Caterpillar closes Iowa facility

International manufacturing company Caterpillar Inc. will close its Elkader, IA facility by the end of this year.  In a statement released this afternoon, company officials announced plans to consolidate the plant’s operations with a location in Wamego, Kan. About 75 management and production positions will be affected.  “The actions taken today will help optimize current and future manufacturing operations and leverage the existing support structure in order to make the best use of manufacturing capacity,” spokeswoman Janice Walters wrote in the statement.  Workers were notified Thursday of the impending closure.  “Caterpillar knows this is difficult for its employees and their families, but steps must be taken to position the company for long-term success,” Walters wrote.