2017 – Touring the John Deere Plant in Moline, IL

Having seen John Deere tractors and equipment all my life it was fun to see how the combines are manufactured and assembled. We arrived at the plant about 20 minutes before our tour. We were warmly welcomed and offered coffee to drink and invited to take the virtual tour of a combine harvesting corn. It is a completely automatic process from picking the grain to storing it in the bin and transferring it out. The virtual tour explained the functions of all the cameras and buttons in the air conditioned cab that seemed more like the cockpit of a jet plane than farm equipment. Scott said it is nothing like what his family and friends used when he was young. We also got to sit in the cab of the combine in the photo – we were told that that unit as it was sells for around $600,000 and will harvest around 300 acres of corn in a single day! When our tour was called we were led to a cart for a riding tour of the factory. Once inside the factory itself no photos were allowed. Our guide was a volunteer and retired employee. He explained what was happening in each area. At one point we were invited to walk with our guide up a stairs to see the painting process. There are large vats of liquid into which the parts are immersed as they are automatically moved through a series of processes. The paint itself was applied by robotic arms mimicking human motion but moving much faster. However, there were still humans doing touch-up work after the robots finished. We saw the manufacturing process from the cutting of the small parts all the way up seeing finished harvesters waiting to be taken on their first test drive. I recommend this tour. Be sure to get on line and schedule ahead to get on a tour as slots are limited and demand is high.

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