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Manufacturing

As owner of Forerunner 3D Printing LLC, Paul DeWys utilizes the evolving process of additive manufacturing to primarily produce short runs of complex parts for area businesses, or help them bring those same capabilities to the shop floor.

Joseph Van Harken and his company Th3rd Coast Digital Solutions have long provided companies with cutting-edge digital training solutions.

As a company that has operated for more than 70 years, Jenison-based Nu-Wool Co. Inc. certainly was not oblivious to the fact that higher levels of technology and automation could transform its production process, according to executives.

GRAND RAPIDS — Food packaging manufacturer Performance Systematix Inc. (PSI) has kicked off the new year under new ownership.

GRAND RAPIDS — Brooklyn-based furniture designer Uhuru Design has reached an agreement with Grand Rapids-based Renegade Customs to purchase the custom furniture design firm’s assets.

GRAND RAPIDS — Private equity firm Blackford Capital has invested in Aqua-Leisure Industries Inc.,  a maker of leisure products for water sports and recreation based in Avon, Mass.

CHARLOTTE — After moving its corporate headquarters to Novi this summer, The Shyft Group Inc. announced that it plans to fill hundreds of new jobs at its manufacturing campus in Charlotte to meet growing commercial fleet and speciality vehicle needs.

ROCKFORD — Footwear manufacturer Wolverine World Wide Inc. has shifted its focus to the e-commerce segment of its business complete with a new hire.

LANSING — Food and animal safety products manufacturer Neogen Corp. continues its international expansion with the acquisition of a supplier of analytical products deployed in food and beverage quality control laboratories. 

While Jake Hall might not tout the same beastly social media metrics as some famous American socialites, he considers himself a rare influencer in the manufacturing industry. 

As manufacturing continues to lead both in statewide and nationwide economic recovery, the sector will still need to address a chronic issue that has only worsened throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Market research and consulting firm IHS Markit recently locked in its latest forecast for the North American automotive industry. Barring any major pandemic-related setbacks, most data indicate a scrappy recovery on the back end of 2020 that will continue into 2021. IHS Director of Automotive Analysis Mike Wall, who brings more than two decades’ worth of auto sector expertise, discussed the relatively surprising projections that he didn’t foresee at the start of the pandemic.

Few local executives can provide a better view of the manufacturing industry than Nelson Jacboson, whose Grand Haven-based JSJ Corp. is entering its 101st year in business and features a portfolio of companies with an international presence. Jacobson said the pandemic gave rise to a host of complexities in the supply chain as well as worker retention. Those challenges are likely to continue into next year, along with uncertainty about how the business community approaches mandatory COVID-19 vaccines.

Other than a brief period in the spring when these businesses were shut down completely, many West Michigan automotive dealerships have managed to move vehicles at an impressive clip throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With 30 stores and 77 franchises throughout three different states, Kalamazoo-based Zeigler Auto Group is on the front lines of automotive retail. The company also operates Zeigler Motorsports, which belongs to another segment that is booming during the pandemic. MiBiz caught up with Zeigler Auto Group President Aaron Zeigler to see if he expects this rally to continue into 2021.

GRAND RAPIDS — A cyberattack that stalled global operations for two weeks did not lend any favors for Steelcase Inc., which continues to see sluggish revenue stemming from rough market conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

ZEELAND — Retail orders helped anchor Herman Miller Inc. amid declining sales, the international furniture manufacturer reported Wednesday in its second quarter fiscal 2021 earnings.

GRAND RAPIDS — Worldwide wood products supplier UFP Industries Inc. plans to expand its industrial packaging capabilities through the upcoming acquisition of Florida-based pallet manufacturer PalletOne Inc.

GRAND RAPIDS — West Michigan’s economy sits well positioned heading into 2021 to continue recovering jobs lost from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts said this week.

As details on a recent cybersecurity attack against Grand Rapids-based office furniture giant Steelcase Inc. begin to surface, local manufacturers of all industries and sizes may want to take notice.

ANN ARBOR — The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) announced on Friday that it has postponed its signature event and is rescheduling for 2022.

GRAND RAPIDS — Total Fire Protection Inc., a family-owned business that has specialized primarily in fire sprinkler and extinguisher services, has launched a new division to expand its capabilities.

