Category Archives: Manufacturing

Whirlpool Sales, Profits Up Slightly

BENTON HARBOR — Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE: WHR) reported first quarter net income of $153 million or $2.01 a share, up from $150 million or $1.92 a share in the first quarter of 2016.

Revenue was $4.79 billion, up from $4.62 billion a year earlier.

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State Support OK’d For Business Expansions, Flint Incubator

LANSING — The Michigan Strategic Fund has approved three grants to create a new business incubator in Flint and build new manufacturing plants in the Grand Rapids area and Port Huron.

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ABB Sells First Robot Manufactured In U.S.

AUBURN HILLS — The Zürich, Switzerland-based technology company  ABB has sold its first robot manufactured in the United States.

The IRB 2600 robot is the first to be produced at the ABB Auburn Hills plant, and was sold by ABB reseller CIM Systems Inc., based in Milan, Italy, to Hitachi Powdered Metals USA Inc. of Greensburg, Ind.

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Gentherm Profits Dip

NORTHVILLE — Gentherm Inc. (NASDAQ: THRM), the Northville-based manufacturer of thermal management products, reported net income of $26 million or 71 cents a share in the fourth quarter of 2016, down from $28.4 million or 78 cents a share a year earlier.

Revenue was $236.5 million for the quarter, up from $212.3 million a year earlier.

For the full year, net income was $76.6 million or $2.09 a share, down from $95.4 million or $2.62 a share in 2015. Revenue was $917.6 million, up from $856.4 million in 2015.

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Lansing Business Accelerator Seeking Applicants

LANSING — Lansing Proto, Michigan’s first and only physical product business accelerator program, is seeking applicants for the 2017 program.

Lansing Proto is a Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) initiative and subsidiary that supports physical product-based companies as they move from concept to market.

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Whirlpool Earnings Flat, ‘Ongoing’ Up

BENTON HARBOR — Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE: WHR) reported fourth quarter net income of $180 million or $2.36 a share, unchanged from $180 million or $2.28 a share a year earlier. (The per-share figures are different because of fewer shares outstanding this year.)

The company also reported “ongoing business earnings” of $4.33 a share, up from $4.10 a share a year earlier. This figure excludes restructuring expenses, acquisition-related costs, legacy product warranty and liability expenses, and the impacts of income tax.

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Gentex Revenue Rises

ZEELAND — Gentex Corp. (Nasdaq: GNTX), the Zeeland-based manufacturer of automotive automatic-dimming rearview mirrors, automotive electronics, dimmable aircraft windows, and fire protection products, reported revenue of $419.9 million in the fourth quarter, up 4 percent from $405.6 million in the final quarter of 2015.

Net income for the quarter was $88.8 million or 31 cents a share, up from $88.4 million or 30 cents a share a year earlier.

For the full year, revenue was $1.68 billion, up from $1.54 billion in 2015. Net income for the full year was $347.6 million or $1.19 a year, up from $318.5 million or $1.08 a share in 2015.

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Detroit Manufacturing, Hotel Projects Get State Aid

LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced new support for several Detroit-based projects lats week.

Adient, the world’s largest automotive seating supplier, will locate its operational headquarters in Detroit, while ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks Americas Corp., one of the leading steel producers in the world, will establish a new manufacturing center. Also, the historic 15-story mixed-use Metropolitan Building, vacant for 39 years, will undergo a renovation in downtown.

Collectively, the projects inject $215.3 million in private investment and create 265 jobs in the city of Detroit.

Earlier this year, Adient became a publically traded company when it spun off from Johnson Controls Inc. Since late October, the company has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In wooing Adient in a competition with the city of Milwaukee, which is home to Johnson Controls, the MEDC negotiated a $2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. In return, Adient committed to a $97.8 private investment and the creation of 115 jobs.

“We appreciate today’s decision and support from the MEDC and the State of Michigan to help Adient decide that Southeastern Michigan was the right place for our new global headquarters,” R. Bruce McDonald, chairman and CEO of Adient. “We will take these incentives into consideration as we make a final location decision in the next several days.  We look forward to a continued partnership as we expand our presence and bring new jobs to the area.”

