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Cat to invest $200 million in East Peoria plant

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Caterpillar Inc. is going to spend $200 million to modernize one of its East Peoria plants, the company said Friday.

Caterpillar officials said modernizing its undercarriage components plant will position the company to meet expected demand for the components and undercarriage assemblies that are used in medium-size and large track-type tractors.

Caterpillar manufactures those tractors in East Peoria and most are exported to countries around the world.

"The modernization plan will bring technology enhancements to the East Peoria facility, one of Caterpillar's oldest in Illinois, over the next three to four years," the company said in a news release.

Already the company has cut the ribbon on a fully automated, technologically advanced machining center, which along with other improvements still to be done will help Caterpillar maintain its position as the worldwide leader of track-type tractor undercarriages, the company said.

"This first machining system will transform the operations and responsiveness of our East Peoria facility," said Greg Folley, vice president in Caterpillar's Remanufacturing & Components Division. "We are in an extremely competitive business and our ability to continue to compete from our long-standing and historic Illinois operations demands that we invest in state-of-the-art technology and processes."

Caterpillar has been making track-type tractors for more than century in East Peoria for use in various types of construction and mining.

"Our undercarriage is a key reason customers choose Cat tractors," Folley said in the news release. "This new machining system promises more product every hour, vastly better quality and, ultimately, faster delivery of undercarriage and replacement parts to our dealers and customers."

Caterpillar spokesman Jim Dugan said this work is not part of the $1 billion investment in its Illinois plants the company started in late 2008. Most of that work, he said, is finished or underway. "This is incremental to that," he said.

Dugan said this work shows a continued commitment to central Illinois. "It's jobs neutral in that it won't create more jobs, but it's something we need to do to keep that facility competitive," he said.


About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).