Manufacturing

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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.

Outdoor workspaces could be a solution to rising real estate costs and the next frontier of wellness in the workplace, experts say.

SHELBY — When Grand Haven-based JSJ Corp. decided last year to get out of the contract furniture business, Silver Street Inc. saw an opportunity to bolster its product offerings.

Despite slowing national economic growth, U.S. demand for office space continues to rise above forecasts. 

With new vehicle prices continuing to rise, a new report shows an abundance of lightly-used SUVs and trucks could push more shoppers into the pre-owned market in 2019.

Spartan Motors Inc. is expanding its manufacturing operations into the West Coast with the purchase of a Los Angeles-area commercial truck body maker.

MARNE – Metal fabricator DeWys Manufacturing Inc. will invest nearly $7 million over three years in a 30,000-square-foot expansion to its existing facility in Wright Township.

Nichols Paper & Supply Co. expanded its presence in northeastern Ohio with the acquisition of Cleveland-based DawnChem Inc., a supplier of janitorial and commercial cleaning supplies.

SOUTH HAVEN — HTS Direct LLC, the North American division of a family-owned hydraulic equipment supplier, has relocated its operations to South Haven from the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming.

It’s been 150 years since the “golden spike” joined the Central Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad and drastically increased the speed of transcontinental travel. 

Whirlpool Corp. has finalized the sale of its Vessi Fermentor brand to 80West Labs, a Chicago-based venture capital firm.

GRAND RAPIDS — Velocity USA Inc., a Grand Rapids-based bicycle parts manufacturer, uses a small, passionate staff to produce incredibly durable and performance-oriented equipment for the world’s toughest riders. Matt Ruiter, general manager of Velocity, has been working for the company since he started “just packing boxes” in the warehouse 14 years ago.

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 than 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.

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.

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.

WACO Classic Aircraft Corp. is expanding its headquarters and operations in Southwest Michigan.

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.