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ROCKFORD — Getting West Michigan manufacturers to embrace cutting-edge technology can be “a tough nut to crack.”
For West Michigan manufacturers who are struggling both to find workers and to keep up with order volumes, the recent federal tax reform offers some welcome news.
Spurred on by tax reform, a need for innovation and the current talent shortage, manufacturers increasingly have embraced automation on their shop floors.
Michigan’s role in improving manufacturing efficiency has come a long way since the invention of the assembly line.
HOLLAND — When outdated machinery forced Genzink Steel Supply and Welding Co. to delay customer orders and send products to other companies, President Brock Mahler knew it was time to invest in new equipment.
Joe Dyer wants manufacturers to know that automation isn’t an end goal but a means to drive greater productivity, profitability and efficiency in the workplace.
By using a wireless lighting control system to receive data and information from its operations, office furniture manufacturer Steelcase Inc. is improving its overall energy performance on its factory floors.
CALEDONIA — A Hastings-based manufacturer of fire suppression equipment needed a new home that would allow its business to expand and meet the demands for its growing line of sprinklers.
GRAND RAPIDS — Many West Michigan mold manufacturers are looking to get ahead of the oncoming wave of employee retirements by hiring more employees this year.
As the manufacturing industry begins to get “its mojo back,” Miles Free thinks danger might lie ahead for the sector, especially if the federal government imposes tariffs on key raw materials.
GRAND RAPIDS — With the new AMP Lab @WMU that’s set to open this fall, Western Michigan University wants to leverage public- and private-sector partnerships to help local manufacturers innovate and access talent.
GRAND RAPIDS — With Cascade Die Casting Group Inc. purchasing up to a dozen new robots every year, the company has realized its investments can’t stop with just the equipment.
NORTON SHORES — One growing Lakeshore area manufacturer didn’t have to look far when it came time to find a new place to consolidate its operations.
DETROIT — The push to offer autonomous driving, innovate new mobility options and differentiate models with new technology has upended many parts of the automotive industry.
DETROIT — As two of the top three best-selling vehicles get a makeover this year, the 2018 North American International Auto Show once again seemed devoted to the ultimate American lifestyle automobile: the pickup truck.
BENTON HARBOR — Faced with declining sales and changing customer buying habits, Midwest Timer Service Inc. needed to make some changes to its business.
DETROIT — By offering diesel powertrains in their light-duty pickup trucks, the Detroit Three automakers are betting they can eke out even more sales in what’s been a red-hot market.
A growing number of automakers are adopting a new business model that could change how some customers get into the car market.
SPARTA — As automakers increasingly load their vehicles with new technology and complex infotainment systems, dealerships are fielding more questions from confused and often frustrated customers.
Robotics to the rescue: Office furniture makers increasingly adopt automation technology amid struggle to find talentWritten by Mitch Galloway
Office furniture manufacturers have been late adopters of automation, particularly inside their West Michigan-based factories.
WYOMING — As more municipal fire truck fleets exceed their life expectancies, that’s good news for one West Michigan-based manufacturer of heavy duty truck chassis and fire apparatuses.
WALKER — One West Michigan manufacturer has embraced a “Wild West” approach to running its shop floor.
More automotive suppliers these days are finding it’s easier to buy cutting-edge technology companies than to develop the complex systems on their own.
GRAND RAPIDS — Hourly workers at Micron Manufacturing Co. are making an average of 7 percent more in wages than they were a year ago.
GREENVILLE — The strategy for a Wisconsin-based milk processor that’s in talks to create a potential “dairy campus” in Greenville, Mich. is quite simple: Follow the milk.
Competitive forces: Despite projections for a record 2018, tool and die suppliers brace for a cyclical downturnWritten by Mitch Galloway
With 177 new vehicle launches expected by 2020, tooling suppliers like Walker Tool & Die Inc. are bracing for another busy period in what’s been a string of good years for the industry.
GRAND RAPIDS — A deal to acquire a New Jersey firm positions Praxis Packaging Solutions Co. to expand on the East Coast and diversify from its stronghold with pharmaceutical customers.
Manufacturers in West Michigan have turned to automation in recent years to get jobs done quicker and cheaper, and their investments in the technology shows no signs of slowing down.
NORTON SHORES — Manufacturer Seabrook Plastics Inc. is leveraging its investment in technology to improve process repeatability and reduce non-value added cost.
While countless manufacturers throughout West Michigan have lamented the lack of available talent, evidence shows the workforce constraint has finally affected the industry’s ability to grow.
GALESBURG — One Southwest Michigan manufacturer of LED lighting plans to use lean manufacturing processes and internal technological expertise to beat out cheaper foreign competitors.
Alawsuit challenging Herman Miller Inc.’s 2014 acquisition of furniture retailer Design Within Reach heads to trial in a few weeks with additional allegations.
Breaking ‘paper handcuffs:' Manufacturers search for loopholes to avoid litigation from employee poachingWritten by John Wiegand
With availability of talent at a premium, many manufacturers are attempting to lure away key workers from their competitors.
HOLLAND TOWNSHIP — As automakers continue to seek out lightweight components for their vehicles, one West Michigan manufacturer is betting that its relatively new stamping technology will help fill that demand.
As farmers across the state struggle to turn a profit in an era of depressed commodity prices, one aspect of agribusiness — food processing — continues to grow in West Michigan.
SARANAC — One West Michigan producer of eggs plans to capitalize on the growing U.S. market for cage-free and organic products.
After a frenzied period of M&A activity for craft breweries, industry insiders and investors expect the pace of deals to moderate in the near future.
KALAMAZOO — After two years of looking for manufacturing companies to buy, Dave Kersjes and Steve Remstad found an opportunity in FlowTech Inc., a small producer of fluid and air filtration products.
GRAND RAPIDS — When Todd Maines took over his family’s wire-harness business in 2012, he entered the company after years of not being involved in the day-to-day operations.