Manufacturing

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.

A Mid-Michigan metal heat treater has acquired Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Al-Fe Heat Treating Inc.

West Michigan’s growing food processing industry continues to develop, spurred on by the region’s strong agricultural supply chain, access to water and sufficient infrastructure capacity.

As the U.S. wades deeper into a trade war with countries including China, West Michigan-based office furniture manufacturers have been forced to raise prices and re-evaluate their supply chains to mitigate risks.

Amid exponential growth, LED manufacturer Smart Vision Lights LLC plans to invest more than $3 million into a new site in Norton Shores.

Cascade Engineering Inc. has tapped Christina Keller, daughter of founder and chair Fred Keller, to lead the family-owned plastic-injection molding manufacturer. 

A turbulent period full of major disruptions for the automotive industry has translated into business doubling for Conway MacKenzie Inc., a Birmingham, Mich.-based turnaround firm.

As the new owner of Blough Inc., Sean Larkin plans to maintain the company’s roots as a metal finisher in the middle of “farming country.”  

A Haworth Inc. policy to avoid sending waste to landfills has put the company in a bind as the recycling industry struggles to react to a glut of materials flooding the market.

JENISON — The changing automotive industry is forcing West Michigan manufacturer Dienetics to adjust how it does business.

ACME — As automakers race to incorporate more technology in their vehicles, automotive industry suppliers are starting to rethink their operations in West Michigan and beyond.

ACME — Amid a period of technological upheaval in the automotive industry, West Michigan-based supplier Mann + Hummel USA Inc. is reducing project costs and saving time by partnering, collaborating or aligning with larger OEMs.

So far this year, West Michigan-based automotive suppliers have endured the fallout from supply chain disruptions, wrestled with rising costs related to steel and aluminum tariffs and struggled to fill open positions at their factories.

ACME — After an extended period of growth, vehicle sales have started to cool at a time when industry-wide uncertainty is hampering manufacturers’ optimism.

ACME — In his role as president of Shape Corp., Mark White often deals with disruptions in navigating the Grand Haven-based Tier 1 automotive supplier through uncertain business conditions.

Before Landscape Forms Inc. acquired Kornegay Design last year, the Kalamazoo-based designer and manufacturer of site furniture, accessories and lighting mulled several acquisition targets that shared its design culture and core beliefs.

KENTWOOD — For months, Advance Packaging Corp. has been trying to fill nearly two dozen openings at its facility in Kentwood.

New tariffs and an escalating global trade war in recent weeks have stoked fears that global manufacturers will move production outside of the United States to protect their margins. 

By making a significant investment in cybersecurity, West Michigan manufacturers can avoid having their sensitive information getting into the wrong hands. 

WALKER — Citing increased demand from its automotive customer base, Betz Industries Inc. wants to expand its manufacturing capabilities at its sprawling West Michigan campus.

Automotive supplier Benteler Automotive Corp. faces a grim reality: Two-thirds of the company’s maintenance technicians will “retire out” of the workforce over the next few years.

WALKER — Since relocating its headquarters to West Michigan in 2015, Plasan North America Inc. has moved closer to its customers, added hundreds of jobs and expanded its facilities.

 CHICAGO — These days, furniture purchasers likely are interacting with a product virtually before they ever see it in a showroom or store.

Whether via acquisition or partnership agreements, West Michigan’s office furniture makers are looking to fill product holes with their recent spate of deals.

Inside Chicago’s Merchandise Mart at NeoCon earlier this month, office furniture manufacturers displayed new products that both showcased and contradicted the renewed shift to more private office spaces.

Two perfectly logical people can share an experience and still come to two entirely different conclusions.

Page 2 of 8