February 17, 2017

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The Week in Review

Looking to the Future

Last week, I went on a tour of the Caterpillar (CAT) plant in South Milwaukee. I toured the plant when I was first elected to the Assembly but quite a bit has changed in three years.

Plant manager, Tim Young led my staff and I on a tour of the sprawling 76 acre property, housing different parts of the plant located at 1100 Milwaukee Ave. Shovels and draglines for surface mining are among the primary products produced in South Milwaukee. Tim explained the massive technological shift taking place in the mining industry and how that change is impacting the plant in South Milwaukee.

In 2012, the mining industry saw a drastic decline across the globe that led to a reduced number of jobs company-wide at Caterpillar. The company is in the process of creating efficiencies and investing in plants all over the country that will allow them to remain competitive and keep jobs at their existing locations including South Milwaukee.

According to Tim, jobs in manufacturing are sometimes thought of as dirty, hard-labor performed in a dark warehouse similar to a dungeon. However, that picture has drastically changed with new technological advances in mining tools.

Pictured, is a new state of the art tool that produces gears that help operate machines in mining productions across the globe.
The machine is controlled by a computer with software capability of reading tool design. Once the design is digitally entered the machine performs the work cutting the tool to the exact dimensions specified by the design plan. Technology like this is changing the future of mining production.

Manufacturing plays an important role in Wisconsin’s economy, bringing in millions of dollars in revenue and providing jobs to families throughout the state. Caterpillar has held a presence in South Milwaukee since 2011 when the mining company acquired Bucyrus. Prior to that, Bucyrus Foundry and Manufacturing Company held its headquarters in South Milwaukee for more than 100 years after moving from Ohio in 1893.

The mining industry is still sluggish but Tim and others at Caterpillar are hopeful for the future of CAT in South Milwaukee. Employing more than 200 people, we hope the plant will continue to be an important member of our district.

Over the next several months, I will continue touring businesses throughout our district to give you an inside look at the companies that play an important role in our community.

Have a great week!


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State Capitol Room 204 - PO Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708
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Email: Rep.Rodriguez@legis.wi.gov