The first Cat Marine engines and generator sets to be produced at the company’s plant in Tianjin, China are being prepared for delivery. Caterpillar Tianjin Ltd (CTL), which began turning out generator sets for power market customers from early 2014, will become the group’s second global center for marine engines and genset production from February 2017.
The 100% Caterpillar-owned facility is the result of a US$300 million investment by Caterpillar, with mainstream Caterpillar engine production for Electric Power and the Oil & Gas segment having commenced at Tianjin in March 2015.
As Caterpillar’s second production site dedicated to 3500 engines for marine applications, Tianjin is expected to optimize the group’s delivery capability for the global market, according to Gordon Wang, Caterpillar Marine regional product manager. “Production of the first 3512 and 3516 propulsion engines and generator sets for marine applications has followed Caterpillar’s stringent and coordinated approach at every level to ensure product excellence and reliability,” he said. “Our painstaking approach has also focused on verifying the levels of excellence for technical services and logistics on which Caterpillar Marine’s reputation rests.
“For the customer, the start of dedicated production from Tianjin will simply mean shorter lead and delivery times, enhanced service and product support, and optimized cost efficiencies, especially for shipyards located in Asia Pacific.”
From the outset, Caterpillar had embedded its world-class quality processes to ensure there are no material differences in engines assembled across the two sites, Mr. Wang added, positioning the company to respond to future growth in the Asia Pacific region.
CTL is fully ISO: 9001 certified. To ensure manufacturing quality meets the Caterpillar standard, a team of experts and technical mentors from the US are based on site to support the team of 170 local employees. A visual online manufacturing system supports the consistency of quality management throughout the entire production process. With five test cells (six from mid-2017) on site, all engines and packages undergo rigorous testing and inspection before shipment.
CTL will primarily serve customers in China and the wider Asia Pacific region. Together with Caterpillar’s Lafayette Engine Center in Indianapolis, US, it will jointly serve markets in the Middle East, CIS and Europe. “Regardless of where our engines are assembled, Caterpillar is committed to providing its customers with what they want. Namely, high reliability, low owning and operating costs from their engines and generator sets, and superior product support,” stressed Kody Chan, Regional Marine Sales Manager for Asia Pacific.
Caterpillar is also planning to build and open an Engine Learning Center on the Tianjin site, which will support and foster the development of specialist engine technicians in China be it for the Caterpillar dealerships or customers.