Reigniting the Inspiration Flame

Our mission at OEM Off-Highway has always been to inform and inspire our readers by providing stories of innovation and unique solutions to industry challenges. For those of you that were unable to attend bauma in Munich, Germany this year, you may have missed a truly ground-breaking announcement: The CAB Concept Cluster (CCC) released a fully-integrated and optimized cab system that was designed and created together with 13 technology suppliers and industry partners—the Genius CAB.

Of the 13 partners, zero were OEMs.

The cab system was not built with any specific customers in mind, but rather the CCC set out to demonstrate what would theoretically be possible if it were able to co-design and develop system integrated solutions at an earlier stage of the development process and thereby generate interest with OEM customers to pursue such solutions.

It is one of the first forms of pure optimized system development and technological integration that I've seen in my nine years at OEM Off-Highway magazine. The team has already begun its next full cab system design, this time for agricultural equipment applications, and will officially launch the new cab system at Agritechnica 2017 in Hanover, Germany.

Beyond the Genius CAB, another form of design inspiration--and frankly revitalization--is the influence of the additive manufacturing industry, otherwise referred to as 3D printing. As advanced and stronger materials become available, such as high temperature alloys, the opportunities are opening up for heavy-duty applications. Caterpillar Inc. opened its 3D Printing & Innovation Accelerator at its Global Research & Development Center in Mossville, IL this past March, and one of the three new spaces is a dedicated Additive Manufacturing Factory.

3D printing is challenging engineers to rethink how they approach a parts design, offering system simplification opportunities through part reduction and unique shapes that would have been nearly impossible with traditional manufacturing processes. The constraints are being lifted, and the next several years are going to hold a lot of exciting new challenges and solutions for the off-road equipment industry.


We want to hear from you. 

If you know of more projects that developed optimized systems through industry collaboration, we'd love to hear about them! Send them to our editorial staff directly at