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Deadliest Cat(ch): Captain Keith Colburn Relies on Cat Marine Power

Hamburg, Germany – Seeing Caterpillar® engines in action is not always easy, especially when they are powering ships in the middle of the ocean. However, viewers of the popular television show ‘Deadliest Catch’ on Discovery Channel can regularly watch Cat® marine products propelling fishing vessels through some of the world’s roughest seas. One of Caterpillar’s proudest customers, Captain Keith Colburn, will speak at the International WorkBoat Show in New Orleans about ‘How Caterpillar helps make progress possible’.

Earlier this year, the captain visited the Caterpillar Engine Centre in Mossville in Illinois, USA, to learn more about the people and technology that keep Caterpillar marine engines at the forefront of the industry. Colburn also toured the technical centre, where the company spends some $5 million per day on research and development, and he visited the Caterpillar foundry in Mapleton, Illinois, which is in charge of high-quality engine block, engine head and cylinder liner production.

Colburn was impressed with Caterpillar’s focus on product quality, driven by 6 Sigma, and the Caterpillar production system (CPS). He stressed that “whether it is crabbing in Alaska or marine engine manufacturing in Illinois, you need a highly engaged team to succeed!” Captain Keith Colburn started as a fisherman in 1985, when he went to Alaska with $50, a backpack and a tent. After purchasing the Wizard, a former US Navy ship built during the Second World War, he has become internationally famous. Colburn and his crew consistently rank in the top five for crab producers operating in the Bering Sea, off the coast of Alaska.

None of this success, however, would have been possible without the durability and reliability of the five Caterpillar marine engines on board. The Wizard’s main propulsion is a 16-cylinder Cat 399 engine with Cat 7251 reduction gear. Two 6-cylinder Cat 3306 generating sets operate the hydraulics and AC power systems onboard the vessel. Another Cat 3306 operates the bow thruster and a 4-cylinder Cat 3304 generating set provides electric power. The 16-cylinder vee-type Cat 399 engine series, which provides 1,063kW at 1,225rpm, was installed back in 1979. Still going strong, the Wizard’s propulsor testifies to the durability of Caterpillar marine product.

At the International WorkBoat Show the captain will talk, among other things, about the challenges of marine engine service in Alaska (where Caterpillar dealer NC Machinery is doing an excellent job), and about the challenges of managing both family life and fishing. According to Colburn, crabbing in Alaska is unpredictable, unrelenting and unforgiving; “Under continuous operation and load for months at a time, I count on the reliability and endurance of Cat marine engines to get me through the nastiest conditions the Bering Sea can dish out”. One thing is for sure: Captain Keith Colburn won’t leave port without the security offered by Caterpillar products.

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