Technology journalists like to use the term Big Iron to refer to high-performance computing systems or super-powerful computers.

Then there's the real thing.

After joining a media tour of Caterpiller Inc.'s world headquarters and facilities in Peoria, Ill. last week, I  I resolve to be more careful about calling computers Big Iron, now that I've been up close to
the real Big (Yellow) Iron.

Our overviews covered Cat and Caterpiller from A-Z, starting with the history of the company, and then with overviews of its major divisions. For any construction writer looking to get up to speed on Tier 4 . During a demonstration of the company's major machine lines, reporters got to see the latest heavy equipment, including the company's
K Series wheel loaders; T Series track type tractors; M2 Series motor graders
series articulated trucks and E series excavators. I was able to try my hand on at the excavators as well as a track-type tractor (D6T), which is below (thanks to Cat's Sam Meeker for taking the video with my iPhone)!


Operator amenities

The new M Series 2 models continue to feature Caterpillar's hallmark control system, which uses two electronic joysticks to provide complete control of the machine, while reducing hand and wrist movement by nearly 80 percent, compared with conventional controls. The system's intuitive design helps both new and experienced operators work more productively.


The new motor graders also feature electronic vertical adjustment of the joystick control pods, allowing operators to tailor joystick height for optimum control and comfort. The spacious M Series 2 cab, with standard air conditioning, uses angled doors and a patented sloping rear window to afford excellent visibility to the heel and toe of the moldboard and to the ripper.

As a follow-up, here is a release for the newest addition to the M Series 2

motor graders, which were covered on Thursday afternoon at the Tier 4






One might argue that the state of Illinois is the home of Big Iron, starting with Caterpiller Inc. in Peoria (and some other guys in Moline

This reporter was part of a "Caterpiller 101" tour of the world's largest heavy equipment maker's facilities last week. You might say they're Big Iron-squared, since so many of these machines that are made right there in Peoria are loaded up with major computiing systems: software systems that help operators shift gears or weight on some of the biggest iron on the planet.

The PR team at Cat provided overviews from everything about Caterpiller, including the brand's 85-year legacy, which you can see more here in this just-released Legacy video.

Tour guides also gave the journalists a peek at the company's foundry (which is rarely open to the public) and