Caterpillar and surveying equipment manufacturer Trimble have announced a new joint venture (JV) company and distribution agreement that will focus on applications for road construction, paving, heavy construction and quarry/aggregates worksites, according to a statement on Trimble's website.

The new company, VirtualSite Solutions, will integrate the "deep expertise" of both companies in the areas of product design and software development.

The JV aims to create "information rich worksites" that will allow customers to manage their equipment fleets "more efficiently and safely". Other benefits, said the statement, will include reducing operating costs and improving productivity.

Commenting on the announcement, Gwenne Henricks, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for the Electronics & Connected Worksite Division, said, "Caterpillar products already feature a high level of advanced technology, which enhances customer productivity and sustains our environment.

"With an increasing need to improve customer job site productivity, reduce fuel consumption and maintenance costs while maximizing equipment health and utilization, there has never been a better time to integrate machine monitoring with site management to create a market-leading connected worksite for our customers," Ms Henricks added.

The JV will be located in Westminster, Colorado, home of Trimble's Engineering and Construction product development and marketing organization. An office will also be established in Peoria, Illinois, where the JV staff will work with Cat's Electronics & Connected Worksite Division.

With the initial focus on applications for road construction, paving, heavy construction and quarry/aggregates worksites, a new distribution channel will be established to bring these technologies to customers and other users, said the statement.

The new dealer distribution channel will be branded SITECH, and will be the outlet for products and services for the aftermarket. Trimble will have primary responsibility for managing the SITECH dealer relationship.

Cat's existing dealers will continue to be the channel for technologies integrated into new Caterpillar machines while forming strategic relationship with SITECH dealers to provide total site solutions for customers.

The new JV joins the two companies existing joint venture company, Caterpillar Trimble Control Technologies (CTCT), which was created in 2002. This company develops machine control products, such as Cat's AccuGrade system and the Trimble Grade Control System.

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