Japan: Hitachi Sumitomo announced it will increase its annual production of crawler cranes to 420 units from 310 by the end of fiscal 2006, due to demand from the Middle East. The company has received 73 orders from the region since October 2005, compared with less than 10 a year previously.

As a result Hitachi Sumitomo is investing Yen 2 billion ($76 million) to expand the Nagoya plant by 20%, increasing its size from 46,000 square feet to 54,000 square feet.

Some production will be moved to Nagoya from the company's other factory at Tsuchiura. An additional 80 workers will be hired to bring the workforce at Nagoya to 350.

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