(Bloomberg News) -- Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of mining and construction equipment, is creating a new division to capitalize on the growing importance of data analytics.

The analytics and innovation unit will draw on workers from across the company and will be led by Vice President Greg Folley, Caterpillar said Friday in a statement.

The company will place some employees with Uptake, a Chicago-based technology startup that provides analytics and in which Caterpillar is a minority backer. Caterpillar also said it will put resources into a Silicon Valley venture capital fund with the aim of investing in emerging technologies.

Caterpillar is among industrial companies trying to harness the potential value in the increasingly vast quantities of data amassed from its products and customers. Komatsu Ltd., Caterpillar’s largest competitor, and General Electric Co. are partnering to provide big-data analysis for mining projects, Nikkei reported Tuesday.

In announcing its investment in Uptake last month, Caterpillar said it planned to develop predictive diagnostics that will help customers monitor their fleets of Caterpillar equipment.

“We can transform the mountains of incoming data –- from a single machine or engine, an entire job site, the supply chain, a shipping location and much more –- into valuable information for our customers and suppliers,” Rob Charter, Caterpillar group president for customer and deal support, said in the statement.

Folley is currently chief of the remanufactured components and work tools division. Doug Hoerr will take over responsibility for that unit.

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