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Manufacturing : Innovation & Job News

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HIROTEC AMERICA plans to expand Auburn Hills facility, add 140 jobs

HIROTEC AMERICA is making a sizable bet on Metro Detroit, investing $26 million into an expansion of its Auburn Hills facility. It’s a move the automotive supplier expects will create 140 new jobs.

"We added 37 jobs in 2013," says Jim Toeniskoetter, president & COO of HIROTEC AMERICA. "So far this year we have added 22 jobs. We will continue to add jobs as we continue to expand."

HIROTEC AMERICA is the North American arm of HIROTEC Group. The global automotive supplier manufacturers everything from body-in-white closures to exhaust systems. It has operations in Auburn Hills, New Haven, and two facilities in Chesterfield Township. The company employs 285 people between all four facilities.

Its current facility in Auburn Hills measures out to 170,000 square feet, which includes 20,000 square feet of office space and 150,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Toeniskoetter points out his firm is expanding in Auburn Hills because of its longstanding relationship with the city (it goes back to 1992), its central location in the region with easy access to I-75 and M-59, and close proximity to its existing employee base.

The first step in HIROTEC AMERICA's expansion plans in Auburn Hills included the purchase of 20 acres of land in the Oakland Technology Industrial Park earlier this month. It plans to construct a new building with 42,000 square feet of office space and 174,000 square feet of manufacturing space. The facility will also have room to expand its operations by another 125,000 square feet in the future.

"They will start moving dirt in August when we get our building permits," Toeniskoetter says.

HIROTEC AMERICA plans to keep its current facility when the new one is finished. It will have close to 400,000 square feet of commercial space when the project is completed in August of 2015. The 140 new hires are expected to take place over the next 2-3 years and will be on top of the current workforce of 285 people.

Source: Jim Toeniskoetter, president & COO of HIROTEC AMERICA
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

ACS opens office in Troy to leverage growing auto sector

The three letters that announce ACS imay not be well known in Metro Detroit but the company hopes to become increasingly visible over the next year or two.

The testing company opened a new office in Troy, ACS Michigan, to attract more clientele from the automotive industry. The two-person office has already landed some work with Tier 1 automotive suppliers and is looking to expand on that.

ACS services the engine- and vehicle-testing markets, making its mark in the heavy industrial and diesel markets. It specializes in the design, construction management, integration, and commissioning of development and production test facilities for engine, vehicle manufacturers. Some of its primary customers are Caterpillar, Cummins, John Deere, and MTU America.

"That space has given us enough space for some significant growth," says Chris Arnold, managing director of ACS Michigan.

ACS Michigan hopes to replicate that success with the automotive industry. It is currently doing work with the likes of Daimler, MAHLE and Umicore.

"We want to take the same delivery methods we used for diesel and use it with automotive," Arnold says.

Source: Chris Arnold, managing director of ACS Michigan
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Tebis America hires in Troy, moves to smaller office

Tebis America did something most growing companies don't do. It moved to a smaller office.

The North American arm of German-based Tebis specializes in providing 3D CAD/CAM software systems for manufacturers the automotive and aerospace industries. Its software organizes CAD/CAM process chains for manufacturers.

The 30-year-old parent company set up shop in Troy in 1995. Today it employs 15 people after hiring three new staffers over the last year. The new hires include a sales manager and technical staff. It's also looking to hire a new sales professional and someone in software support.

Despite this growth, Tebis America's thoughts its old home in Troy (which was attached to a light industrial building) was too large. A change in ownership there prompted it to scoot on over to 400 E Big Beaver, which is a bit smaller in square footage.

"The new location is just an office (with no adjacent industrial buildings)," says Gerardo Mueller, president of Tebis America. "It's a more attractive location on Big Beaver."

Source: Gerardo Mueller, president of Tebis America
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Plex scores $50M in private-equity funding

Plex finds itself $50 million richer this summer after landing big financing investments from T. Rowe Price and Accel Partners.

The Troy-based company makes cloud-based ERP software for manufacturers. Plex describes its software platform as built from the plant floor up, enabling users to increase productivity and profitability at existing facilities by streamlining the manufacturing process.

The 19-year-old tech company was acquired in 2012 by Francisco Partners, a private-equity firm based in Silicon Valley. Plex also received a $30 million investment in 2012 from Accel Partners, a venture capital firm also located in Silicon Valley. The new $50 million capital infusion is considered an equity investment.

