Caterpillar To Build $200 Million Manufacturing Facility Near Athens, GA
Caterpillar Inc. has announced it will build its new $200 million manufacturing facility near Athens, Georgia starting in first quarter 2012. The million square foot plant will produce small track-type tractors and mini hydraulic excavators, employing about 1,400 people once fully operational. Caterpillar estimates another 2,800 full-time jobs will be created in the United States due to this new facility. The new facility will be part of Caterpillar’s Building Construction Products (BCP) Division, which is based in Cary, North Carolina.
“Georgia is proud to have built a business climate that provides the logistics, workforce, speed and efficiency that global industry leaders like Caterpillar are looking for,” said Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. “We appreciate Caterpillar’s continued investment in our state, and this new operation will resonate in our workforce and our economy for generations to come.”
“The decision to shift production from Japan to the United States is driven by the proximity to a large base of customers in North America and Europe. Our objective is to better serve those customers from this new factory,” said BCP Vice President Mary Bell. “The Athens site was selected from among dozens of locations considered due to its proximity to the major ports of Savannah and Charleston, a strong regional base of potential suppliers, a positive and pro-active business climate and a good pool of potential employees with manufacturing experience,” Bell added.
CAT’s new facility will proved its small track-type tractors globally while mini hydraulic excavators will be for customers in North and South America. Partially assembled mini excavator base units will be exported to its facility for final assembly in Europe to speed up the delivery process.
Dr. Sharon Younger, President of Younger Associates research firm and faculty member of the Economic Development Institute, said, "Based on the production capacity of the new plant, I estimate the total economic impact to reach $2.4 billion per year as key suppliers locate in the region and the regional supply chain matures."
The steel industry in the Southeast should benefit from orders of hot rolled sheet as well as plate which will be used to construction portions of the bodies of the units being produced at the new plant.
There will be major fabrications, paint and final assembly for both product lines as well as an on-site product distribution center for small track-type tractors and mini hydraulic excavators at the new facility. Currently, the company’s Sagami, Japan, facility produces these, but once the Athens facility is completed, the Sagami plant will continue as a high-tech component facility.
Initial production at the facility is expected to begin in late 2013, with full production encompassing a five-year period.
Source: Caterpillar Inc.