The most experienced Cat dozer operator
As far as we know, Kenny Nichols is the most experienced Cat dozer operator who has ever lived. He started operating a Cat dozer while serving overseas in the Korean War, and continued making a living doing it when he returned home. In 1971, he bought his own Cat D6C, and later owned a Cat D6D and a Cat backhoe. By age 91, Kenny had already logged over 110,000 hours behind the controls during his 84-year career.
The Cat 797 with the most operating hours
In Northern Alberta, there’s a Cat 797 that started working in 1999 at Syncrude’s oil sands operation. By December 2020, after 21 years of continuous service, that ultra class haul truck had logged 150,000 operating hours. That’s long enough to transport 55,803,015 tons of material over 157,051 trips. It owes its longevity to continuous maintenance, 10 engine rebuilds, and two decades of technology upgrades.
The hardest working Cat 246 skid steer loader
In 2011, a Cat 246 skid steer loader was retired from a North Carolina landfill after 12,000 operating hours. The 2001 model was bought by Uwharrie Environmental and used in the landfill’s recycling center, handling materials like cardboard, aluminum cans, and paper. Despite heavy use, this reliable and well-maintained loader only required minor repairs during its decade of service.
The oldest working Cat generator in North America
In 1947, Ernest Bertrand bought a 35-kilowatt Cat generator to power the construction and operation of a new grain elevator. In 2009, with over 60 years of service, that machine set a new record as the oldest working Cat generator. In that time, three generations of the Bertrand family maintained the generator — an effort that really paid off in 2006, when four days of uninterrupted power during a severe blizzard saved 2,500 head of their cattle.
The 100,000 Hour Club
Reaching a milestone like 100,000 operating hours is an incredible feat for any machine. When it happens, it isn’t surprising to see the Caterpillar brand mentioned.
- A Cat D11N crawler dozer in Sligo, Pennsylvania hit 100,000 operating hours after 18 years of rigorous surface mining. RFI Energy used the machine for two shifts a day for 12 years, before 6 years of backfill duty. The company attributed that longevity to skilled operators, preventative maintenance, and high quality replacement parts.
- A Cat 992D wheel loader purchased in 1995 by Assarel-Medet JSC in Eltrak, Bulgaria had its own productive 18 years. It loaded trucks with an estimated 61,800,000 tons of ore during its 100,000 operating hours. A strict maintenance program and an overhaul of the powertrain, engine, and torque converter kept the machine in service.
- In 2003, an original Cat D10 dozer known as “The Kentucky Babe '' was still operating at a mine in Hopkins County, Kentucky — with over 100,000 hours of service after 25 years. A news article commented on the machine’s impressive age and endurance, saying that “if it were a car in Kentucky, it would qualify for an antique license plate.”
We agree that a special license plate would be well-deserved — but we can think of something even better. Toromont Cat's upcoming Building a Legacy Badge program will recognize operators and their machines for their years of hard work together. Proudly displaying the Legacy Badge will let everyone know the milestone a machine has reached, keep and eye out for details in early 2024!
In the meantime, you can have a look at some used Cat machine that are still up for taking on record!