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HISTORY MATTERS: Stafford family finds like-minded owners for Greenville Daily News, printing businessWritten by Joe Boomgaard
GREENVILLE — When the third-generation owners of what’s today known as Stafford Media Inc. decided to sell the publishing and commercial printing company that had been in their family for 68 years, they went to great lengths to vet potential buyers.
After more then six decades under the ownership of the Stafford family, the Greenville Daily News is selling to new owners.
Opus Packaging Group Inc., a West Michigan-based packaging company, plans to build a new plant in Whitestown, Ind., located about 22 miles northwest of Indianapolis.
‘SIGNIFICANT ASSET’: Amid slowdown in launches, new threats, West Michigan tooling industry braces for changeWritten by Jessica Young
The challenges confronting Michigan’s tool, die and mold makers are deeply rooted. The state hosts more than twice as many tool and die workers compared to any other state, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the undisputed leader of the industry, Michigan also suffers the greatest consequences of its uncertainty.
TIME OF REINVENTION: Tool & die shops prioritize savvy investment strategies to avoid getting over-extendedWritten by Jessica Young
While tool and die shop owners are hunkering down and tightening their belts in anticipation of a decrease in available work, some small- to mid-sized operations in West Michigan have already been forced to close their doors.
Barriers to entry for advanced manufacturing continue to come down as automation becomes a more viable option — even for job shops — through what’s becoming known as modular manufacturing. Vickers Engineering Inc., a Tier 1 and Tier 2 supplier based in New Troy, Mich., has become a breakthrough story in the automation industry, growing from approximately $10 million in revenue in 2010 to a projected $60 million in 2019.
At Southfield-based Harbour Results Inc., Laurie Harbour leads a company of analysts and consultants who use data and experience to help small- to medium-sized manufacturers develop strategies to improve their operations, reduce risks and optimize business.
Perrigo Co. plc intends to use the proceeds from the sale of its animal health business to buy Ranir Global Holdings LLC, a Grand Rapids-based maker of oral care products.
Perrigo Co. plc plans to see off its animal health business for $185 million in cash to PetIQ LLC, an Eagle, Idaho-based pet health and wellness company.
Forman Glass LLC, a Comstock Charter Township-based glass and glazing company, is relocating production of its window and entrance frames from Ft. Wayne, Ind. to Southwest Michigan.
Renishaw Metrology Fixturing Solutions LLC of Grand Haven plans to expand in a move north into a new 52,000-square-foot facility in Norton Shores.
C.N.C. Products LLC, a Southwest Michigan sheet metal fabricator, has been acquired by Indiana-based private equity firm Parker Holding Inc.
Ensign Equipment Inc., a bulk-material handling and storage systems producer based in Holland, Mich., has been acquired by Muskegon-based Excalibur Co. LLC.
Global direct-selling giant Amway Corp. has started another round of cuts to its workforce, the company confirmed to MiBiz.
GRAND RAPIDS — Craft beer enthusiasts are a spirited bunch who want to discover and follow breweries and brands. This has created an environment of constant sampling at the hundreds of tasting rooms and beer festivals across the country — and a big haul for brewers who are regularly on the road.
Japanese conglomerate Hitachi Ltd. plans to acquire Holland-based JR Automation Technologies LLC in a $1.42 billion deal.
KALAMAZOO — Stryker Corp. grew sales 8.5 percent during the first quarter, although net income declined.
ATLAS Space Operations Inc., a satellite communications service based in Traverse City, has been awarded a prototyping project with the U.S. Air Force’s Missile Systems Center and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Innovation Unit (DIU).
Miniature Custom Manufacturing LLC, a high-volume injection molding manufacturer, is expanding its plant in the township of Vicksburg, 15 miles south of Kalamazoo.
Two Ottawa County manufacturers announced major growth projects this week that are expected to generate $25 million in private investment and create more than new 140 jobs.
The boundary between the physical and virtual worlds is blurring as augmented reality gains momentum for uses across a broad range of industries In industrial automation, the implementation of AR could take place sooner than many people might imagine, according to Joe Dyer, team lead for manufacturing technical service at Disher Corp., a Zeeland-based engineering, product and development firm.
