Manufacturing

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An emphasis on shared family values and the promise of continued investment and growth made last year’s sale of privately-owned Structural Concepts Corp. to private equity firm Mason Wells a “very friendly, reasonably smooth deal all the way along.”

On top of ongoing trade disputes and the disruptive GM strike, two statistical gauges of the U.S. manufacturing industry hit new lows, leaving economists and manufacturers preparing for a meaningful economic shift from a decade of growth. 

Jeff Helminski, co-founder and managing partner of Auxo Investment Partners in Grand Rapids, successfully leveraged his atypical experience and path into the world of private equity in multiple deals last year. 

GRAND RAPIDS — TG Manufacturing LLC created a new division to acquire Grand Rapids-based A2Z Coatings LLC, a supplier to the automotive, material handling and gaming industries.

HOLLAND TOWNSHIP — A trio of industrial companies are planning expansions on the lakeshore in Holland Charter Township. 

ZEELAND — Office furniture manufacturer Herman Miller Inc. plans to increase its ownership stake in Denmark-based Hay A/S by an additional 34 percent. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Before Ron Pease became the CEO of Mister-E-Liquid LLC, a Grand Rapids-based manufacturer of e-liquid used in electronic cigarettes, he smoked a pack a day for 15 years. 

CENTREVILLE — As consumer demographics shift and the economy slows, smaller products have become a big consideration for recreational vehicle manufacturer Viking Products Inc. 

ROTHBURY — Barber Steel Foundry Corp., a metal casting plant in Oceana County, will close its doors by the end of the year and eliminate 61 jobs, according to documents filed with the state.

Steelcase Inc. and Herman Miller Inc. each recorded strong sales results for their most recent quarters.

BENTON HARBOR — Home appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corp. is selling off a manufacturing facility in Italy.

HOLLAND — ITB Packaging LLC plans to expand locally with a $3.5 million capital investment and the expected creation of at least 65 new jobs over the next five years.

GRAND RAPIDS — An affiliate of Universal Forest Products Inc. (NASDAQ: UFPI) has acquired Hartford, Wis.-based Pallet USA LLC, expanding Universal’s industrial product-capacity and services in the Midwest.

ADA — Global direct-selling giant Amway Corp. has eliminated 47 information technology positions in another round of cuts to its workforce, the company confirmed to MiBiz. 

Michigan is the most attractive state in the Midwest for new aerospace manufacturing businesses.

GRAND RAPIDS — A deepening partnership with a Spain-based minority shareholder provided Founders Brewing Co. Executive Chairman John Green the perfect timing to jump back into an early-stage growth company.

CHARLOTTE — Spartan Motors Inc. continues to build its presence on the West Coast with its second acquisition of a California company in three months. 

BYRON CENTER — Mobile video technology manufacturer Pro-Vision Video Systems Inc. has been acquired by a Boston-based private equity fund. 

Pi Optima Manufacturing Inc., a Zeeland-based machine shop that supplies the aerospace and automotive industries, is under new ownership. 

GRAND RAPIDS — The assets of Grand Rapids Hydroponics Inc. were acquired by Denver-based GrowGeneration Corp., the largest chain of specialty hydroponic and organic garden centers. 

BATTLE CREEK — Cedar Run Decoy Co. LLC aims to provide hunters with new ways to get back to the basics of waterfowling. 

When Grand Rapids-based Multi-Automatic Tool and Supply Co. started searching for prospective acquisitions several years ago, the move came as a reaction to many of the company’s customers buying directly from small shops. 

GRAND RAPIDS — TG Manufacturing LLC, a fully-integrated metals manufacturing company, acquired Turnkey Fabrication LLC, an integrated fabrication operation with laser, CNC brake press, machining, assembly and welding process capability.

NILES — French Paper Co., a Niles-based manufacturer of premium colored paper and envelopes for graphic design, specialty prints and gifts, was recently acquired by New York-based Finch Paper LLC. 

