With manufacturing winding down, Caterpillar begins marketing Aurora plant for repurposing


Caterpillar 988K-XE

Caterpillar is now marketing its production plant near the Chicago suburb of Aurora, Illinois, according to published reports.

The (Aurora) Beacon-News reported Caterpillar is working to sell off the manufacturing part of the facility, which is set to close for good by the end of the year.

Caterpillar has begun marketing the plant for repurposing, the newspaper says in this report.

Cat is working with JLL, a professional services firm, to market the 4-million-square-foot campus on 350 acres along Route 31 in Montgomery, which is a few miles from Aurora.

Last year, Caterpillar announced it would shut what’s known as the Aurora plant, cutting about 800 jobs as it shifts production to other U.S. facilities.

And since last fall, Caterpillar has been winding down production by shifting the manufacturing of large-wheel loaders and compactors to its facility in Decatur, Illinois. Cat is also moving manufacturing of medium-wheel loaders to North Little Rock, Arkansas.

As the move cuts about 800 manufacturing jobs for the area, it leaves only about 1,200 office or high-tech-oriented jobs at the plant. At one time, the company had as many as 6,000 manufacturing jobs at the Aurora plant, reports say.

In March, there was news of another Caterpillar plant to be closed in Elkader, Iowa, as the company continued its cost-reduction efforts.

According to a report from KCRG TV, the Elkader facility manufactures excavator buckets, wheel loader buckets and dozing blades. That move would lead to 75 jobs cut, the station reports, and Caterpillar says it will be moving manufacturing of these attachments to its Wamego, Kansas, facility.

The station reports that the company had doubled the size of employees at the Elkader plant in 2015 from 40 to 80 workers.

The closing of the Elkader plant is the latest in a line of Caterpillar facility closings and consolidations that began in the final quarter of 2015 as part of a cost reduction plan designed to save the company $1.5 billion annually through 2018.

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One year later, the company announced that market conditions had forced it to be “more aggressive” than it had anticipated in making these cuts.

Earlier this year, Cat announced the closing of a manufacturing facility in Waco, Texas. The shuttering of the Work Tools manufacturing facility in Waco, Texas, eliminated 200 jobs.

According to a report from the Waco Tribune-Herald, Cat spokesman Jamie Fox said the closing of the Work Tools plant will not affect the company’s distribution center in Waco. The Work Tools plant manufactures excavator buckets, couplers and hammers and these operations will be transferred to a Cat facility in Wamego, Kansas, Fox told the paper.