Caterpillar to expand its R&D department in China image

Caterpillar, the world’s largest heavy machinery maker, on Wednesday said it plans to expand the company’s multi-functional research and development or R&D center in Wuxi, China.

The Wuxi center currently has more than 500 engineers and support staff developing a variety of new products tailored to the demands of Caterpillar’s rapidly expanding customer base in China and other growth markets.

The phase announced today will add a number of engine test cells for light, medium and heavy-duty, as well as high horsepower engines. It will also include more labs for fuel systems, electronics, hydraulics, cooling, roll-over protection (ROPS) and virtual reality, as well as other component and system labs.

In addition, the company said the center will also have extended design capabilities. The implementation of this phase is expected to be completed in June 2012.

China, the U.S. company’s largest market, would continue to grow at a “fairly significant” rate for the foreseeable future, said Group President Richard Lavin ahead of the Asian Financial Forum 2012 to be held in Hong Kong on Jan. 16-17.

Caterpillar expects China’s gross domestic product to maintain an 8.5 percent to 9 percent growth rate in 2012 and industry growth was seen in line with GDP growth.