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Manufacturing : Innovation & Job News

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OU INC-grad Advenovation adds 7 jobs

Advenovation is working to not only give vision to manufacturing robots, which is already a reality, but to make that vision more intuitive and similar to how humans see and interact with things.

Although the technology has taken off,  says Adil Shafi, president of Advenovation,  and "a lot of problems have been solved, there are a lot of problems with it that are left to solve." 

Technically, the 3-year-old start-up specializes in the design, integration and implementation of vision-guided robotic solutions. It recently graduated from the OU INC in Rochester Hills. It is now moving into a 5,000-square-foot facility in Rochester Hills so it can continue developing its technology.

While going through the OU INC, Advenovation expanded its customer base six-fold. GM Powertrain requested that the company write its global standards for the implementation of machine vision in 2011. It is also working on the Orion Spaceship's heat shield.

That has allowed Advenovation to grow its staff to 15 employees and three interns after hiring seven people in the last year. Shafi expects those staff numbers to continue to grow thanks to a projection of sales doubling or even tripling this year as the company's technology progresses.

"We continue to pioneer and innovate solutions," Shafi says.

Source: Adil Shafi, president of Advenovation
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Lee Industrial Contracting hires 80 people in last 2 years

Lee Industrial Contracting has one of those business models that defies the region's cyclical economy.

The Pontiac-based business specializes in providing turn-key solutions for industrial projects, such as moving machines or installing alternative energy systems. The firm's systems work to minimize downtime and miscommunication to streamline the process of completing the project.

So when a downsizing manufacturer needs to turn three facilities into one, Lee Industrial Contracting can make that happen. And when those same manufacturers need to expand and turn one facility into three, Lee Industrial Contracting makes that happen, too. That has meant big growth for the company over the last two years. Its revenue was up double digits two years ago and single digits last year while the company executed its "planned management growth strategy."

"We want to to continue to put processes in place that would allow us to operate the company in an efficient manner," says Ken LaBruyere, COO of Lee Industrial Contracting.

The 25-year-old business has hired 80 people over the last two years, including 25 in the last year. Of those new hires, 20 work in the field and the other five in administration for the company. It now employs 250 people and has a few interns in its IT department. The company regularly promotes its interns into full-time employees.

Source: Ken LaBruyere, COO of Lee Industrial Contracting
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Dimensional Control Systems expands software portfolio

Dimensional Control Systems released its latest version of software last year and is in the process of expanding the next version.

The Troy-based business provides quality software solutions for engineering tasks, like analysis, and quality management systems, mostly for manufacturers. It also offers consulting services. Dimensional Control Systems' principal products are 3DCS (an analysis tool) and QDM (a quality management system). The two tools can be interconnected to close the loop on an organization's ability to carry quality initiatives from design all the way through execution.

"We're looking for sales to pick up later this year," says Ben Reese, marketing specialist with Dimensional Control Systems.

The 19-year-old business is currently working on the sixth version of 3DCS (3DCS V6) and is Beta testing it. It hopes to release the new version later this year while it also works to further develop its QDM.

Dimensional Control Systems has hired seven people over the last year, upping its staff to 110 employees and two interns. "We're very excited to see this (software system sales) picking up," Reese says. "We are looking forward to this becoming a much bigger enterprise."

Source: Ben Reese, marketing specialist with Dimensional Control Systems
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

AppliedProgress focuses on brand building in Troy

Daniel Reilly isn't a stranger to running a business that implements Enterprise Resource Planning platforms, commonly known as ERP software.

The Metro Detroit serial entrepreneur sold his old ERP software company, Reilly & Associates, a few years ago and is making another foray into the business with his new company, AppliedProgress. This time, he is focusing more on branding to build his company.

The Troy-based company works with automotive suppliers and manufacturers to implement new ERP software systems. Reilly sees the key to building a successful business as not only doing a good job executing implementation of its product but making sure the customer has a comprehensive understanding of what's going on.

"There is a lot of education," Reilly says. "Companies only do this once every couple of decades. They don't know where to go to."

