© 2024 WSIU Public Broadcasting
WSIU Public Broadcasting
Member-Supported Public Media from Southern Illinois University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Komatsu mining truck named 2024 'coolest thing made in Illinois'

A yellow mining truck in a dirt area
Illinois Manufacturers’ Association
The Komatsu mining truck made by Komatsu in Peoria has been crowned the winner of the 2024 “Makers Madness” contest, earning the title of The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois.

A mining truck manufactured by Komatsu was crowned the winner of the 2024 “Makers Madness” contest, earning the title of “the coolest thing made in Illinois” at the Governor’s Mansion Wednesday.

The truck was one of more than 200 entries in the 5th annual contest hosted by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and sponsored by Comcast Business. The bracket-style contest lasted eight weeks and collected almost 315,000 votes for the products entered, narrowing them down to the top 16, then to the final four, which were recognized Wednesday.

The truck, made by Komatsu in Peoria, has a hauling capacity of up to 400 tons and has “new innovations in suspension transmission, electric drive technology and autonomous operation,” according to Komatsu. The 980E-5 truck weighs more than 1.3 million pounds.

Dan Funcannon, a vice president at Komatsu, said the trucks are the “coolest machines on the planet.”

“These machines are manufactured in Peoria and shipped around the world to support mining the minerals and materials that are required to do this manufacturing around the globe,” he said at the ceremony Wednesday. “We feel it's a big honor and also responsibility to sell these products throughout the world.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker congratulated the finalists and said manufacturing is key to the state’s economy.

“This room is full of talented and driven people who continue to propel our state toward a brighter future,” he said. “Our economic growth is due in large part to the thriving manufacturing sector that you all help to build every day.”

Three other finalists were also recognized at the ceremony, covering a wide range of products. Mullen’s Imitation French Dressing, made by J.D. Mullen Company in Palestine, was founded by World War I veteran and Illinois restaurateur John Mullen. The MQ-25 Stingray Drone Refueler, built by Boeing in Mascoutah, is the first unmanned aircraft to refuel another aircraft midflight. Enviro Buildings’ Mod Box, made by Craig Industries in Quincy, is a modular insulated outdoor building used for construction and security offices.

According to the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, the industry is responsible for almost a third of the state’s jobs and contributes more than $580 billion to the economy annually.

The Rosenberg moon habitat, made by Ingersoll Machine Tools in Rockford, was the 2023 winner. Another mining vehicle, the 797F mining truck by Caterpillar, was named the winner in 2020.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to hundreds of newspapers, radio and TV stations statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, along with major contributions from the Illinois Broadcasters Foundation and Southern Illinois Editorial Association.

Cole Longcor is a reporter at Capitol News Illinois.
As a WSIU donor, you don’t simply watch or listen to public media programs, you are a partner. By making a gift, you help WSIU produce, purchase, and broadcast programs you care about and enjoy – every day of the year.