Posted by: Miles Free 16. September 2014

Manufacturing in Northern Michigan Sees Strongest Growth in Years

Great news for manufacturing in Northern Michigan, according to KSP’s Kevin Schlueter.

Kevin Schlueter, president of PMPA member company Kalkaska Screw Products Inc.  (KSP), was featured on UpNorthLive, a news and information website covering Northern Michigan. Kalkaska Screw’s newsworthy subject: Manufacturing in Northern Michigan growing strongest in years.

“There’s a lot of great manufacturing that’s taking place in this area,” Kevin Schlueter, Kalkaska’s president and CEO, says. “Not just in the Kalkaska area, but in the greater Traverse City area, there’s some amazing manufacturing going on.”

We know there is some amazing manufacturing going on at KSP, where they ship more than 2.8 million high tech, high precision, often human safety critical parts (automotive brake, passenger restraint, and airbag parts, among others) each month. 

Kalkaska Screw Products has added almost 20 jobs this year and is looking to add ten more. An employee-owned (ESOP) company, currently KSP has 91 employees and is the top employer in Kalkaska County.

“To add that many jobs and to help out the community is something we’re really proud of,” Mr. Schlueter says. “We need more employees. We ship about 2.8 million parts per month, and so we need the right number of employees to get that work done.”

Yesterday, the ISM PMI report for August was released showing “the highest recorded New Orders Index since April 2004, when it registered 67.1 percent.”

Employment prospects for PMPA-member shops remain high, with 96 percent of responding companies expecting employment prospects to remain the same or increase throughout the next 3 months.

Thanks to Kalkaska Screw Products Inc. President Kevin Schlueter for helping get the word out that manufacturing is thriving and that we have great career opportunities in our shops for people “making things that make a difference.”

And thanks to UpNorthLive for the great story.


Originally posted on blog. 

Posted by: Steve Kline, Jr. 15. September 2014

Business Index’s Pace of Growth Accelerates

Steve Kline Jr.

With a reading of 53.4, the Gardner Business Index showed that the production machining industry expanded for the eighth month in a row. The rate of expansion was notably faster than July and was about the average for this year. Compared with 1 year ago, the index was up 19.2 percent. August was the ninth time in 11 months that the index has increased by more than 10 percent compared with 1 year ago. The annual rate of change has grown faster each month for 6 months. In August, the industry was growing at a 13.6 percent annual rate.

New orders grew for the ninth month in a row. The rate of growth in new orders increased sharply, but the overall trend this year has been one of slower growth in new orders. Production expanded for the tenth consecutive month. Throughout the year, the rate of growth in production has been relatively consistent. After contracting last month, backlogs grew at the second fastest rate this year in August. Compared with last August, the backlog index was up 47.5 percent. The trend in backlogs indicates significant increases in capacity utilization and capital equipment consumption in 2015. While employment continued to grow at a strong rate, the rate of growth has decelerated the last 2 months. Exports contracted at their fastest rate since November last year. Supplier deliveries continued to lengthen, and they have done so at a fairly consistent rate this year.

While material prices have increased at a slower rate the last 2 months, the overall trend since August last year has been for material prices to increase at a faster rate. Prices received have increased the last 4 months at the fastest and most sustained rate since the first quarter of 2012. Future business expectations have fallen sharply since June, but were still above this year’s low point.

Facilities with more than 100 employees continue to grow at a strong rate. However, their rate of growth has decelerated rather noticeably the last 2 months. Mid-size shops, those with 20-99 employees, expanded at a significantly faster rate than last month. In fact, the fastest growth in August occurred at shops with 50-99 employees. Shops with 19 employees or less have contracted for 3 months in a row, but the rate of contraction slowed in August.

Four of the five regions expanded in August. After contracting for 2 months, the Southeast grew at the fastest rate in August. It was followed by the North Central – East, North Central – West, and Northeast. The West region was the only one to contract. The contraction in the West region has accelerated the last 2 months.

Future capital spending plans for the next 12 months contracted for the second month in a row, and the rate of contraction accelerated in August. The annual rate of change has contracted at a slightly accelerated rate for 2 months.  


Posted by: Lori Beckman 12. September 2014

VIDEO: Manufacturing Trends at IMTS


This year's Advanced Manufacturing Center at IMTS (IMTS is currently underway at McCormick Place in Chicago) features five trends and technologies that are moving manufacturing forward: Additive Manufacturing, Automation, Automotive 2025, Top Shops Benchmarking Survey, and Data-Driven Manufacturing. To learn more, view this video that offers a wrap-up description of the five trends. Then, view more videos about the manufacturing trends here.

Posted by: Lori Beckman 11. September 2014

Marubeni Citizen Hosts Celebration at IMTS for 30 Years in U.S.

Beluga whales at Marubeni's IMTS celebration.

Marubeni Citizen commemorated its 30th anniversary in the U.S. with a formal, private celebration at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago last evening. Attendees, who consisted of executives, key former employees, dealers and customers, were treated to a viewing of beluga whales, dolphins, and cocktails on the terrace with the beautiful Chicago skyline as the backdrop. This was all followed by an elegant dinner in front of the huge, exotic fish tank. A diver wearing a Marubeni Citizen 30th anniversary t-shirt fed the fish in the tank. Dinner was followed by a cordials and dessert hour.

The reception entertainment was provided by a local trio who played hit music on their classical string instruments. Attendees were treated like family all evening, and upon departing the event, each person was presented a violin-shaped clock that plays 30 melodies and songs. 

As if this magnificent party at the Shedd wasn't enough, the company sent everyone home on a trolley that gave attendees a tour of the beautiful city at night.

The Chicago skyline from the Shedd Aquarium terrace.

Posted by: Chris Felix 10. September 2014

Advanced Manufacturing Center at IMTS 2014



Presented by Modern Machine Shop, within the booth of Production Machining’s parent company, Gardner Business Media, the Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) has returned to IMTS with a network of solutions for understanding and adopting five key trends that are moving manufacturing forward. Booth W-10, at the entrance to the West Hall, includes unique displays dedicated to additive manufacturing, automation, automotive 2025, data driven manufacturing, and machine shop automation.

Along with parts displays, daily live presentations, feature videos and special edition magazine issues aimed at delivering practical, applications-based views of each technology, the assortment of resource centers is presenting creative ways to leverage each advanced manufacturing concept.

The Additive Manufacturing resource center includes parts displays from Linear Mold & Engineering and RPM Innovations. On Tuesday, Greg Morris, GE Aviation’s Additive Technologies lead, gave a live presentation.

The Automation resource center is featuring the award-winning, collaborative Baxter robot as it looks at ways manufacturers are becoming more productive and efficient through the use of robotics.

The Automotive 2025 resource center is introducing concepts for achieving lighter, stronger vehicles. General Motors is displaying a Chevy Silverado body-in-white that highlights advancements in lightweighting and material composition.

The Data Driven Manufacturing resource center includes insights on ways contract shops are integrating data, analytics, mobile devices and wearable technology to improve all aspects of production.

The Machine Shop Optimization resource center is introducing this year’s Top Shops winners (awards presentation at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday) while it examines characteristics that define best-in-class machining.

If you’re at the show, stop by the AMC (Booth W-10) and enter to win a VIP day for two to any 2015 Verizon IndyCar race. All entrants will receive drinks at the AMC Solutions Networking Bar, where they can also pick up an “I Move Manufacturing” t-shirt.

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