Caterpillar Inc. has started producing axles, transmissions, and drives for its own line of earthmoving and mining machines at a plant in Wuxi, China. The manufacturer noted this marks its 24th plant in that country, where it employs more than 15,000 workers.

The investment cost of the new plant was not announced.

The heavy machinery builder noted that economic development and infrastructure projects continue to expand in China, which affirms its own long-term strategy for that market.

"Success in China is an important part of our long-term strategy, and we are focused on bringing the complete Caterpillar business model to China in order to better serve and support our customer base," stated chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman.

Caterpillar’s 23,000-sq.m. powertrain facility is not its only new operation in China. The company also completed a 17,000-sq.m. expansion for machine component plant (also in Wuxi) to produce hydraulic cylinders for Caterpillar machines. Both plants operate as part of Caterpillar's Advanced Components & Systems Division, which designs and manufactures components for Caterpillar machines and customers.

"Over the decades, Caterpillar has developed a reputation for providing customers the lowest overall owning and operating costs for the life of a machine,” according to Ed Rapp, Caterpillar’s group president for Construction Industries. “This is heavily influenced by our vertical integration and ability to maximize productivity and deliver fuel efficient machines by integrating across the power train. This expansion of our component capability and capacity in China supports our drive to bring this value to our customers in China," said Ed Rapp, Caterpillar group president with responsibility for Construction Industries.