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John Wiegand

John Wiegand

Staff writer

jwiegand@mibiz.com

Manufacturers from high-tech industries will again have the opportunity to put their products on display at this year’s Advanced Manufacturing Expo.

Sunday, 23 July 2017 14:07

Kawasaki engines exec talks innovation

By moving R&D from Missouri to West Michigan, Kawasaki Motor Corp. will be able to deliver faster technical support and service to customers and OEMs. That’s according to Nelson Wilner, a veteran sales and marketing executive in the marine industry who was promoted to lead Kawasaki’s Engines Division, which is headquartered in Grand Rapids. The group focuses on manufacturing industrial engines, primarily for the landscaping industry. While Kawasaki’s manufacturing operations are in Missouri, the division operates its sales and marketing and other business operations from Grand Rapids. Wilner spoke with MiBiz about the decision to move the company’s separate R&D group to West Michigan and other innovations at the company.

West Michigan manufacturers continue to take a steady yet conservative approach to research and development spending.

ZEELAND — Charter House Innovations has taken the strategy of business diversification to an extreme.

Although additive manufacturing has moved beyond the makerspaces where it first gained a foothold, many companies still relegate the technology for use in prototyping and little else.

Justine Burdette took over leadership of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West early this year after the organization’s long-time director, Bill Small, departed to pursue a career in education. With a background in liberal arts and art history, Burdette — who worked as an executive assistant to Small — brings a new perspective and problem-solving skills to guide MMTC-West through the next evolution of manufacturing. Burdette believes manufacturers will need to integrate new connected technologies, cybersecurity and other measures to compete in the future. She spoke with MiBiz about what skills she brings to the table and her long-term outlook for the organization.

ALBION — After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year, Patriot Solar Group LLC won a minor court victory late last month to keep its case moving forward.

HAMILTON — An artistic metal foundry once headquartered in Chicago has relocated its operations to Southwest Michigan.

Ask West Michigan manufacturers how they’re addressing the challenges of finding qualified workers, and many of them likely will cite automation equipment as a key part of their solution.

Order volatility in the office furniture industry continued to affect sales for Herman Miller Inc.

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