Cat Mini-Excavator is Not a Bull in a China Shop

Caterpillar Inc.’s newest video in the Built For It Trial series takes the popular saying, “like a bull in a china shop,” to a whole other level.

The third of the Caterpillar short films, “China Shop” features Ryan Neal, a senior demonstrator/instructor at Cat, and his Cat 301.7 CR mini-excavator, built to operate deftly in tight quarters. To test the machine’s agility and precision, Cat created a small china shop at the Caterpillar Testing Facility CS122 in Peoria Heights, Illinois and filled it with over 3,000 pieces of china, crystal, stemware, and other precious objects valued at $45,000.

In the video, Neal maneuvers the 301.7 mini-excavator down the aisles with all of the grace of a matador, and even picks up a wine glass and sets it gently on top of a stack of glasses to form a sixth tier.

After the first trial run, the production crew tightened the aisles and shrank the set before filming the action in order to maximize the difficulty of the challenge. A 175,000 watt Cat Generator was used to provide power to light the shoot, and 12 Go Pro cameras captured all of the footage from different angles.

Surprisingly, no pieces were broken on the set, but three pieces were broken during unpacking and re-packing.

“I mean, that was phenomenal. Being able to put a piece of equipment in a China shop, and maneuver around the way it did,” says Neal in a behind the scenes video. “Being able to maneuver around the tight space, because we literally only had like a half and inch on either side of the machine, and being able to move slowly, with fine movements. It wasn’t jerky; otherwise we would’ve had China all over the place.”

Image courtesy of Caterpillar Inc.

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