Caterpillar announced in mid-January it plans to open a new manufacturing facility in Thailand which will produce a full range of underground mining articulated trucks and loaders. The company will break ground on the new factory in early 2011, with production scheduled to begin in late 2012.

“We continue to make strategic investments in our mining business to support our customers,” said Chris Curfman, president of Caterpillar Global Mining. “We are pleased to announce our first manufacturing facility in Thailand, which will increase our capacity for our existing range of underground mining machinery, particularly as we sharpen our focus on meeting long-term customer demand in growth markets.”

The 60,000-m2 (645,000-ft2) factory will be located in Rayong Province. The new facility will increase the current production of underground mining products produced by Caterpillar in Australia and Brazil to respond to growth in demand. Once the facility in Thailand is fully operational and at full capacity, it is expected to employ about 800 people.

Meanwhile, materials-handling equipment and systems supplier Martin Engineering announced plans to open a business unit in Pune, India, in 2011.  The company said it has been active in the India market since 2004, establishing a presence through its licensee, Thejo, to distribute and support select bulk material handling technologies across the continent.  Already incorporated in India, Martin Engineering completed a detailed market study and entry strategy in 2010 and said it found “huge potential” in further developing its business there.

“Before making the decision to expand our business in India, we focused on providing high-quality conveyor products to a number of different industries,” said Martin Engineering CFO Ron Vick.  “Now that a business unit with full manufacturing capabilities will be opened, we’ll be positioned to offer our complete line of bulk material handling solutions, beyond the limited products currently available.  This full line will include air cannons, railcar unloading products, engineered vibration and dust management.”  

The company said it expects to finalize its lease on a 1,850-m2 (20,000-ft2) facility early in 2011 and to have full operating capabilities by the second quarter of the year.  In addition to the new Pune facility, Martin Engineering will have sales and service offices and staff in Calcutta, Delhi and Chennai.  The firm said it is also aggressively investigating acquisition opportunities.