Manufacturing

German automotive supplier Benteler Automotive Corp. is laying off more than 1,000 people across its West Michigan operations. 

ZEELAND — Office furniture maker Herman Miller Inc. anticipates bringing back up to 30 percent of its manufacturing employees by today to help support the company’s health care division.

Demand for the mobile computer workstations produced by Walker-based health care furniture manufacturer Altus Industries Inc. had already begun to spike as hospitals started setting up quarantine and triage areas in preparation for an influx of COVID-19 patients. 

ZEELAND — As Brad Davis tracked news about the spread of the coronavirus in early March, he cautioned his production team at MedViron LLC that the company might need to shut down to do its part with social distancing.

WYOMING — A high-end furniture manufacturer has idled work on custom home pieces but called back some laid-off staffers to sew much-needed masks amid the coronavirus outbreak.

GRAND RAPIDS — As the coronavirus pandemic spread to Michigan, Norman Beauchamp saw a need and an opportunity to coordinate manufacturers locally to supply equipment and supplies to hospitals expecting a surge in patients.

ROCKFORD — Footwear and apparel retailer Wolverine World Wide Inc. is in the “early stages” of converting one of its manufacturing facilities to produce protective masks for health care workers. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Universal Forest Products Inc. warned investors today that the coronavirus pandemic could pose serious challenges to the business. 

ZEELAND — Herman Miller Inc. is continuing to pay its Michigan workers affected by the temporary shutdown of its manufacturing operations in compliance with the state’s stay-home order. 

BENTON HARBOR — Appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corp. has joined other publicly traded companies in withdrawing its 2020 earnings guidance, citing “unprecedented uncertainty” and concerns over disruptions related to coronavirus. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Steelcase Inc. said Tuesday that reduced or halted operations at its global manufacturing and distribution centers because of the coronavirus will “temporarily, but significantly” affect the company’s ability to generate revenue in its current quarter. 

ZEELAND — Herman Miller Inc. says it’s unable to predict sales for the present quarter because of the coronavirus pandemic that has created a “high degree of uncertainty throughout the global economy.”

Detroit’s Big Three automakers will shut down all of their factories in an effort to protect workers and the further spread of novel coronavirus, according to various industry reports. 

NeoCon, the office furniture industry’s annual showcase held each June in downtown Chicago, has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

GRAND RAPIDS — An affiliate of Grand Rapids-based Universal Forest Products Inc. has acquired the operating assets of Quest Design & Fabrication and Quest Architectural Millwork, collectively known as Quest. 

The automotive industry is scrambling to strike a balance between near-term execution and unsteady industry disruption from the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

Hudsonville-based Banyan Tree Fabworks is turning distinctive historical machinery into statement-furniture. 

While the labor crisis lingers in West Michigan, manufacturers are spending millions of dollars on upskilling their incumbent employees to keep up with growth. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Laser cutting service Laser Access LLC is under new ownership and plans to expand its facility in Walker. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Tier 1 automotive supplier Gill Industries Inc. plans to hold a public auction of some of its manufacturing equipment next month, MiBiz has learned.

LANSING — Food and animal safety products manufacturer Neogen Corp. has acquired its fourth international business this year. 

HOLLAND – Office furniture manufacturer Haworth Inc. reported an increase in sales for 2019.

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak in China is forcing West Michigan manufacturers to find creative solutions to avoid production disruptions.

WALKER — Howard Miller Clock Co. of Zeeland has divested its wood furniture manufacturing division to Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Roll & Hill Furniture LLC. 

ZEELAND — Furniture maker Herman Miller Inc. is partnering with a division of Logitech International for the research, design and manufacture of furniture solutions for esports athletes and gamers.

GRAND RAPIDS — Steelcase Inc. has divested coated steel manufacturer PolyVision Corp. to an affiliate of Industrial Opportunity Partners, an Evanston, Ill.-based private equity firm. 

ADA — Direct-selling giant Amway Corp. generated $8.4 billion in sales for 2019, down 5 percent from 2018, according to an announcement today.

ZEELAND — A manufacturer of pet products and distributor of small reptiles is expanding its existing Zeeland Charter Township location. 

ADA — Global direct-selling giant Amway Corp. is eliminating approximately 50 marketing and R&D positions in West Michigan in the final wave of local layoffs that began in 2018.

CASCADE TOWNSHIP — Supply chain management and warehouse supply company JetCo Federal Supply is expanding with a new space in the Grand Rapids area. 

WYOMING — Industrial scales and weighing systems supplier D.C. Martin & Sons Scales Inc. has been purchased by Mettler-Toledo International Inc.

West Michigan-based suppliers of aerospace giant Boeing Co. continue to weigh their ability to bear higher costs during the company’s temporary suspension of production. 

NILES — Metal components manufacturer Modineer Co. Inc. will broaden its capabilities and enter new end markets under a deal to acquire the family-owned P-K Tool & Manufacturing Co. of Chicago. 

A tooling engineer from Grand Rapids-based Tier-1 supplier ADAC Automotive was traveling in the Wuhan area of China when the Coronavirus public health crisis broke in late January. 

CHARLOTTE — Spartan Motors Inc. has divested its emergency response division to Milwaukee-based REV Group Inc. in a $55 million cash deal, effective Feb. 1. 

NILES — Niles Steel Tank Co. has completed an 85,000-square-foot facility to grow manufacturing capacity for its Alloy Works specialty division that makes stainless steel vessels. 

LANSING — Neogen Corp., a food and animal safety products manufacturer, has completed its third international acquisition this year with a deal for a U.K.-based firm. 

new program aims to incentivize small manufacturers to take on energy efficiency projects and “jump-start” energy waste reduction, ultimately helping them reduce their energy use, lower costs and become more competitive.

In the coming decade, the connectivity of smart factories will rely on next-generation 5G wireless technology. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Tier 1 automotive supplier Gill Industries Inc. plans to close its Bond Avenue production facility in Grand Rapids by April 10, 2020, according to a notice filed with the state.

MARQUETTE — Easy Ice LLC, a commercial ice machine rental and servicing company, has been acquired by private equity firm Freeman Spogli & Co. of Los Angeles, Calif.

LOWELL — eMotion Controls Co., an automation controls system integrator and software company, has been acquired by a Kentucky firm. 

BELDING — Guardian Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Wayne, Pa., has partnered with the executive management team at Belding-based Flat River Group LLC to acquire the company. 

MUSKEGON — Houston-based oil and gas industry supplier Cameron International Corp. is closing its Muskegon facility, according to a notice filed with the state. 

LUDINGTON — Through decades of growth by acquisitions around the world, foam products manufacturer FloraCraft Corp. remains dedicated to keeping jobs and growth in its home community. 

The ongoing Industry 4.0 revolution has the potential to transform how companies organize, operate and profit. At the same time, manufacturers are struggling to pinpoint and extract value from this new ability to gather seemingly limitless amounts of data.

In the past decade, West Michigan has evolved as a hub for automation alongside — and perhaps powered by — JR Automation Technologies LLC. 

ADAC Automotive, a Grand Rapids-based Tier 1 automotive supplier, is working toward a new strategy that will bring supplier-initiated technological advances into the sector.