Plex plans to use its new round of seed capital to grow the sales and marketing efforts of its software platform. It is also planning to put some of that money into research and development of new technology.

"We have been working on a new user-interface over the last year," says Katy Teer, a corporate communications manager for Plex.

Plex has a staff of close to 400 employees and 20 interns. It has hired 156 people since January of last year. It also has 27 openings for everything from sales to senior technical writers right now. More information on those jobs is here.

"We're in an aggressive hiring plan right now," Teer says, adding she was employee No. 220 when she started at Plex two years ago. The firm expects to cross the 400-employee threshold later this year. "We're a really fast-growing tech company here in Metro Detroit."

Source: Katy Teer, corporate communications manager for Plex
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Electronics manufacturer EDP Co. makes 3 hires in Livonia

Launching EDP Co. was an easy decision for Richard Bezerko. The electrical engineer has spent his career working in electronics. He also aspired to be his own boss, so when the opportunity to start his own electronics manufacturing company presented itself, "It was a natural thing for me to do," Bezerko says.

That was 32 years ago. Today the Livonia-based business employs 17 people after making three replacement hires over the last year. It has also landed a handful of new customers in that time. Those new customers include companies in the after-market electronics and medical technologies industries.

Most of the new work for EDP Co. has come from traditional sources, like word-of-mouth referrals, and newer ones, like search engine hits on the company’s website. Bezerko expects to add more customers over the next year.

"We're on a steady growth path," Bezerko says. "We're not trying to grow too fast."

Source: Richard Bezerko, president of EDP Co
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Eberspaecher Exhaust Technology adding 100 jobs in Brighton

Eberspaecher Exhaust Technology plans to hire hundreds of people in Metro Detroit, starting with a 100-person expansion of its Brighton facility.

"They're being hired right now," says Doug Swick, president of Eberspaecher Exhaust Technology. "We're well into the hiring phase."

The Novi-based company has filled a majority of those 100 new positions in Brighton. It has also hired 125 people at its Novi facility in the last two months. The global Tier 1 automotive manufacturer is sinking $122 million into expanding its Metro Detroit operations. The investment is expected to create 545 jobs over the next five years.

The company specializes in the development and manufacturing of exhaust systems. It is currently working to expand its Brighton operations, tripling the square footage to 110,000, as part of an expansion brokered by the Michigan Economic Development Corp and Ann Arbor SPARK.

"It will be a one-stop shop for commercial vehicle exhaust design," Swick says.

Eberspaecher Exhaust Technology is also evaluating potential locations for a new manufacturing facility in Michigan. Swick expects his firm to make that determination within the next 60-90 days.

"We are also looking at consolidating two facilities into one facility in Michigan," Swick says.

Source: Doug Swick, president of Eberspaecher Exhaust Technology
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Electro-Matic Products executes move to employee ownership

Many employees dream of owning a significant chunk of the company they work for. The workers at Electro-Matic Products recently made that dream come true.

The Farmington Hills-based manufacturing technology company executed a move to an employee stock ownership plan, also known as an ESOP, last fall. About 170 people and the occasional intern work there today.

"ESOP is a pretty good thing for all of the employees and the company itself," says David Scaglione, vice president of sales & marketing for Electro-Matic Products. "It gives a solid path forward for ownership in the future."

The 42-year-old firm has handled that transition pretty expertly so far. Its revenue jumped 10 percent last year, allowing it to hire about 10 people. It now has in excess of $100 million in sales, and expectations that such growth will continue for the foreseeable future.

For instance, Electro-Matic Products' connectivity group is expanding into the machine tooling industry. It's also moving into the energy sector by selling LED light retrofits to its customers.

"It (LED light sales) is just getting started," Scaglione says. "The adoption rate in the U.S. is just under 5 percent."

Source: David Scaglione, vice president of sales & marketing for Electro-Matic Products
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Dimensional Control Systems adds more staff, service offerings

Now that domestic manufacturing is on the rise, companies like Dimensional Control Systems are reaping some of the benefits, such as adding service offerings and staff.

