CNH … Take a Tour

Discovering that Case New Holland (CNH) offers plant tours, I made reservations for Jordan and myself. It proved to be both fascinating and educational. 

CNH’s 341-acre campus is home to a 700,000-square-foot manufacturing facility that produces agricultural equipment and machinery. Tours are offered Tuesday and Thursday afternoons (reservations are needed). The plant’s products are a collaborative effort on the parts of employees, robotics and laser technology. Photos courtesy of CNH.

I had no idea CNH has such a large campus. The site along Route 23 encompasses 341 acres, 150 of which are devoted to a test farm. Buildings on the campus are devoted to engineering, research & development, product validation and sales & marketing. The manufacturing facility covers 700,000 square feet. 

As for the tours, they are offered Tuesday and Thursday, beginning at 1 p.m. Reservations can be made online or by calling 717-355-1588. As I said, the tour made for a fascinating and educational two hours. You’ll get your steps in, too, as the tour follows a nearly one-mile-long path through the plant. Comfortable shoes are a must!  Tours are restricted to ages 12-plus. 

Groups begin the tour by meeting in a space that serves as a combination tour center, through which the company’s history is conveyed and early products are displayed, along with a factory store. Here, tour guides (many are retired employees) outfit everyone with safety vests and goggles, as well as listening devices. 

Then, it’s tour time. CNH is a thoroughly modern facility that relies on employees, robotics and laser technology to get the job done. The collaborative ways in which those elements interact are amazing. 

Also amazing is the fact that you essentially get to see the entire process through which farming equipment is made. The tour begins with raw metal and concludes with a huge piece of machinery. 

You’ll also learn interesting tidbits from your tour guide. For example, New Holland’s machine shop has the ability to supply factories across the globe with needed parts. A training center for potential welders uses Virtual Reality (VR) technology for training purposes and to assess their progress. (CNH works closely with the Lancaster County Career and Technology Center as well as Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology to recruit employees.) It was also interesting to learn that International Harvester (a Case product) is geared to conditions and needs in the Midwest, while New Holland’s farming equipment better meets the needs of farmers on the East and West coasts. Who knew? 

Just a little history: It was in 1895 that Abram Zimmerman launched a blacksmith shop in New Holland. Wanting to expand his business, he began selling stationary engines that could be used to power farm equipment. Fielding complaints that the engines performed poorly in cold temperatures, he set out to design and develop a better-performing engine. Success prompted Zimmerman to launch the New Holland Machine Company, which developed farm implements such as the innovative self-tying pick-up baler. 

Over the years, New Holland has been associated with other giants in the industry, including Sperry, Ford, Fiat and now Case. It was in 1999 that Case IH merged with New Holland to create CNH Global. 

To make a tour reservation online, visit https://waitwhile.com/locations/new-holland-tour/r/welcome?registration=booking.

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