Consolidating plants

SOUTH MILWAUKEE (WITI) — In an effort to optimize operations and drive efficiencies, Caterpillar Inc.

has announced that it will transform its facilities in Aurora, Illinois, and South Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to better position each for long-term success.

said it plans to shift production of several of its lines here, consolidating four plants into three.

The moves, which should be completed by January, will allow the manufacturer and importer to better utilize its factories and create more work hours for employees.

About 690 employees are expected to be affected, 240 of whom will relocate to other locations, including Akashi, according to a company news release.

The components made in Danville go into track-type tractors used in construction and mining, the release said.Production will end in one facility, Plant 9, but it's undecided whether it will be converted to another purpose such as warehousing, said Timmerman.Retailers won't see any changes in the company's product lines, he added.Of 2,100 Caterpillar employees nationwide who took the voluntary retirement package offered by the company, about 1,200 were from the Peoria area.“Because the voluntary program was so successful, far fewer involuntary reductions have been needed.“We are about 90 percent complete for the expected 20 salaried, management and agency workforce reductions in the Peoria area.“We have more to do to complete the restructuring plans we announced in September, but we expect the remaining actions will largely occur outside of the Peoria area,” Vicary said in the letter.Also, the company announced it will close its undercarriage components facility in Danville, Ky., and shift production to various locations and suppliers.

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