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Manufacturing

SPONSORED BY MICHIGAN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORP.

A partnership among West Michigan organizations supporting advanced manufacturing has announced an opportunity for area companies to learn more about Industry 4.0.

LANSING — State and local officials announced a series of grants and tax incentives for a major Indiana-based recreational vehicle manufacturer to expand in St. Joseph County.

ZEELAND — Quarterly sales for automotive supplier Gentex Corp. have rebounded since the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, though the company’s growth remains hampered by widespread supply chain disruptions.

GRAND RAPIDS — Rock band Metallica continues to invest in a unique welding program that it was instrumental in launching at Grand Rapids Community College.

GRAND RAPIDS — Wood products manufacturer UFP Industries Inc. continues to achieve record-breaking sales numbers as it navigates a volatile industry.

ZEELAND — After closing on its transformational $1.8 billion acquisition of Knoll Inc. Monday, furniture maker Herman Miller Inc. has unveiled its new name for the combined companies.

ALBION — Manufacturer Caster Concepts Inc. has adopted a relatively non-traditional approach to engaging with the local community.

MUSKEGON TWP. — Defense contractor L3Harris Technologies Inc. has completed the sale of its Muskegon Township-based Combat Propulsion Systems operation.

Dowagiac-based Lyons Industries Inc. has long been notorious for dirty, thankless work.

CALEDONIA — Dan Vukcevich admitted that his only previous farming experience was growing up on a cattle farm that never made any money.

As the owner of two West Michigan-based manufacturing operations, Jay Garside is leaning on state resources to usher his businesses along their Industry 4.0 journeys.

For manufacturers adopting Industry 4.0 technology into their operations, experts warn: With automation comes risk.

HOLLAND — JR Automation Technologies LLC, a global designer, builder and integrator of automation solutions, has seen a pandemic-induced surge in demand from labor-strapped clients across a wide range of industries.

ZEELAND — Despite solid quarterly earnings for Herman Miller Inc., the contract furniture maker’s share price fell nearly 7 percent in trading Tuesday on the company’s lower-than-expected outlook for the current quarter. 

ZEELAND — New York City-based private equity firm Blue Wolf Capital Partners has entered into a definitive agreement to sell Novo Building Products LLC.

GRAND RAPIDS — While office furniture giant Steelcase Inc. continues to reel from the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, its first quarter fiscal year 2022 results announced Thursday showed sequential growth and a road to profitability.

ROCKFORD — Wolverine World Wide Inc.’s leadership succession plan involves President Brendan Hoffman transitioning to CEO at the end of the year, company officials announced today.

Automotive supplier American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. received state backing for an expansion project in Southwest Michigan that could lead to the creation of 100 new manufacturing jobs. 

As a transformational merger between two office furniture giants heads for final approval, the details of their seven-month courtship offer insight into a deal that could change the industry’s landscape.

BYRON CENTER — As a veteran of the machine and cutting tools industry, Jeff Swift launched Swift Placement and Consulting this month to meet the talent needs of a niche manufacturing segment.

PORTAGE — Midwest Fastener Corp. plans to create up to 90 jobs as part of a $10.8 million investment to expand its headquarters and distribution center in Portage and operations in Decatur.

WALKER — Pallet recycler Kamps Inc. announced this week that it has signed a definitive purchase agreement to buy an Ohio packaging solutions provider and its subsidiaries.

NORTON SHORES — Adhesives, sealants and coatings manufacturer Seal Bond Inc. is planning to relocate its operations and headquarters from Spring Lake Township to a new 200,000-square-foot facility in Norton Shores.

HOLLAND TWP. — Custom automation solutions provider Mission Design & Automation LLC announced today that is nearing completion on a 50,000 square foot, $5 million expansion facility in Holland Township.

KENTWOOD — Autocam Medical Devices LLC plans to invest $60 million over the next three years to expand production capacity in West Michigan.

Fragile and inefficient supply chains took center stage throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and have furniture OEMs reevaluating the ways to approach this key component of their operations. 

 ALLEGAN — Perrigo Co. plc intends to sell its Mexico and Brazil-based over-the-counter business to Boston-based global private equity firm Advent International.

GRAND RAPIDS — As business leaders across industries grapple with their approach to the workplace in a post-pandemic era, The Economic Club of Grand Rapids provided insight on the topic from some of the most influential players in office furniture.

SPARTA — A Tenneco Inc. auto manufacturing plant in Sparta is scheduled to close this summer, eliminating all 78 jobs at the facility.

GRAND RAPIDS — Snack food company Utz Brands Inc. has acquired a partnering Grand Rapids-based tortilla chip manufacturer and its facility as part of a $41 million deal.

ROCKFORD — After a promising first quarter with strong demand and e-commerce growth, global footwear marketer and licensor Wolverine World Wide Inc. is eyeing a “breakthrough” 2021.

ALLEGAN — A sales spike in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic followed by a mild flu season during lockdown restrictions reduced Perrigo Co. plc’s quarterly sales to start 2021.

BATTLE CREEK — As the state transitions from mass COVID-19 vaccination sites to smaller, more targeted clinics to immunize the general public, onsite employer-hosted vaccination clinics are taking on a new importance.

In a typical year, Matt Koning likes to have up to 210 vehicles listed and ready to sell across his four used car lots. Right now, his inventory is sitting at 110 — and he still feels fortunate to have that robust of a supply.

Laurie Harbour compares life in today’s manufacturing industry to a game of whack-a-mole as company leaders find themselves addressing one problem only to encounter another.

NORTON SHORES — Seabrook Plastics Inc., a molder of plastic parts primarily for the automotive and defense industries, recently finalized the sale of its company to a fellow lakeshore-based plastic parts manufacturer.

ZEELAND — Economic development firm Lakeshore Advantage was one of 10 organizations to receive Michigan Strategic Fund grants to promote Industry 4.0 adoption and readiness among area manufacturers.

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters foresaw the pain points the country’s manufacturers would encounter during the COVID-19 pandemic and he’s actively pushing legislation he thinks could make the industry more resilient.

Gilbert Rhode’s vision from nearly a century ago fits today’s changing furniture design landscape as Herman Miller Inc. proposes to buy competitor Knoll Inc.

After serving with global office furniture maker Steelcase Inc. for 25 years, and the last seven as CEO, Jim Keane recently announced he would step away from his leading role this fall when he will be replaced by executive vice president and incoming CEO Sara Armbruster.

ZEELAND — Despite numerous challenges in its operating environment, Zeeland-based automotive supplier Gentex Corp. managed to record its second highest sales quarter in company history.

GRAND RAPIDS — Wood products manufacturer UFP Industries Inc. credits strong market conditions and success in implementing its strategic plan for driving what CEO Matt Missad described as “unprecedented growth” in the first quarter. 

ZEELAND — A Colorado-based manufacturer that specializes in designing, manufacturing and servicing control systems for the aerospace industry plans to expand its operations in Zeeland.

GRAND RAPIDS — Global furniture maker Steelcase Inc. announced today its timeline for a transition at the company’s top executive role.

ZEELAND — Herman Miller Inc. plans to buy competitor Knoll Inc. in a $1.8 billion cash-and-stock deal that will create a new office furniture industry sales leader.

ZEELAND — Office furniture manufacturer Herman Miller Inc. unveiled a new e-commerce platform this week that caters to the company’s commercial clients.

BATTLE CREEK — Automotive supplier Magna Cosma Casting is planning to invest $31.9 million into an expansion of its facility in the Fort Cost Industrial Park.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. is making a new push to place Michigan manufacturers ahead of the curve on Industry 4.0 technology.