July 29, 2014

Caterpillar boosts investment in 3D software joint venture

Trimble's VisionLink web apps to provide 'unified fleet solution' for contractors

by SPAR Point Group staff | January 06, 2014

Caterpillar Inc., the world's largest manufacturer of construction equipment, and 3D positioning tech firm, Trimble Navigation Ltd., said Friday they will further invest in a six-year-old, 3D software joint venture to develop a real-time “unified fleet solution" for heavy and civil contractors.

Financial details of the agreements, including any investments, were not disclosed. The two companies formed VirtualSite Solutions LLC in 2008 with 65 percent owned by Trimble and 35 percent owned by Caterpillar. The joint venture develops VisionLink web-based applications for managing worksite information and equipment fleets.

Caterpillar uses VisionLink in its Cat Connect portfolio of products and services, which connects over 250,000 Cat machines globally for monitoring of fuel consumption, maintenance, productivity and overall fleet availability.

"The agreements demonstrate both companies' commitment to providing a brand-agnostic information solution to contractors with mixed equipment fleets," said Bryn Fosburgh, vice president of Trimble's construction technology divisions.

Another joint venture the two firms maintain is Caterpillar Trimble Control Technologies LLC (CTCT). Established in 2002, CTCT develops 3D and conventional machine control systems that use construction site design information combined with Trimble’s positioning technology to automatically control dozer blades and other machine tools.

Caterpillar also collaborates on Trimble’s SITECH global distribution network, where dealers represent Caterpillar’s machine control systems and Trimble's portfolio of site positioning systems.

Caterpillar, headquartered in Peoria, Ill., generated $65.9 billion in 2012 sales. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Trimble (Nasdaq: TRMB) uses positioning technologies - GPS, lasers and optics - to focus on applications requiring position or location, including surveying, construction, agriculture, fleet and asset management, public safety and mapping. Trimble’s 2012 sales were over $2 billion.

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