26 October 2001

Effort is owed to Caterpillar

THERE is little doubt that the scale and extent of Perkins engineering efforts with the 1100 Series owes much to being part of Caterpillar for the past two and a half years. The Peterborough-based diesel engine company has drawn on group expertise for electronics and combustion technology and has won substantial cash to invest in this and related projects.

Perkins says the 1100 Series represents its biggest ever engine project. But while refusing to put a figure on the total project or R&D spend, it has revealed spending £10m on a 14-cell engine test centre for the companys design and engineering department; £30m on high-tech machining, assembly and production engine test facilities; and another £1.2m on software for a new diagnostics, parts and servicing information system designed to improve after-sales service efficiency.

Commercially, too, Perkins is seeing advantages from being in the Caterpillar fold, says agricultural sales director John Baxter. Perkins can now supply its traditional customers with Cat engines beyond the 1100 Series ceiling of 175hp if required.

With Cats new 7.2-litre 3126B stretching from 175hp to 275hp, and 275hp to 335hp 9-litre C-9 (already going into Claas Lexion combines), Perkins has access for the first time to competitive engines in the big power league. &#42

Sales director John Baxter: "Perkins is seeing advantages from being in the Caterpillar fold."