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manufacturing2017

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

Kawasaki engines exec talks innovation

Written by | Sunday, 23 July 2017 14:07 |

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.

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

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.

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

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.

CHICAGO — After years of shifting between private spaces and open office floor plans, the office furniture industry seems to have settled on a happy medium.

Despite growing operational complexity and a period of industry-led change, office furniture suppliers say they remain optimistic.

With an increasingly mobile workforce and an ever greater need for technology investments, companies and entrepreneurs continue to seek out new designs for their offices.

CHICAGO — When Herman Miller Inc. first introduced the Aeron chair during the dawn of the dot-com era in 1994, it took the office furniture industry by storm.

MUSKEGON — A startup business on the lakeshore is helping craft brewers globally to diversify the mix of packaged products they can sell via their taprooms.

KALAMAZOO — The $6 million expansion of Rx Optical Laboratories Inc.’s corporate campus in Southwest Michigan will support further steady growth for the company.

While optimism for the U.S. economy remains relatively high, many economists and industry watchers are forecasting a period of slow growth in West Michigan’s manufacturing sector. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Over his storied career, John Berry has advocated for the benefits of incorporating design principles outside of traditional creative industries. Now, Berry is taking that vision one step further at Grand Valley State University with the new Design Thinking Academy, where he serves as director. The academy spun off from the university’s Design Thinking Initiative that launched in 2014.

ALLEGAN — John Hendrickson says the decision to retire as CEO of Perrigo Co. plc was personal and his choice alone.

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