatur, Illinois, plant. Employees, families and the community all had a chance to kick the 12-foot-tall tires and peek at the 2,057-flywheel-horsepower Cat® 3516 engine. The machine was about 20 feet high, 24 feet wide and 42 feet long. Caterpillar engineers designed it to haul 240 tons of material, 45 tons more than the next largest truck, the Cat® 789.
Caterpillar engineers proved the impossible with the successful introduction of the 793. Many in the mining industry thought that a power-shift transmission could not be built for such a large hauler. No one also thought a truck of this size could be reliably equipped with a mechanical automatic transmission and rear differential. No one, that is, but Caterpillar engineers.
The first few fleets of the 793 were followed very closely by Caterpillar engineers. The first truck was to be used at the Cyprus Sierrita copper mine near Tucson, Arizona. Caterpillar had its reputation on the line with these trucks, and the competition would surely bring any perceived fault to the attention of prospective customers in the mining industry.
The 793 performed well in the field, and in the autumn of 1992 it got even better with the introduction of the 793B series. By mid-1996, more than 550 units of the 793 and 793B haulers had been placed into service at mining locations throughout the world.
The rest, as they say, is history.