Manufacturing

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After acquiring Nuvar Inc. in May from its long-time owner, Amy Sparks is executing on growth plans for the Holland-based manufacturer and developer of finished goods primarily for the contract furniture industry. While she’s mindful of some softening in the broader market, Sparks remains “cautiously optimistic” for the economy in 2019. 

The 2019 forecast for the automotive industry remains steady, although sales are expected to experience “a little bit of a step down” to 16.8 million units compared to an expected 17.1 million units this year, according to Mike Wall, director of automotive analysis at IHS Markit. The big cloud over the industry currently hinges on tariffs and trade deals, specifically the United States Mexico Canada Agreement. Wall expects the USMCA to get enacted in some form, even though he does expect to see “some adjustments on the margins.”

Contract furniture manufacturer Herman Miller Inc. today reported strong quarterly sales and earnings gains.

A Northern Michigan Tier 1 supplier of engineered plastic assemblies has been acquired by a private equity firm.

Steelcase Inc. posted strong, double-digit gains in sales and earnings for its most recent quarter.

Spartan Motors Inc. has acquired a Florida-based company that helps outfit vehicles with lighting, accessories and communications equipment.

KENTWOOD — Charter Industries Extrusions LLC, a supplier of carpentry components for the furniture and casegoods industries, has been acquired by a Pittsburgh, Pa.-based private equity firm.

Grand Rapids Community College will receive $100,000 from heavy metal band Metallica to support new programming, the school announced today.

GRAND HAVEN — By investing in three new injection molding machines in 2018, Anderson Technologies Inc. is betting that Industry 4.0 technologies will counter the effects of a shrinking workforce locally and nationally. 

MANISTEE — A Northern Michigan-based manufacturer of electronics and electrical assemblies has been acquired by a portfolio company of New Water Capital Partners LP of Boca Raton, Fla. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Steve Weber’s purchase of Performance Die Cutting and Finishing LLC proves it’s hard to stifle the will of an entrepreneur to be his own boss. 

Global direct-selling giant Amway Corp. has eliminated 45 management-level positions across various areas of the company including HR, supply chain, legal, IT, strategic planning, and finance.

With 2018 shaping up as slower than expected for the automotive supply chain, West Michigan-based tool and die makers are embracing diversification to counter the cyclical industry.

GRAND RAPIDS — For its first acquisition, Northville-based Orchard Creek Capital LLC targeted an investment in an established, family-owned manufacturing company.

HOLLAND — Johnson Controls International plc would exit its last remaining automotive industry manufacturing operations in West Michigan if it completes a transaction announced this week.

KALAMAZOO — Recycler Schupan & Sons Inc. plans to invest $10.1 million into expansions at a pair of locations in Southwest Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS — AUVESY GmbH, a German-based provider of data management software for industrial automation, plans to make West Michigan its home base for expansion into the U.S.

While many companies adopt automation to improve factory efficiency and equipment uptime, some West Michigan-based experts warn that improperly implemented technology can cost businesses in the long run.

WALKER — The federal government’s move to protect potential breaches in its supply chain is having an adverse effect for defense manufacturers in West Michigan and beyond.

ALLEGAN — Perrigo Co. plc’s new CEO promised to return the company to “its winning ways” following a dismal quarterly earnings report.

ZEELAND — Novo Building Products has acquired L.J. Smith Inc., a 133-year-old producer of parts for stairs that’s based in Bowerston, Ohio. 

Five Michigan-based businesses in the fire and safety equipment industry sold last month to St. Paul, Minn.-based Summit Companies.

GRAND RAPIDS — GNAP LLC, a distributor of abrasive products, equipment, specialty ceramics and ancillary services, completed a majority recapitalization with Dallas, Texas-based private equity firm CenterOak Partners LLC.

GRAND RAPIDS — Proos Manufacturing Inc. has come under new ownership.

NEWAYGO — A West Michigan Tier I automotive supplier is investing $45 million into a 175,000-square-foot facility expansion designed to improve workflow and efficiency. 

Manufacturers are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to build a pipeline of talent for the future. 

COOPERSVILLE — Manufacturers used to years-long product cycles have been hesitant to embrace the frenetic pace of change that comes with the adoption of cutting-edge technologies on their factory floors. 

Air compressor manufacturer Gast Manufacturing Inc. plans to invest $6 million into its existing facility in Berrien County.

A Grand Rapids-based automotive supplier has acquired Emergent Carbon Wheels, a Kansas City, Kan.-based manufacturer of carbon fiber composite wheels.

Automotive supplier Yanfeng Automotive Interiors has permanently laid off 55 West Michigan employees as it plans to relocate its North American headquarters to Novi.

Private equity firm Auxo Investment Partners has completed its fifth acquisition in 13 months with a deal for a Warren-based stamping manufacturer.

As supply chains adjust to new realities in international trade, West Michigan manufacturers are entering the final months of 2018 with “caution.”

A group of investors plans to open a commercial-scale malting and grain-processing facility about an hour east of Kalamazoo to serve the region’s growing craft beverage industry.

Direct-selling giant Amway Corp. has hired a new outside CEO.

Automotive supplier Spectrum Industries Inc. is relocating two West Michigan manufacturing operations to Kentucky.

A Milwaukee-based private equity firm has acquired Structural Concepts Corp., a manufacturer of refrigerated display cases in Muskegon County.

A Grand Rapids-based energy distribution company has added the Novi-based Harris Oil Corp. to its portfolio of businesses.

Perrigo Co. plc named a former tobacco company executive as president and CEO.

A Silicon Valley startup is relocating its operations to Kent County.

In response to increased demand, West Michigan Compounding LLC is investing $6 million into its existing facility in Montcalm County.

A West Michigan-based private equity-backed HVAC equipment manufacturer has been sold to privately-held Madison Industries of Chicago.

Stryker Corp. acquired Durham, N.C.-based HyperBranch Medical Technology Inc. for $220 million.

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