Palletised machinery outdoors


Caterpillar case study

Caterpillar Defence is a key partner to militaries and military contractors globally. Whether a customer needs a ground-breaking power solution or a custom adaptation of a Cat® machine, their ideas help them to excel in every kind of environment.

Matt Bulley, Managing Director – Product Manager, comments on this iconic brand:
“We know our success comes directly from helping our partners be successful. That belief in powerful, long-term partnerships has driven Caterpillar since 1925, inspiring us to innovate and transform what’s possible. Because when we explore together, we succeed together”.

He continues, “We are based in Shrewsbury and employ 320 excellent staff all working hard to ensure our military customers have the best engines and gearboxes and we export 40% of our products all over the globe from here”.

Caterpillar Defence recently celebrated 100 years of manufacturing on their current 30 acre site in Shropshire.

Matt states, “Our heritage is in Shropshire. We began our military engines during our Rolls Royce ownership back in the mid 1970’s. Many of the products that were originally built here as new, now come back to be remanufactured. We give them a brand new life using much of the original material, with the addition of some clever technology and our expert team’s knowledge”.

Any investment Caterpillar make needs a very strong business case. So why has the company invested here rather than in Germany, France, Romania or Kenya?

Matt says it is down to the expertise of the team in Shropshire, their excellence in performance, quality levels and safety. “This means we can boast a strong foundation from which to request further investment in the County.”

He explains, “Last year we secured $6m investment in 2 state-of-the-art 5-axis machining centres which allow us to machine components in small batches with high precision, flexibility and speed at worldwide competitive prices. Our expertise in low volume highly complex large assemblies is also a scarce skill.”

Engineers working on machinery in the warehouse

Matt also believes that prospects are good for the advanced manufacturing large engineering sector in the UK and Shropshire.

“This is an area of manufacturing that the UK can successfully compete in, globally. Many of our customers are based overseas, or in the South West of England so good transport infrastructure is important to us. We enjoy ease of access to and from Shrewsbury and it’s also a thriving town with quality hotels and restaurants. All of this helps create a great impression when dealing with key decision-makers.”

And for anyone thinking of moving their business or setting one up in the County?

“It’s a vibrant and energetic County with a great range of local organisations. There’s a lot of help available and Shropshire has a great heritage of start-up businesses. The County also offers opportunities for a fantastic quality of life and that’s a strong reason for any business wanting to attract the right talent, or move their operation here.”