GRAND RAPIDS — New York City-based private equity firm ASGARD Partners & Co. has acquired a controlling interest in Angstrom Technology, a Grand Rapids company that designs, builds and maintains modular cleanrooms for clients in North America.

GREENVILLE — Machining and fabrication service provider FabX Industries Inc. has acquired an Indiana-based business that specializes in designing and manufacturing automation, assembly and test systems primarily for the automotive industry.

ALBION — Caster Concepts Inc., which designs and builds industrial casters and wheels for a variety of industries, has completed the acquisition of a Southern California company that expands it into the aerospace and defense contracting industries.

BATTLE CREEK — When Ken Sunden gets the itch to solve a problem, it’s nearly impossible for him to avoid scratching it. 

Talent gaps and workforce shortages are two issues that have dogged the manufacturing industry for years, pushing Michigan companies and their supporting organizations to develop a more robust talent pipeline in Michigan.

HOLLAND — Major Brands Oil Co. of Holland announced today that it has completed the acquisition of a Roseville-based distributor that specializes in industrial and commercial lubricants throughout Southeast Michigan and parts of Ohio.

GRAND RAPIDS — An active stretch of acquisitions for Grand Rapids-based wood products manufacturer UFP Industries Inc. continued this week as the company announced it has acquired three new businesses.

GRAND RAPIDS — A recent cyberattack caused global operations for office furniture manufacturer Steelcase Inc. to shut down for two weeks, according to new information the company submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Paramount Tool Co. Inc. in Holland has been in business since 1967, giving its team a front-row seat to the automation industry’s evolution over the last five decades.

GRAND RAPIDS — Wood products supplier UFP Industries Inc. has established a foothold in Europe with a recent deal.

Building products dealer and manufacturer Zeeland Lumber & Supply Co. has been acquired by one of the largest specialty building product distributors in the country.

Grand Rapids-based private equity firm Auxo Investment Partners continued its investment in cutting die manufacturers with a recent acquisition.

ALBION — Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged some segments of the manufacturing industry, Velocity Manufacturing LLC has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

After postponing and rescheduling this year’s show, organizers for popular commercial design trade show NeoCon have once again set new dates for the next installment.

New mandatory cybersecurity standards are poised to profoundly impact the over 300,000 manufacturers across the United States, including in West Michigan, that make up the country’s defense industrial base (DIB) supply chain.

Jeff Helminski’s private equity firm has an internal goal of sourcing 20 qualified deals each week.

Grand Rapids-based UFP Industries Inc. has released its best quarterly earnings report in the company’s 65-year history.

GRAND RAPIDS — A family-owned Grand Rapids manufacturer with 60 years of experience in polystyrene patterns and prototypes is changing ownership.

WALKER — Automotive parts manufacturer Viking Products Inc. is eyeing a larger headquarters in Walker with the planned construction of a 132,600-square-foot facility to accommodate the company’s recent growth. 

WALKER — Krieger Craftsmen Inc., a manufacturer of plastic injection molds for the automotive, medical, appliance and consumer products industries, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

MUSKEGON TWP. — Multinational chemical producer BASF announced this week that it’s closing its herbicide production facility in Muskegon Township by 2022.

As executive director of the Manufacturing Growth Alliance, Jennifer Deamud helps connect small and medium-size manufacturers across Michigan with necessary resources to conquer challenges in the marketplace.

ALTO — A key aspect of Industry 4.0 technology is finding a way to automate processes that are repetitive, dull, dirty or even dangerous.

Even at the age of 25, Andrew Nikolopoulos has 10 years of experience in the growing space. The journey started in a high school program, where he worked at a greenhouse building irrigation systems and then transitioned to stints for irrigation and construction companies. At the age of 21, he brought all of those skills together to grow cannabis, creating his own caregiver grow operation. He is now the grower and part owner for Summer House, a planned 1,500-plant cannabis grow and processing facility that will start its build out this fall in Muskegon Heights. He talked to MiBiz about how Industry 4.0 concepts and advanced technology have transformed growing.

A Grand Rapids-area manufacturer of air distribution products for both residential and commercial HVAC clients has changed ownership.

MARNE — Citing common values, philosophies and capabilities, DeWys Manufacturing Inc. of Marne announced that it has acquired Grand Haven-based metal fabricator ReFab LLC.

West Michigan’s industrial economic recovery remained on track through September, though some industries are clearly doing better than others, according to a new monthly activity index.