Late last year, in a steel and concrete building adjacent to the railroad tracks in Zeeland, a handful of enthusiastic engineers foraged their office for anything that might have interesting data hidden inside. The computed tomography (CT or CAT) technology they were using for the first time has been commonplace for decades in hospitals around the globe, where it is applied to produce cross-sectional images of the body, but it’s also something the manufacturing industry has been “begging for,” Jeff Mass, founder and CEO of Diverse Dimensions Inc., told MiBiz.
Robotics and additive manufacturing markets have entered into a new phase of growth, ripened by an era in which maintaining the status quo is no longer viable for manufacturers who struggle to secure quality labor. That’s because robotic systems are enabling manufacturers to deliver higher quality parts and maximize throughput, said Mark Ermatinger, vice president of sales at Zeeland-based Industrial Control Service Inc., who does not see the “rise” of robots stopping anytime soon.
While 3-D printing technology has been used for decades in prototyping and short-run production, new methods and materials could finally launch additive manufacturing into more widespread, higher-volume uses. The technology has long offered a playground for engineering department experimentation but never really advanced beyond specific niches, according to industry experts.
WALKER — Entrepreneur Steve Ehmann has experience riding the wave of business on the way up and knows what it’s like when that same wave comes crashing down. Right out of college, Ehmann started a windsurfing school and then a chain of surfing apparel retail stores along the coast of West Michigan. When the recession of the early 1990s hit, the retail industry “got too rough,” according to Ehmann, who closed the stores in 1992.
For nearly 90 years, workers in the rural community of Evart processed dairy products out of the Dean’s Dairy building. After shutting its doors and ending an era in 2013, the vacant building now has new owners who plan to repurpose it for automotive component manufacturing.
Taylor Tooling Group LLC, a Walker-based CNC machining company and tool and die maker, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
After 25 years representing manufacturers in Lansing through the Michigan Manufacturers Association, President and CEO Chuck Hadden is retiring at the end of 2019. He took over leadership of MMA at a nadir for manufacturers, when the fate of the auto industry and its supply chain was a big question mark looming over the state.
MUSKEGON — Shifting dynamics in the automotive industry convinced family-owned Hines Corp., an industrial holding company, to seek a buyer for its Michigan Spring & Stamping LLC operations. The decision came after Michigan Spring successfully launched a new production facility in China in September 2018 in response to demands from a key customer, said George “Bud” Hendrick III, executive vice president of corporate development at Hines Corp.
HUDSONVILLE — SoundOff Signal, a global supplier of LED vehicle lighting, control systems, and electronic warning products, prides itself on a quarter century of “smart design” and hometown service. The Hudsonville-based company started in 1992 with a single innovative solution to a uniquely dangerous problem. At the time, research indicated that motorcyclists were inadvertently leaving their turn signals on after completing a turn, resulting in motorist confusion and leading to serious accidents. SoundOff Signal designed a device that initiated a beeping sound once the turn signal was activated, reminding the cyclist to turn the signal off once a turn was complete.
Roll covering manufacturer Vail Rubber Works Inc. plans to invest $8.3 million for a new facility in Southwest Michigan after outgrowing its longtime space in downtown St. Joseph.
Die Tech Services Inc., a West Michigan-based manufacturer of dies and checking fixtures that also supplies contract labor to manufacturers, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Spartan Motors Inc. has expanded its dealership network in the southeastern U.S. for its Spartan Emergency Response business unit.
Holland-based Composite Builders LLC plans invest over $344,000 to more than double its manufacturing space.
Floor care product company Bissell Inc. plans to invest $10 million into an expansion project at its corporate headquarters.
Opus Packaging Group Inc. is continuing the expansion of its packaging facilities portfolio with the acquisition of a fourth company, Wabash Container Corp. of Illinois.
After three generations of family ownership, Grand Rapids-based Amstore Corp. will permanently cease manufacturing operations at its headquarters, MiBiz has learned.
Medbio LLC, a West Michigan-based manufacturer of injection moldings, assemblies and packaging for medical device and biotech industry, has acquired AIM Plastics Inc.
Private equity firm Auxo Investment Partners moved deeper into the marine transportation business with an investment in Muskegon-based Andrie Inc.