The Troy-based quality assurance company has carved out its niche over 20 years helping manufacturers streamline their operations and introduce new technology that makes the building process leaner. The company now has a staff of 75 employees and two interns handling this work. It has hired three people over the last year, including two software developers and one sales professional.

"We like to hire people we know," says Ben Reese, marketing specialist for Dimensional Control Systems. "We hire a lot of people through referrals."

Dimensional Control Systems got its start in consulting for local manufacturers and eventually moved into the tech side of the business. Now it's expanding into more work in end-of-the-line manufacturing and managing big data for local auto suppliers.

"It's a whole new side of our business," Reese says.

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

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

Rose-A-Lee Technologies spins out of Elmhirst Industries

Rose-A-Lee Technologies isn't your normal spin-out of another firm.

The Sterling Heights-based firm was spun out of Elmhirst Industries last year because Rose-A-Lee Technologies' founder, Patty Lopez, is part of the family that runs Elmhirst Industries, an automotive-manufacturing firm that specializes in everything from design to laser cutting.

Lopez is an engineer and had ambitions of being her own boss when she started Rose-A-Lee Technologies. The company specializes in engineering services and prototype manufacturing, primarily in the automotive and defense sectors. Lopez has built the firm’s staff up to three people as it gained traction.

"Over the last month or so we have been having steady work orders come in," Lopez says. "That's exciting because our customers are passing our information around."

Now that work is becoming a little more steady for Rose-A-Lee Technologies, Lopez would like to continue building on the engineering and prototyping services by diversifying the company's clientele. She would like to add more customers in not only automotive and defense, but also in the appliance and aerospace industries.

Source: Patty Lopez, president of Rose-A-Lee Technologies
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

EcoMotors acquires Katech, plans to add personnel

EcoMotors has acquired engine-manufacturer Katech, a move that will help the Allen Park-based startup accelerate development of its green-engine technology.

Katech, which calls Clinton Township home, has made a name for itself over its 35 years for pushing the envelope when it comes to developing the latest in engine and powertrain technology.

“The company has a great reputation,” says Tony Mannarino, the new CEO of Katech. “There are some really skilled people here.”

EcoMotors launched in 2008 with the idea of reinventing the internal combustible engine to be more energy efficient and cleaner. It's developing an opposed-piston, opposed-cylinder engine that is smaller and lighter than conventional engines. It also has about half of the components of traditional engines. EcoMotors is a venture-backed startup with investment from Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates and Braemar Energy Ventures.

The acquisition of Katech will allow for EcoMotors to research, test and build its engine technology. Katech will also keep doing business with its existing clients and flesh out its operations. Katech employs 18 people and is looking to add interns. It expects to hire another five people this year.

“We expect to add another shift to operate at capacity,” Mannarino says.

Source: Tony Mannarino, CEO of Katech
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Trent Design grows staff thanks to manufacturing website work

There is no denying that Trent Design is a new economy company. The marketing firm specializes in design, specifically website design. So it’s a little amusing that the biggest driver of its recent growth is an old economy sector, manufacturing.

Trent Design has handled the website designs/redesigns of a number of big-name manufacturers over the last year, including Brasco International. Trent Design is currently working on new websites for Pennsylvania Steel and Jac Products. The trend started when Eaton Steel first reached out to Trent Design to redesign its website a couple of years ago. That led to a number of Eaton Steel's sister firms and manufacturers it works with following suit.

"We have done several manufacturing sites, which has helped us get even more manufacturing website work," says Marilyn Trent, principal of Trent Design. "I feel manufacturing can use our help."

That has allowed the Rochester-based company to hire a new brand strategist over the last year. It now employs five full-time employees, three part-timers and the occasional intern. Many of these employees have stayed with the firm for many years after they hired in. "When I hire them, they stay with me," Trent says.

Trent Design also opened an office in Detroit's Midtown neighborhood a couple of years ago. Trent thinks she could add another person or two to her staff in the next year but still wants to keep her company small.

"I want to keep a boutique-size agency that does great work and provides great customer service," Trent says.

Source: Marilyn Trent, principal of Trent Design
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Loc Performance Products grows through diversification

The more industries it looks to enter into, Loc Performance Products is finding more work.

The Plymouth-based firm has built up its business with defense contracts since its start in 1971, manufacturing large CNC machined components and assemblies for military and industrial applications. The cutbacks in defense spending in recent years have forced Loc Performance Products to find more business in new places.

