May 25, 2022
To most people a seat is a seat, but at Caterpillar, that is simply not the case. Seats are essential to operator safety, product durability and more. When operator feedback highlighted an opportunity for improvement in the design and comfort of seats in large products like trucks, wheel loaders and track-type tractors, Team Caterpillar jumped into action. Redesigning a seat setup is more than simply finding any old seat and dropping it into the cab of a machine so technical subject matter experts (SMEs) began reconfiguring the cab from the floorboards up.
Sean Randleman, senior engineering specialist, explains the complexity and importance of the project at hand. “Big wheels bring up big energy into the seat that can impact safety and overall operator comfort, not to mention wearing down the seat. The possibility of customers purchasing aftermarket seats if they were to be dissatisfied with our redesign posed a significant safety risk, as these seats are meant to keep the operator safe while operating the machine in a variety of applications.”
The team dug through backlogs of data and customer feedback to determine which parts needed to be changed and how the new and improved seat design would be implemented in a broad range of large products from mining trucks to the track-type tractor. The project resulted in several patents to uphold Caterpillar’s competitive edge.
“This seat redesign felt like a significant contribution to the operator and a victory for Caterpillar. Our experts know the implications of the design choices made and how they impact the safety and the long-term sustainability of the equipment. That’s why we completed the project - we had the voice of the business and a mission to protect and service the operators. The response from customers has been altogether very positive,” says Sean.
The ultimate success of this project was because of the team’s collaboration and commitment to finding solutions. Today, these seats can be found in machines rolling off the line and out to our customers, including the Next Generation Cat 785 mining truck. It’s the work that matters.