As part of its strategic plan to increase its manufacturing footprint in the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific region, Caterpillar Inc has announced a four-year, $ 200 million to ramp up its Indian operations over the next four years in India.

Caterpillar plans to increase production capacities at its diesel engine plant at Hosur, and the earthmoving equipment plant at Tiruvallur - both in Tamil Nadu - to cater to the South East Asian and Russian markets, apart from India.

Caterpillar is also contemplating a new production line at Tiruvallur to roll out high-capacity dumpers of over 120-tonne capacity for the export market.

The company manufactures off highway vehicles like dumpers, backhoe loaders, engines, engine components and generator sets in India.

"This additional investment demonstrates Caterpillar's commitment to customers in India and the importance of emerging markets across the Asia-Pacific region," a company release issued here quoted Caterpillar chairman and chief executive Jim Owens as saying.

Caterpillar will invest to significantly increase production for off highway trucks made at its facility near Chennai. These trucks are used for coal and other mining applications in India. The company also plans to expand engine production at its facility in Hosur, adding production of the Caterpillar 3508 engine. It is also investing in increased India production capability for backhoe loaders. It has already more than quadrupled production of backhoe loaders in the country in recent years.

The company is also studying increasing its range of products made in India, with the possibility of building additional manufacturing facilities to meet demand for other earth-moving products.

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Infrastructure is a life breadth of any nation as it provides strong foundation for the growth of other sectors of an economy. Infrastructure includes roads, railways, bridges, highways, airports, shipping ports, canals, dams, commercial and corporate buildings etc. For building huge infrastructures, machineries both heavy and light is necessary. Machineries like cranes, loaders, dumpers, excavators, mixers, crushers, etc. are serving the purpose very well.

According to world survey global demand of construction machinery is expected to rise by 4.9% annually through 2009 with the market capitalization of around $110 billion. The number of people employed by this sector also shows an encouraging trend. The world economy has shown the robust growth of 3% in the year 2005-2006 thereby pushing the demand of construction machineries across the world for creating big infrastructures.

The major suppliers of infrastructure equipment in the world are North America, Japan and western Europe. With the expansion of world economy the demand of these machineries from developing world is increasing.

The prospects attached with the industry of infrastructure equipments has attracted the attention of Indian manufacturers and exporters. In recent years Indian producers of both heavy and light machines has performed very well both in the domestic and the world market. The reforms of the government and the trade pact with the neighboring countries has also contributed to the growth of Indian construction machinery industry to a larger extent.

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