"We're building up our business with more commercial projects," says Wayne Dula, director of business development for Loc Performance Products. "We have a lot of new business in the mining and rail industries. We also have new business with hybrid municipal bus systems."

The work in those industries has allowed Loc Performance Products to maintain its size, hiring five people over the last year. It now has a staff of 185 employees and the occasional intern.

Dula points out it took a lot of work to branch out. In 2009, military contracts made up 90 percent of Loc Performance Products' bottom line. This year it’s 50 percent. Next year it is expected to be 40 percent, but the company would like to keep military work a major part of its core business while continuing to grow its commercial prospects.

"We would like to double our revenue over the next six years," Dula says.

Source: Wayne Dula, director of business development for Loc Performance Products
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Amtech Electrocircuits launches Vapor Phase Reflow technology

Amtech Electrocircuits, a high-tech manufacturing services firm, is launching a new product earlier this year called Vapor Phase Reflow that it expects to help drive its sales for the rest of this year and next.

The Troy-based company is reintroducing reflow technology originally developed in the 1980s. Negative environmental impact shelved its commercialization until Amtech Electrocircuits tweaked its chemistry to make it more environmentally friendly.

Amtech Electrocircuits describes the basic concept behind its Vapor Phase Reflow like this: "A liquid is boiled. The vapor is heavier than air so it sits in a bath. The assemblies are brought into the bath and the vapor condenses onto the assembly, transferring heat to cooler parts. The transfer of heat stops when the part comes to temperature so lower mass parts do not overheat." The company also produced a short video describing the technology which can be seen here.

"We have been landing a lot of customers," says Dev Patel, vice president of Amtech Electrocircuits. "We have been making a big marketing push."

That has allowed the 18-year-old company to expand its staff with three new hires. It now employs 25 people. Patel expects that number to grow over the next year as the firm continues to gain traction with its Vapor Phase Reflow and other 3-D optimal inspection products.

Source: Dev Patel, vice president of Amtech Electrocircuits
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Frog AGV Systems opens manufacturing facility

Frog AGV Systems has moved its offices from Auburn Hills to a new facility in Macomb Township that should allow it diversify its service offerings and set the stage for future growth.

"We can not only do sales and services but manufacturing of automated guided vehicles," says David Noble, vice president of business development for Frog AGV Systems.

The 30-year-old company describes itself as a "global material handling company that develops, implements and markets Automated Guided Vehicle Systems (AGVs), navigation hardware, and software" used in manufacturing and warehousing industries. In short, it specializes in self-driving forklift technology, similar to Google’s self-driving car.

It previously specialized in sales and service at its former location. The move to Macomb Township in April provided the company with a manufacturing facility that it hopes to attract more customers over the next year.

"If we can do the engineering and manufacturing ourselves we don’t have to outsource it," Noble says. "It allows us more flexibility in what we can do."

Frog AGV Systems has hired three people over the last year, including a project engineer, a software engineer and an executive. The company now employs 80 people globally with a dozen of those employees being based in Detroit. Noble expects its Metro Detroit staff to grow over the next year as the new manufacturing facility opens up more opportunities to do more business.

"The move will allow us to secure more projects," Noble says.

Source: David Noble, vice president of business development for Frog AGV Systems
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Tech firm Godlan continues growth streak in Clinton Township

Getting through the recession was a tall order for a number of manufacturers and the companies that service them. But many of those that survived have enjoyed significant growth since 2009.

Godlan is one of those companies.

"The companies that survived and emerged figured out they had to do more with less," says Ed Lanko, president & owner of Godlan.

The Clinton Township-based tech firm sells Infor's Product Configuration Management software, which helps manufacturers streamline the production and sales of their products. It also provides consulting services to manage that software. Its client roster consists of about 250 manufacturers from a variety of industries, such as aerospace, metal fabrication and automotive, among others.

Godlan has enjoyed double-digit gains each year since the end of the recession while responding to the demands of its industry. That has allowed Godlan to increase its staff to 35 people after making seven hires over the last year. It's a growth streak Lanko expects to continue well into next year.

"We are forecasting 20-percent growth year over year in our core business," Lanko says. "That translates roughly to personnel as well."

Source: Ed Lanko, president & owner of Godlan
Writer: Jon Zemke

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