Komatsu mining truck named “Coolest Thing Made in Illinois”

Komatsu’s mining truck, produced in Peoria, Illinois, has been named  the 2024 winner of “The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois” in the Makers Madness contest hosted by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. CREDIT KOMATSU 

The Komatsu mining truck, produced 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.”

Hosted by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) and sponsored by Comcast Business, the bracket-style competition celebrates the work of manufacturers across the state. With nearly 315,000 votes cast throughout the eight-week competition, the Komatsu mining truck was awarded the “The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois” title by Gov. J.B. Pritzker during a ceremony Wednesday, April 10, at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield.

“Komatsu’s ‘Coolest Thing in Illinois’ mining and construction truck takes something fundamental to our economy and infrastructure and continues to improve and innovate on a basic and essential concept – the absolute best of what manufacturing does for our state and a truly exceptional product,” Mr. Pritzker said. “Congratulations to the team of Komatsu and to all the contestants for your exceptional work in continuing to elevate our state’s manufacturing industry.”


In a news release, IMA said Komatsu’s mining truck was chosen by voters from an initial field of more than 200 entries. Komatsu, a leading maker of construction, mining, forestry, and industrial heavy equipment, manufactures the 26-feet tall, rugged, large capacity vehicle, used for construction and mining.  

Other finalists for the title included: Mullen’s Imitation French Dressing made by Mullen’s in Palestine; the MQ-25 Stingray (Drone Refueler), an unmanned aircraft with aerial refueling capabilities built by Boeing in Mascoutah; and Mod Box by Enviro Buildings, a strong, insulated outdoor building with standardized panel sizes manufactured by Craig Industries in Quincy.

“This magnificent construction and mining vehicle is a shining example of the innovation and creativity that drives the manufacturing sector, where big ideas become products that can change the world,” IMA President and CEO Mark Denzler said in the release. “We applaud all the manufacturers that participated in this year’s competition and commend the skilled workers on our shop floors whose contributions guarantee that these fantastic products are made to the highest standards.”

Dan Funcannon, Komatsu’s vice president of North America Engineering and Development, said the company is honored by the recognition “which is a testament to the talent and skill of our team, who are the best in the business.” 

“We are proud of our contributions to Illinois’ strong legacy of manufacturing, where human ingenuity transforms raw materials into modern marvels,” Mr. Funcannon added. 

Manufacturing is the largest contributor of any industry to the state’s Gross Domestic Product, supporting nearly a third of all jobs in Illinois and contributing more than $580 billion to the state’s economy each year.

In 2023, Mr. Denzler told the QCBJ that in the Illinois Quad Cities region, manufacturing pumps $6 billion a year into the region’s economy. Citing a 2023 study, he said local manufacturers generate $4.9 billion in economic output in Rock Island County; $303.1 million in Mercer County and $752.5 million in Henry County. The data was collected and analyzed last year by economists at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

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