AppliedProgress currently employs three people. That small team has been focusing on building out its core product and creating a marketing plan for it. Reilly expects to launch that marketing plan later this year.

Source: Daniel Reilly, CEO of Applied Progress
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

American Hydrostatics triples Sterling Heights space

American Hydrostatics has moved to a bigger facility in Sterling Heights, allowing the automotive supplier to continue expanding its staff at an aggressive clip.

The 30-year-old business has hired seven people in the last year with most of the hires coming in the control engineering, electrical engineering and skilled trades areas. Its staff now sits at 20 people and the company expects to double its employee base this year thanks to its new home, which is three times as big as its previous home.

"We couldn't find a space as big as ours in Troy for the price we're paying in Sterling Heights," says Sri Bramadesam, principal of American Hydrostatics.

American Hydrostatics, a minority-owned firm, provides industrial automation, maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) distribution services, controls engineering, field service, maintenance, and engineering services. It recently landed a $1 million investment from Delta Asset Advisors.

American Hydrostatics plans to work with local community colleges and technical institutes to find the 20-25 hires it expects to make this year. Bramadesam sees this expansion as an opportunity to replenish the local manufacturing talent pool that was significantly drained in the most recent economic downturn that bankrupted a lot of automotive suppliers like his.

"We navigated through it," Bramadesam says. "We emerged much stronger."

Source: Sri Bramadesam, principal of American Hydrostatics
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

AIM Computer Solutions leverages new consulting work for growth

AIM Computer Solutions' bread and butter has always been its technology, but the Fraser-based business is seeing a significant amount of growth thanks to its expertise.

The 18-year-old business develops ERP software for small to medium-sized repetitive manufacturers. Think automotive suppliers and other manufacturers. Now AIM Computer Solutions is expanding its offerings with a growing caseload of consulting work for its customers.

"We're doing a lot of consulting work these days," says Jerry Czernel, vice president of operations for AIM Computer Solutions. "That's a significant growth area for us."

Consulting work is up 50 percent for the firm, which has hired one person over the last year, expanding its staff to 18 people. That consulting work helps manufacturers meet new mandates in logistics.

It is also helping those manufacturers expand on their core competencies. Many of the automotive manufacturers continue to diversify into other industries, including medical devices, aerospace and defense.

Source: Jerry Czernel, vice president of operations for AIM Computer Solutions
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Kors Engineering continues expansion with new hires

Kors Engineering is swimming against the conventional wisdom tide, working to make manufacturing a bigger part of the tech company.

The Waterford-based business specializes in systems integration and automation for manufacturers and other industrial facilities. It has spent the last year growing the manufacturing integration side of the business and setting the stage for the big revenue jump in 2013.

"We wouldn't be surprised if our number of customers doubled this year," says Tony Kaczmarek, president of Kors Engineering.

Kors Engineering now services customers in a wide range of manufacturing sectors, including metalforming, hide-processing, food packaging, chrome plating, forging and driveline systems production facilities. Today, a total of 43 plants leverage Kors' PleXML tool to integrate programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and other plant floor systems in order to automate processes and capture and share production data. More than 1,300 work centers are integrated through Kors’ PleXML tool, with 30 percent located outside of the United States.

Kors Engineering currently employs a dozen people and is looking to expand that staff soon. "We are definitely looking at hiring 1-2 people this year," Kaczmarek says.

Source: Tony Kaczmarek, president of Kors Engineering
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Accel Partners invests $30M in Plex Systems

Accel Partners, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, is investing $30 million into manufacturing software maker Plex Systems.

The Troy-based firm was acquired by Francisco Partners, also of Silicon Valley, last summer. Plex Systems plans to use the new investment capital to create more product features for its software, improve customer service and expand its sales capabilities.

"You name it, we have initiatives," says Mark Symonds, CEO of Plex Systems. "Growing at this rate things break and you rethink things from time to time."

