Manufacturing

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KALAMAZOO — The $6 million expansion of Rx Optical Laboratories Inc.’s corporate campus in Southwest Michigan will support further steady growth for the company.

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While optimism for the U.S. economy remains relatively high, many economists and industry watchers are forecasting a period of slow growth in West Michigan’s manufacturing sector. 

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GRAND RAPIDS — Over his storied career, John Berry has advocated for the benefits of incorporating design principles outside of traditional creative industries. Now, Berry is taking that vision one step further at Grand Valley State University with the new Design Thinking Academy, where he serves as director. The academy spun off from the university’s Design Thinking Initiative that launched in 2014.

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ALLEGAN — John Hendrickson says the decision to retire as CEO of Perrigo Co. plc was personal and his choice alone.

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COMSTOCK PARK — One West Michigan manufacturer of stamping dies hopes to leverage a self-funded automation business into its primary money maker in the years ahead. 

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ADA — A new chapter has opened in a two-decade-long legal saga over allegations of copyright infringement against the parent company of Amway Corp.

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In 2013, the discovery of a large deposit of high-quality potash in Michigan touched off a wave of public attention.

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NEWAYGO — One West Michigan entrepreneur hopes to use data science to make users of medical oxygen systems safer with a handful of new products.

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When Jim Hackett retired from the corner office at Steelcase Inc. in 2014, he told MiBiz the “narrative is still being written” about what he planned to do in the next phase of his professional life.

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When Siliconature Corp. examined potential sites in West Michigan for its North American headquarters, the company knew finding an existing building that fit its specific needs would be challenging.

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GRAND RAPIDS — One West Michigan electronics manufacturer plans to leverage a recent deal in Europe to further capitalize on the growing electronics manufacturing market.

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As a business consulting firm, O’Keefe & Associates Consulting LLC has increasingly seen a need to advise its clients on the best ways to invest in automation equipment. Tim Thompson, the firm’s managing director at its Grand Rapids office, spoke with MiBiz about how investing in automation equipment can affect an organization’s long-term investment strategies.

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The sector that provides the majority of tooling, fixtures and molds required to manufacture automotive components is facing a crisis.

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HOLLAND — Executives at Evoqua Water Technologies LLC expect a combination of aging municipal infrastructure and an increased focus on sustainable business practices to drive interest in its water treatment technologies.

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HASTINGS — A West Michigan ammunition equipment manufacturer wants an arms maker owned by the United Arab Emirates to pay up.

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After years of leading the market for its signature technology, Fleetwood Electronics realized it let its position slip away.

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GRAND RAPIDS — What started as a business serving a niche of natural food aficionados has moved into the mainstream.

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West Michigan-based contract furniture companies have muddled through the recent period of political uncertainty and mixed international demand.

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ZEELAND — A legal dispute challenging the validity of the 2014 merger between Herman Miller Inc. and Design Within Reach could head to trial in Delaware this November.

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WALKER — After several years of stagnating sales in its core business, one West Michigan company is diversifying into the packaging industry with a new expansion project.

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Upcoming cybersecurity regulations could catch manufacturers off guard and put at risk their ability to perform government contracts.

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ALBION — A dispute over several large-scale solar energy projects forced a Southwest Michigan solar equipment manufacturer into bankruptcy earlier this month.

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GRAND RAPIDS — While many companies decry the lack of available talent as a key challenge, one California-based manufacturer cited West Michigan’s workforce as the primary reason it’s moving into the region.

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Automakers have some more breathing room to weigh in on federal fuel economy regulations.

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Legislation proposed earlier this month in the U.S. Senate could provide a boost to Michigan’s nascent advanced wood products industry.

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Aerospace suppliers are turning bullish on military contracts ahead of what many see as a surge in defense spending, despite the sector taking a backseat in recent years to the commercial aircraft industry.

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The notion that a worker shortage is fueling the adoption of automation equipment discounts the role technology can play in helping companies compete. 

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As automation technology continues to advance, lawmakers and industry insiders are working to determine what role a new wave of robotic workers could play in the future social tax structure.

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Sentiment among automotive suppliers improved during the first part of 2017 as executives regained some degree of certainty following the results of the presidential election.

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Sometimes in business a small ultimatum can make a world of difference.

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HOLLAND — Backed by strong growth in the European market and synergies created through its residential business unit, Haworth Inc. closed 2016 with better sales growth than the company had in the prior year. 

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ADA — A softening market in China led sales to dip in 2016 for Amway Corp., a trend that’s dogged the global direct-selling giant since 2014.

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BATTLE CREEK — Following several years of product development and commercialization, Micro Laser Assisted Machining Technologies LLC ended its first year of sales and is gearing up for further growth now that its first year of sales is behind it.

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As the automotive industry pursues cutting-edge technological breakthroughs in autonomous driving and vehicle electrification, West Michigan suppliers must ensure they’re not left behind. 

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Despite entering a period of plateauing vehicle sales, West Michigan car dealers remain optimistic even as they wrestle with consolidation and the need to upgrade their facilities.

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Following through with campaign promises, the Trump administration has set its sights on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). 

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PLAINWELL — Jim Turley remembers the call he received late one September night in 2014 as a moment that “altered our life.” 

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MIDDLEVILLE — Backed by a new investment, Middleville Tool & Die Co. wants to ramp up its manufacturing capabilities that will pull it further away from its legacy business.

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The next two years are shaping up to be a busy time for tool and die makers in West Michigan and beyond.

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HOLLAND — While many producers of advanced electrical systems have their sights set on electric vehicles, one West Michigan manufacturer is pursuing a more underserved sector.

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A mix of economic optimism and the availability of capital should yield another strong year for acquisitions in 2017.

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KALAMAZOO — A major expansion by Stryker Corp. could provide a welcome shot in the arm for Southwest Michigan’s life sciences sector. 

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