With the company officially off the ground, Bruggeman began traveling around the country with his new pump design. He soon identified a large opportunity the car wash industry, which only had pumps available that delivered very short life, increasing operating costs and extensive down time. Our first significant order came from an OEM who said he would place an order if the pump would last 30 days without breaking down. The pump not only made the 30 day period but it exceeded the life of the previous pump being used by over 10 times without any service required. Soon after, “the pumps with nine lives” began to show their true value in the marketplace.
In the following years, it was our dedication to quality that began to earn us wide-spread word of mouth recognition, which gave us the opportunity to expand far beyond the carwash and pressure wash industries. Our product line quickly grew to meet the demands of various industrial markets. Along with expanding performance ratings of our pumps, we also began to produce quality accessories.
Even though business was just starting its initial growth in the United States, Buggeman’s vision and belief in his products were not confined domestically.
In 1972, he pursued this vision as a global presence by opening up Cat Pumps’ first international office in Europe. At the time, Europe had an emerging car wash market, so Belgium was chosen because of its central location. This facility offered the complete line of Cat Pumps inventory, a highly trained staff to help with product selection, technical support, and service. Due to the growing demand, a second branch location was opened in Germany less than a year later. In the following years, recognition grew beyond Europe and the United States. In 1975 Cat Pumps started an international sales division, based out of Zug, Switzerland, to meet this growing demand. This division of Cat Pumps covers areas including Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Central and South American, Mexico, Turkey and the Middle East. In 1979 a third international branch location was opened in the United Kingdom. All three international offices are in operation today, with 63 total employees, as well as the international sales office which was relocated to the Minneapolis location.
As Cat Pumps began to expand, it was the business partnerships we formed with distributors and OEMs that facilitated the growth of new business. In order to better serve the market, we used distributors to provide products and services within a close proximity to the user. Beyond stocking and selling inventory, many of our distributors also played a vital role in technical support, pump and accessory selection, installations, maintenance and service. These distributors and OEMs also introduced Cat Pumps into many new emerging markets and applications. Today, in addition to the international branch offices, Cat Pumps has hundreds of distributors throughout North America and 37 countries around the world.
By 1980, Cat Pumps had become the industry leader and to meet the growing demand for pumps and accessories, moved to a new 114,000 square foot Minneapolis facility. Expanding to 159,000 square feet in 1998, it is still home of the world headquarters.
To learn more about the evolution of our products and significant events in our history, choose a decade above:
Our founder, William Bruggeman II
Original manufacturing facility, 1968
Live demonstrations were performed across the country with our "Catmobile", the first high pressure demonstration vehicle
William Bruggeman II explaining the advanced engineering of the Cat Pump design