Engine maker Cummins Inc. is about to start building a new technical and office center in southern Indiana.
Company executives and local officials took part in a groundbreaking ceremony in Seymour on Monday for the headquarters of Cummins' high-horsepower division.
Engineers from several locations will be based at the $70 million center, and more than 600 people could be working there when it is completed next year, The Tribune of Seymour reported.
Ed Pence, vice president and general manager of Cummins high-horsepower engine business, said the new center in the city about 50 miles south of Indianapolis will help streamline development.
"The new tech center will be home to all of the high-horsepower engineering team in southern Indiana," Pence said. "This center of technical excellence will allow us to rapidly launch new products and services that will help differentiate us from the competition."
Cummins expects to start production next month at its Seymour Engine Plant of a new 4,000-horsepower diesel engine that is the largest the company has made, said Darren Wildman, the plant's manager. That engine is designed to power locomotives, ships, and mining and drilling equipment as well as generate electricity.
An expansion of the engine factory and the new technical center are part of a nearly $220 million investment in Seymour facilities that the company announced in 2012.
Seymour Mayor Craig Luedeman said the Cummins projects are a boost for the city of 17,000 people.
"This tech center puts Seymour on the map, and the public will begin to see that," Luedeman said.
Cummins has some 8,000 employees at its facilities in Columbus, Seymour and other communities.
Jim Trueblood, vice president of high-horsepower engineering for Cummins, said he expects the new tech center to improve collaboration and teamwork.
"As we have grown the high-horsepower business, we've grown to the point where we have engineers in three different locations and probably even more," Trueblood said. "To be close to the production of the engine is very important from an engineering perspective. To have everyone co-located together is going to be a real improvement for us."