The 17-year-old company creates Cloud ERP software Plex Online, which helps industrial companies improve and streamline the manufacturing process from product quality management to supply chain management. Plex Systems employs 280 people after hiring 90 in 2012. Symonds expects to keep growing at that rate for the next year.

"Manufacturing is one of the largest markets in the U.S.," Symonds says.

Source: Mark Symonds, CEO of Plex Systems
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

PALS INTERNATIONAL continues to grow in Troy after 30 years

Brenda Arbelaez has been in business for 30 years, running her language-services business PALS INTERNATIONAL. She sums up the secret to her business success in a few sentences.

"My passion for helping people," Arbelaez says. "It was never about the money. It's a beautiful thing to do."

Arbelaez, a native of Colombia, has molded PALS INTERNATIONAL into a language training, translation, live-and-telephone interpretation, foreign language voice-over, and cross-cultural education company. The Troy-based firm has serviced the Big 3 but now primarily helps automaker suppliers, both local and foreign, conduct business internationally.

PALS INTERNATIONAL has grown to a staff of 25 people after hiring a sales manager and translator in 2012. Arbelaez points out that her business is going strong despite the many recessions it has weathered during its time.

"Every four or five years we seem to have a recession," Arbelaez says. "We have survived all of them."

Source: Brenda Arbelaez, president & founder of PALS INTERNATIONAL
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Metro Detroit firms take top prizes at Accelerate Michigan

Metro Detroit start-ups ran away with the top prizes in this year's Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition earlier this month.

Plymouth-based Algal Scientific took home the grand prize of $500,000 in seed capital for its wastewater treatment system technology that uses algae to remove nutrients from contaminated water, leaving the raw materials for biofuel production. Livonia-based nanoMAG took home the $100,000 runner-up prize for its work developing a new type of Magnesium compound that can be used for biocompatible stents and implants.

Six people and an intern are now employed at nanoMAG, which moved from Ann Arbor to Livonia about a year ago to take advantage of a manufacturing facility. It expects to hire a few more people next year as it continues development of its technology. Steven LeBeau, president of nanoMAG, plans to use the cash and the win to leverage an even bigger seed capital round next year.

"We're using the contest as a PR tool to get in touch with people we have been in contact with over the last year for fundraising," LeBeau says. "We're hoping to leverage the $100,000 into seven figures."

Other Metro Detroit winners include:

- InfiChem Polymers, which won the $25,000 prize in the the Advanced Materials category.  The Sterling Heights-based start-up reuses a main chemical in polyurethane foam as a basic building block to manufacture new polyurethane foam. The old polyurethane foam comes from post-industrial scrap that is normally landfilled.
- BioSavita, which won the $25,000 price in the Life Sciences category. The Plymouth-based start-up is developing biotechnology focused on accelerating therapeutic antibody development.
- Coliant, which won the $25,000 prize in the Next Generation Manufacturing category. The Warren-based start-up's Powerlet brand is an electrical accessory in the powersport industry that allows users of things like motorcycles and ATVs to plug their gadgets into the vehicle.

Source: Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition and Steven LeBeau, president of nanoMAG
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Materialise hires 20 people in Plymouth

The U.S. arm of Materialise, a Belgian-based corporation, is on a hiring spree in Plymouth.

The industrial and medical additive manufacturer moved its office from Ann Arbor to Plymouth two years ago and has grown its presence there to 50 employees and the occasional intern. That's after Materialise hired 20 new people in the last year.

"We're growing all of our business units," says Jamie Milas, global marketing manager for Materialise. "We have four business units Plymouth. The fastest growth came from our medical production team."

The medical production team accounted for 17 of the company's 20 hires in Plymouth. The company also has six open positions for four full-time employees and two interns. The company is aiming to hit 70 employees in Plymouth over the next year.

"It looks like we will probably hit it," Milas says.

Source: Jamie Milas, global marketing manager for Materialise
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Miller Media adds 3 more staffers in Troy

The industrial sector appears to be the last frontier for media firms looking to spread the gospel about the Internet revolution, and Miller Media is carving out its niche doing just that.