A decade into the economic recovery, the region’s automotive suppliers continue to ride the wave of vehicle sales volume in the North Amercian and global auto market. Yet, many are bracing for an impending downturn, which analysts predict will occur somewhere in the early 2020s. Primarily, suppliers are planning on weathering any upcoming downturn by banking on investments in new technologies, including electric vehicles and automation, whether through increased R&D spending or through acquisitions. 

ACME — After a decade of bullish outlooks, automotive suppliers need to buckle up for a period of upcoming disruptions. 

Self-driving shuttles may be traveling through downtown Grand Rapids these days, but automakers say broad acceptance for autonomous, connected, electric and shared vehicles will take more patience. 

Uncertainties related to trade policies continue to plague the automotive industry, which has closely linked production operations in Canada, Mexico and overseas.

From rubber horseshoes to roll-covers for paper, metal and other industries, Vail Rubber Works Inc. has been steadily serving supply chains in West Michigan for more than a century.

Office furniture maker Trendway Corp., a fixture in the Holland business community for five decades, has been sold to Fellowes Brands, an Itasca, Ill.-based manufacturer of office and technology accessories.

Motus Integrated Technologies LLC, a Holland-based Tier 1 and Tier 2 auto supplier, has signed a definitive agreement to buy Janesville Fiber Solutions, a division of Milwaukee, Wisc.-based Jason Industries Inc.

HOLLAND — Automotive supplier GHSP is expanding and moving its headquarters and engineering laboratory to the Holland Technical Center, MiBiz has learned. 

BRIDGMAN — B&L Information Systems Inc., a developer of software for metal casters, expects to begin construction in August on an expansion and renovation project at its headquarters in Southwest Michigan. 

A chorus of manufacturing leaders and trade organizations from Michigan are urging Congress to pass a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.

GRAND RAPIDS — Handbag and luggage manufacturer Public Thread developed its business strategy around the idea that one company’s waste could be another’s raw material. 

GRAND RAPIDS — BarFly Ventures LLC, the parent company that operates the HopCat craft beer bar chain, has decided to discontinue brewing operations at the downtown HopCat location, MiBiz has learned. 

WHITE CLOUD — Refractory product manufacturer HarbisonWalker International Inc. is investing $9 million to expand its plant in Newaygo County. 

HOLLAND — Reports this month that LG Chem plans to build a second U.S. lithium-ion battery plant underscore how much the automotive industry has evolved in the six years since the company started making advanced batteries in West Michigan.

Helix Steel hopes to find a silver lining in what’s become a growing infrastructure crisis in the state of Michigan. 

Mead Johnson & Co. LLC, a manufacturer of infant formula, plans to invest $67.7 million to expand its processing plant in Zeeland. 

MUSKEGON — American Chemical Solutions plans to breathe new life into an idled chemical manufacturing plant on the lakeshore.

HOLLAND — Graham Packaging Company LP, a manufacturer of plastic containers and packaging, plans to cease operations and permanently close its plant in Holland. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Nearly every guest who spends the night at a hotel room in downtown Grand Rapids sleeps on the same mattress. 

“Please see attached.” That’s the email employees at Grand Rapids-based Kindel Furniture Co. Inc. received from a company vice president in late April. Within a few minutes, two people had tried to open the included attachment and replied back to the apparent sender that they were having trouble.

WYOMING — A Grand Rapids-area manufacturer of planters will be relocating to Nebraska after a sale to Headwind Consumer Products. 

HOLLAND — A West Michigan recycler has acquired Howell-based Regal Recycling Inc. 

GRAND RAPIDS — A subsidiary of one of the largest Japanese trading companies has expanded its footprint into the eastern United States with the strategic acquisition of Magic Steel Sales LLC. 

GRAND RAPIDS — The tight labor market that many CEOs across the nation worry about these days cut into Steelcase Inc.’s quarterly sales growth.