Adient executives and city of Detroit officials will hold a press conference in the upcoming weeks to announce the location of their new operational headquarters.

With their move to Detroit, ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks – a subsidiary of one of the world’s leading steel and mining companies, ArcelorMittal – will produce high-strength steel laser welded blanks for the OEM automotive industry. The new manufacturing operation in a 317,000-square-foot building north of GM’s Hamtramck Assembly plant is the first plant in the state for the company.

ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks is located in the recently established industrial park near I-94 that includes Flex-N-Gate, a key site to the state’s automotive industry resurgence. With the support in May of a state grant, Flex-N-Gate will invest $95 million to manufacture exterior trim components along with aluminum and steel modular stamped body chassis assemblies, among other products.

ArcelorMittal receives a $2-million Michigan Business Development Program performance grant for a project that will create a minimum of 120 jobs over five years, and a capital investment of $83.5 million.

“The state’s consideration of a performance-based grant to support this endeavor is critical in advancing our business strategy as we further expand our footprint in Michigan, bringing new jobs and investment to the region,” said Ben Orler, vice president of operations for ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks.

The companies will benefit from proximity to Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT), a nonprofit supported by a $10-million grant from MEDC and founded by the University of Michigan, Ohio State University and DWI, an Ohio-based engineering and technology organization. LIFT conducts research to develop multi materials to be used in leading-edge manufacturing processes, including in defense, energy and transportation.

Meanwhile, the restoration of the historic, 98,000-square-foot Metropolitan Building introduces a mixed-use, extended-stay 110-room hotel, including retail space a several blocks from Comerica Park. The redevelopment of the hotel after being vacant since 1977 offers another timely symbol of the city’s economic and cultural resurgence.

The redevelopment of the neo-gothic hotel, which opened in 1925, is a collaboration between Detroit-based Means Group Inc. and Roxbury Group LLC, known as Metropolitan Hotel Partners. The project receives a $6.5-million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based loan as part of a total capital investment includes $34 million and the creation of 30 permanent full-time jobs.

“This is about more than brick and mortar,” said Eric Means, founder and CEO of the Means Group. “This breathes life into downtown Detroit and is strong evidence of the commitment the state has to preserving an important piece of history in urban America.”

The Roxbury Group received MSF incentives to support the renovation of the historic David Whitney Building, and the currently under construction Plaza Midtown and Griswold Lofts developments.

For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit

Holly steel firm gets $3.5M VC loan

Steel Producer Gets $3.5M VC loan

HOLLY — The venture fund Arctaris Michigan Partners LLC and affiliates announced a $3.5 million growth capital loan for Holly-based AFCO Manufacturing LLC, a manufacturer of adjustable steel columns.

This transaction represents one of seven current investments for AMP’s fund, which was created through a partnership between Arctaris Michigan Partners LLC, the State of Michigan and U.S. Treasury Department to provide growth capital to underserved and underbanked Michigan businesses.

With 49 years of operations, AFCO fabricates certified adjustable steel columns, lintel angles and temporary telescoping support columns for the home construction industry.

AFCO’s base of more than 100 customers consists of distributors of residential building products and large homebuilders, spanning from the East Coast to the Rocky Mountains.

The company has 17 employees and expects significant job growth to meet growing customer demands.

“Arctaris’ investment into AFCO demonstrates our confidence in the company’s leadership and our firm’s commitment to providing non-dilutive royalty financing solutions to companies operating in Michigan,” said Jonathan Tower, managing partner of AMP. “We seek to invest in additional opportunities like AFCO in Michigan with an eye toward growth, impact investment, and job creation.”

Arctaris Michigan Partners launched the Michigan Income and Principal-Protected Growth Fund LP to provide growth capital to underserved Michigan businesses. With capital from the U.S. Treasury Department, the State of Michigan, U.S. commercial banks, foundations and other private investors, the Fund provides loans to small- and mid-sized businesses seeking to expand their Michigan operations or move to the State.

Arctaris Michigan Partners, based in Detroit, is an affiliate of Boston-based Arctaris Royalty Partners LLC, a leader in economic development and impact investment for inner cities and underbanked communities throughout the U.S.

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