The Troy-based media company got its start 30 some years ago as a print company. About 15 years ago it started to make the transition to the digital sphere and has evolved into a firm that helps businesses with search-engine optimization and how to use things like Google Adwords. The company has made most of its growth gains by educating older industrial companies about the latest trends in web technology.

"There is so much opportunity out there, especially in industrial," says Lisa Brusate, managing partner of Miller Media. "The fun part of my job is learning about these manufacturers and how their products are made. They're all so proud. There is so much passion because they built their companies from the ground up."

Growth from those sorts of companies allowed Miller Media to double in size each year over the last three years. It has hired three people since 2011, expanding its staff to 10 employees. It has also become a certified partner with Google.

Source: Lisa Brusate, managing partner of Miller Media
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

DEP & Autoline Industries USA invest $2.5M in new Troy HQ

Detroit Engineered Products and Autoline Industries USA are opening a new corporate world headquarters in Troy this week.

The two automotive suppliers, the U.S. arms of Indian corporations, are moving into a new office space that is three times as big as their previous home and comes with an investment price tag of $2.5 million. That's thanks to all of the growth the firms have experienced. Autoline Industries USA has hired 10 people over the last year and has two more job openings for engineers. Detroit Engineered Products has hired 70 people in Michigan over the last year.

"We have built our business (Autoline Industries USA) from $7 million to $60 million now," says Sri Bramadesam, president of Autoline Industries USA and vice president of Detroit Engineered Products.

Most of the work is automotive related and coming from the domestic automakers. The companies chose to stay and keep growing in Troy because they have set down significant roots here since they formed in 2007.

"We have been in Troy for years now," Bramadesam says. "A lot of our employees have bought homes here."

Source: Sri Bramadesam, president of Autoline Industries USA and vice president of Detroit Engineered Products
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Alpha USA adds 10 new engineers, techs in Livonia

Alpha USA got its start in 1957 as a manufacturer of washers. Not the kind of washers that clean things but the kind that help tighten bolts. The Livonia-based company made billions of washers for decades and did well.

About a decade ago, Alpha USA saw the shift of its bread-and-butter market to places outside of the U.S. and decided to change with the times. The company has evolved into an engineering firm that handles everything from design to product development to light manufacturing for a wide variety of customers. It holds a dozen patents, which it showcases to potential customers to drum up new businesses creating innovative products.

"It's a great business model," says Charles Dardas, president & COO of Alpha USA.

That has allowed Alpha USA, a veteran-owned company, to hire 10 people over the last year. Those new jobs are for engineering and technician positions. The company has taken advantage of the deep hiring pool in Metro Detroit, hiring a number of experienced workers that have helped fatten the company's bottom line.

"There were a lot of people who had quite a few years of something good to offer," Dardas says. "We saw that as  great opportunity."

Source: Charles Dardas, president & COO of Alpha USA
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Atlas Copco goes from 187 to 328 employees within four years

Atlas Copco Tools & Assembly Systems, the U.S. arm of a Swedish company, hit some significant speed bumps when the recession hit in 2008. Since then, the Auburn Hills-based company has continued to gain traction, going from 187 employees in 2009 to 328 employees and a few interns today.

Atlas Copco Tools & Assembly Systems is a supplier of hand-held electric and pneumatic tools, assembly systems and software. It also does work with heavy industrial vehicles. A steady increase in demand for those products have led the company to continue to hire in recent years to the point that it is looking at moving to a bigger facility to accommodate its growth.

"We want to continue our steady growth," says Domenic Calagna, marketing & communications specialist for Atlas Copco Tools & Assembly Systems. "We have a really good business plan."

Atlas Copco Tools & Assembly Systems was also recognized as the No. 84 firm in Forbes 2012 list of The World's Most Innovative Companies.

Source: Domenic Calagna, marketing & communications specialist for Atlas Copco Tools & Assembly Systems
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
153 Manufacturing Articles | Page: | Show All
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