Today, China is the largest construction and mining equipment market in the world. Caterpillar has made significant investments to expand the range of products and components produced in the Asia Pacific region to better serve our customers in China and other growth markets. To support this business growth and the need for localized machine validation, Caterpillar opened the Asia Pacific Proving Ground (APPG) in Tongzhou, Jiangsu Province, in early 2013. The facility, part of the Product Development and Global Technology (PD>) Division, recently celebrated its one-year anniversary.
Strategically located near the Wuxi R&D Center and regional manufacturing facilities, APPG is focused on validation of new machine and component designs, ranging from reliability endurance testing to highly technical performance testing. The facility also hosts machine demonstrations, productivity studies and machine operations training to demonstrate the value of our products to customers and dealers and grow employees’ product application knowledge.
"Caterpillar products have an excellent reputation around the world," said Brian Sun, PD> China director. “APPG enables timely and cost effective validation of products designed for China and other growth markets under regional operating conditions with regional fuel."
APPG began its journey with a formal groundbreaking ceremony on January 5, 2012. To successfully bring the facility online, a core team from the Caterpillar China Research & Development Center (CRDC) in Wuxi collaborated closely with staff at the Peoria Proving Ground (PPG) and Tucson Proving Ground (TPG), as well as various competency groups. Several APPG employees participated in hands-on training assignments and many international subject matter experts provided remote and onsite support to ensure all APPG validation activities met Caterpillar’s stringent quality standards.
This approach proved successful, as employees were able to move into the facility nine months after the groundbreaking. A formal grand opening ceremony was held on January 10, 2013. Following the opening, APPG had an impressive first year of operations supporting multiple machine development programs for medium and large wheel loaders, hydraulic excavators, motor graders, compactors and track-type tractors – all with zero recordable injuries. Another key accomplishment was the global collaboration with the Large Wheel Loader (LWL) team in supporting development and validation of the new 986H LWL. The 986H is now in production at the LWL manufacturing facility, which shares a campus with APPG.
"APPG, as part of a network of global validation facilities, is leveraging global best practices in their operation, helping to deliver the efficient, high quality validation activities that our customers expect," said PD> Global Validation Director Jim Blass.