The Cat® 797: 20 Years at the Top of Its Class

The Cat® 797

Leading The Way for 20 Years

20 Years at the Top of Its Class

Until recently, Caterpillar’s largest mining haul truck and the largest mechanical-drive mining truck in the world was the Cat® 797. It was rolled out to the world in late 1998 with a 360-ton capacity and backed by a tradition of superior performance, durability, and serviceability while answering customer demands for "bigger and better” off-highway machines. The 797 was 24 feet tall and 30 feet wide, weighed 1.23-million-pounds, and hauled a payload of 360 tons of material. 

Research & Development

Caterpillar’s Research and Development team in Decatur, Illinois developed the 797 from the ground up in response to mining companies' need to reduce cost per ton in large-scale operations. During the truck's development, a customer advisory council consisting of representatives from each major mining sector (including coal, copper, and gold) made suggestions that were incorporated into the machine.

Designed and built in 18 months using computer modeling and simulation, the truck was sized to work efficiently with loading shovels used in large mining operations, and Caterpillar matched the body design to the material being hauled to optimize payloads. It featured a new, comfortable cab that set a new standard in the mining truck industry.

In early 1998, several of the trucks were being tested at the Arizona Proving Ground, and mine evaluations began by the second quarter.

Smart Truck

The 797 was considered a smart truck because of the technology it offered in 1998. "Our new 797 truck is one of the most important technologically advanced products at Caterpillar," said Mike Flexsenhar, former Caterpillar’s Vice President of Mining. "It's not just a truck — it's a smart truck. Most people don't realize the sophistication that's built into our machines.” Far ahead of its time, the 797 had sensor and monitoring systems to keep track of things like payloads, tire pressure, and oil pressure.  These are technologies we take for granted today. 

First Production

The first production model came off the Decatur assembly line in the Fall of 1998. It was shipped to Caterpillar’s Arizona Proving Ground where it was formally unveiled and put through its paces for customers. Those who viewed it said they were simply in awe. 

"Initial customer response has been very positive," said the Erich Drochner, former manager of the 797 Truck Program. "Credit goes to the thousands of Caterpillar employees in Decatur and around the world who helped to bring this impressive truck from design to completion in only 18 months."


Whether you're hauling copper, coal, gold, iron ore or overburden the Cat 797F provides you with the best in class cost per unit of production. Including the improvements in safety, productivity, serviceability and comfort you will see why the 797F is the industry leader of its class. Combine these features with unmatched dealer support and you will see why more mine sites choose Cat mining haul trucks for their production needs.



A lot goes into delivering that value. Like faster speed on grade for improved productivity. A large empty weight advantage that ensures maximum payload. Higher retarding and better braking for safer, more confident operators. Total Cat® integration, which results in highly efficient systems and performance. And high reliability, so trucks spend more time hauling material than they do sitting the maintenance shop.

With a truck for every site or application — no matter the size class or drive system — and a complete lineup of loading tools, Caterpillar delivers a complete loading and hauling solution that delivers a better bottom line to the most important mine in the world: yours.

See the Full Lineup of Cat® Large Mining Trucks