Mining and construction equipment builder Caterpillar Inc. plans to open a new manufacturing plant in Thailand to produce medium-duty tractors. The project involves a 430,000-square-foot factory to be built in Rayong Province. Construction will begin this year and production will begin in 2013. At full capacity the plant will employ about 900 people.

Caterpillar said the new plant is a response to rising global demand for its medium track-type tractors. It’s the second plant this year that Caterpillar has announced for Thailand, following January news of an underground mining equipment plant that will open late next year.

"We continue to make strategic investments in our construction business to support our customers," stated Tom Bluth, Caterpillar v.p. – Earthmoving Div. "We are pleased to announce the expansion of Caterpillar's manufacturing operations in Thailand, which will increase our capacity for our existing range of medium track-type tractors, particularly as we sharpen our focus on meeting long-term customer demand in growth markets."

According to Caterpillar Group president for Construction Industries and Growth Markets, Rich Lavin, "The ongoing infrastructure development plans for the world's growth markets combined with a long-term trend toward urbanization and growing wealth in emerging economies should continue to help drive long-term demand for construction equipment."