Jessica Young

Jessica Young

Staff Writer, covers manufacturing and agribusiness 
Twitter: @JessAyYo 
 

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.

According to Nielsen data supplied by the United States Association of Cider Makers, the cider beverage category continues to expand, with off-premise sales up 9.4 percent in the third quarter of 2018 versus the prior year. Customers also are buying local: Regional cider sales are growing four times as fast as national cider brands.

C.N.C. Products LLC, a Southwest Michigan sheet metal fabricator, has been acquired by Indiana-based private equity firm Parker Holding Inc.

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.

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.

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