With 2018 shaping up as slower than expected for the automotive supply chain, West Michigan-based tool and die makers are embracing diversification to counter the cyclical industry.

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JENISON — The changing automotive industry is forcing West Michigan manufacturer Dienetics to adjust how it does business.

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WALKER — Citing increased demand from its automotive customer base, Betz Industries Inc. wants to expand its manufacturing capabilities at its sprawling West Michigan campus.

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GRAND RAPIDS — Driven by customers’ needs to lightweight large components, Paragon Die and Engineering Co. is adding new equipment and expanding its facility in West Michigan.

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While most economists still believe in the strength of the overall economy, some West Michigan manufacturers say their business has begun to soften, indicating a slowdown could be starting to emerge.

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GRAND RAPIDS — Many West Michigan mold manufacturers are looking to get ahead of the oncoming wave of employee retirements by hiring more employees this year.

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With 177 new vehicle launches expected by 2020, tooling suppliers like Walker Tool & Die Inc. are bracing for another busy period in what’s been a string of good years for the industry.

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The sector that provides the majority of tooling, fixtures and molds required to manufacture automotive components is facing a crisis.

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The next two years are shaping up to be a busy time for tool and die makers in West Michigan and beyond.

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MIDDLEVILLE — Backed by a new investment, Middleville Tool & Die Co. wants to ramp up its manufacturing capabilities that will pull it further away from its legacy business.

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