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For over 50 years, Caterpillar Demonstration & Learning Centers (DLCs) have served as Cat® customers’ (not-so-secret) weapon.
Our staff have educated thousands of our customers on everything from the latest in equipment updates to choosing the right technology for their business. They’ve also trained operators on how to best use their Cat machine’s full capabilities. And, to grow their equipment expertise.
Because we all know skilled operators impact our customers’ bottom line.
If you haven’t taken operator training at one of our DLCs before, we’d love to invite you on down. Why? Because, quite simply, our customers see the positive effect it’s had on their businesses. One of those customers, Morgan Corp., was able to start using Cat machine technology to its full potential because of our training. They saw an increase in both productivity and safety.
Did you know that each of our machine instructors at our Demonstrations & Learning Centers have at least 10 years of operating experience? True story.
But our DLCs don’t just offer expert trainers. They also offer the opportunity to test out our machines in real life. After operating our machines, you can step into a high-tech classroom for more learning opportunities, including time on Cat simulators. Hot topics today include: machine operation, job efficiency and safety.
You can even enjoy delicious, home-cooked meals made on-site (we can’t tell you which facility has the best food, as it’s a heated debate between our DLC teams.)
And if you can’t travel to us and want in-person training, our teams frequently travel to customer jobsites around the world. No sweat.
Caterpillar instructors can provide operator training on your jobsite or at one of our Demonstration & Learning Centers.
How did our emphasis on demonstration and learning come about?
Our desire to help our customers be their very best dates back to our earliest days. In 1925, we started actively showcasing the unique performance of our machines. This led to our first demonstration site in East Peoria.
“Caterpillar realized that customers don’t only want to read and hear about those products and services. They also want to see, or even better, experience it,” said Maurice Manders, Caterpillar Malaga Facility Manager.
This is Ralph Easton in California in the 1920s. He was Caterpillar's very first Demonstrator Instructor and where it all started.
Harry Hurt was a Caterpillar operator throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and he often went on special assignments to demonstrate our equipment across the globe. This photo shows Harry with a customer operating a Cat® 966 Wheel Loader in India in 1964.
Not far from the original demonstration site in East Peoria, the Edwards, Illinois, DLC facility opened in 1971. Meanwhile, our European DLC outpost in Malaga, Spain, opened later that same year.
In 1990, Tinaja Hills DLC opened in Arizona, for several reasons. The top two? It was closer to our mining customers. And, of course, the sunny southwest location avoided the harsh Midwest winters that Central Illinois is known for.
Today, while all three of our Caterpillar Demonstration & Learning Centers work together to demonstrate a wide variety of machines, they also have unique specialties.
The Tinaja Hills DLC prides itself in showcasing our large mining equipment. Edwards & Malaga DLCs are best known for demonstrating our construction and quarry equipment.
Rain in the forecast? No problem! Our facilities have indoor and covered arenas so customers stay dry. Pictured here is one of two indoor areas at our Edwards, Illinois, facility.
Product demonstrations occurs day and night at our Malaga facility. Their grandstand seats 220.
Our Tinaja facility specializes in showcasing our largest equipment used in mining and quarry applications. The South end of their facility is modeled after a quarry and underground mine site.
As you’ve probably experienced, the onset of COVID-19 has led to a greater need for virtual meetings and remote experiences.
Our Caterpillar Demonstration & Learning Centers didn’t miss a beat; they quickly pivoted to virtual training and events. But their goal of providing the best-in-class customer experience remained. March 2020 saw the Edwards DLC team deliver their first virtual machine walk-around to a group of students. And they just kept going.
Just how many virtual events did our three DLCs host since March of 2020? Over 120. Events included product launches, video shoots, online training sessions, live-streaming events and more.
“We’re able to address the needs of our customers quicker and in more cost-effective manners through these virtual, hybrid, and in-person events,” said Chad Cremeens, Edwards Facility Manager. But, as always, it’s about what our customers need.
Interested in taking advantage of the training opportunities provided by our Demonstration & Learning Centers? Let us know, as we’d love to help.
Looking for virtual training options? We’ve got you covered. Our web-based operator training introduces new operators to machine safety, controls and maintenance, while experienced operators can improve their knowledge.
Watch to hear more about our Caterpillar Demonstration & Learning Centers in Illinois, Arizona and Spain.
Editor’s note: Some of the videos and photos shown here were captured before the COVID-19 pandemic. Caterpillar follows stringent measures — including wearing masks and social distancing — to continue working safely.
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