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Caterpillar celebrates expansion grand opening

The ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday at the grand opening for the Caterpillar Expansion in West Fargo. Logan Werlinger / Forum News Service

State and local dignitaries joined Caterpillar officials Monday for a celebration marking the company's five-year anniversary milestone of acquiring the remanufacturing business in West Fargo, as well as completion of a major $50 million expansion to the plant at 1262 W. Main Ave.

Caterpillar Reman Drivetrain LLC produces remanufactured drive train components for large off-highway trucks and other mining equipment, including final drives, transmission, torque converters and steering clutches.

The expansion which got underway in 2011, resulted in a 225,000 square foot addition that provides increased production capacity for high-tech machining and metal additive processes, along with a state-of-the-art metallurgical lab; and also increases the facility's capacity for new and remanufactured components.

The expansion also placed Caterpillar's 300 employees all under one roof with the capacity to add 250 more employees when warranted.

On hand for the grand opening and ribboncutting ceremony were Governor Jack Dalrymple, Congressman Kevin Cramer, Caterpillar Vice President Greg Folley, West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern, plant Manager Martin Purdy, Caterpillar employees, state legislators and other local officials.

Addressing the group, Dalrymple stated, "Congratulations to everybody at Caterpillar and in West Fargo. What a beautiful place you have here. This is advanced manufacturing and these are great jobs. The fact that Caterpillar chose West Fargo for its expansion is a testament to the positive business climate that we have worked hard to establish in North Dakota. Our state economy continues to grow and diversify and Caterpillar is part of that success. We have a great thing going here. Congratulations to everybody and all the employees. This is a major long term expansion for our state and we are proud to have you here."

Caterpillar vice president Greg Folley who has with responsibility for the Remanufacturing and Components Division leading over 900 employees, started his remarks by thanking "the outstanding West Fargo team without which this wouldn't be possible. The work done here benefits Caterpillar customers all over the world. This team truly has a global reach."

He added that the vision for the company is to be the world leader in remanufacturing large drivetrain systems. "Approximately 60 percent of the massive components mader here will be shipped outside the United States to go into mining machines across the world. Remanufacturing allows us to achieve all of this while still benefiting the environment. Here in West Fargo alone, our remanufacturing process recycles millions of pounds of iron each year. That's good for our environment, good for business and good for our customers. It's why we continue to invest here. North Dakota gets it and encourages us with its sound policies. Please keep doing what you are doing. We look forward to 40 more years of prosperity and growth in West Fargo."

Taking his turn at the podium Mayor Mattern touted Caterpillar's community involvement . "I know several people who work here. They are dedicated and a credit and many go beyond. We have volunteer firefighters and others working with charities. We really appreciate that and a thank you to Caterpillar for encouraging that. Together we are making West Fargo a better place to work and live."

Caterpillar acquired the North Dakota assets of Gremada Industries in 2008 from Gremada Industries which was established by Greg, Matthew and David Butler in 1962. Today, the facility does a mixture of remanufacturing and new parts manufacturing.

The West Fargo plant is one of 17 facilities and nearly 4,000 team members that make up Cat Reman, which returns end-of-life components to same-as-when-new condition in terms of reliability, durability and performance.