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Manufacturing Readiness Grants continue securing investments in smart technology – Conexus Indiana

September 9th, 2021 — The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), in partnership with Conexus Indiana, announced the fourth round of awards totaling more than $2.8 million to 34 Indiana businesses in Manufacturing Readiness Grants to support a projected $17.4 million in technology-based capital investment in Indiana.

“Hoosier manufacturers are preparing now for the industries of tomorrow,” said Governor Eric J. Holcomb. “Through the Manufacturing Readiness Grants program, these forward-thinking companies are modernizing their operations to set themselves up for a successful future, creating high-skill, high-wage jobs for Hoosiers in all parts of the state and propelling the long-term growth of Indiana’s strong manufacturing sector.”

The Manufacturing Readiness Grants program was launched in 2020 to stimulate private sector investments to modernize Indiana’s manufacturing sector. Based on the program’s success, the Indiana General Assembly appropriated $20 million in additional funding to the two-year state budget that runs through June 30, 2023, to help position Hoosier operations for future growth and prosperity. Availability of the new funding on July 1, 2021, has enabled a total of 122 awards to date totaling nearly $9.7 million in grants to Hoosier companies in 50 counties, supporting technology-based capital investment projected to be more than $68.6 million.

The 34 grant recipients in this round include companies from 22 Indiana counties and cover a wide range of specialties, including aerospace and defense, automotive, custom electronics and medical devices.

“We continue to be impressed with the applications that demonstrate more and more Indiana manufacturers are embracing and implementing smart technologies to succeed in an increasingly tech-focused environment,” said Mitch Landess, vice president of innovation and digital transformation at Conexus Indiana. “As a partner with the IEDC on these grants, Conexus Indiana and its panel of Smart Manufacturing Fellows review all applications, and we are excited to see technologies such as digital twin, additive manufacturing, collaborative robotics, and IIoT being implemented and impacting both job and business growth.”

Recipients include:

  • Addman Engineering (Hamilton County; $150,000 grant award) is an additive manufacturing shop at the cutting edge of metal additive for aerospace, defense and other industries. The company will purchase a Velo3D Sapphire laser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing machine for production parts.
  • Amatrol (Clark County; $158,295 grant award), a company that designs, develops and manufactures technical training systems, is implementing an automated production system consisting of several advanced technologies that are integrated into its plant-wide systems, including autonomous mobile robots, IoT sensors, cloud analytics, mobile monitoring and digital thread elements.
  • Analytical Engineering Inc. (Bartholomew County; $100,000 grant award), a manufacturer of specialty equipment for engine, exhaust and vehicle development, including analyzers and custom prototypes, is investing in several pieces of hardware, software and custom integration to improve data acquisition and computing speed capability, along with multiple inter-related systems that comprise test cells and instrument manufacturing laboratories.
  • Armor Plastics LLC (Jefferson County; $75,000 grant award) is a manufacturer of products for integrated circuit manufacturers, touch panel producers, ITO coaters, transit authorities, display manufacturers, and flexible and printed electronics companies. The company is implementing a new manufacturing line to apply its proprietary hard coat for polycarbonate sheet.
  • Brake Supply Company (Vanderburgh County; $9,000 grant award) is a 74-year-old company operating one of the largest heavy equipment remanufacturing centers in the world. Its area of expertise primarily serves customers in the mining, heavy industrial, marine and construction industries. The company is applying this grant to purchase a piece of specialty instrumentation for instantaneous, non-destructive analysis and identification of carbon, stainless, low- and high-alloy steels.
  • Brownstown Quality Tool & Automation (Jackson County; $18,250 grant award) is a tooling job shop that supports manufacturing companies by producing small dies, jigs, gauges and specialty automated equipment. The company is investing in a 3D printer for additive manufacturing capability.
  • Bruce Fox Inc. (Floyd County; $45,000 grant award) has been in business for over 80 years producing high-quality accolades and recognition products for Fortune 500 companies. The privately owned company is upgrading its equipment into the 21st century with the purchase of new printing equipment, 3D scanners and a CNC matt cutter, which will allow the small company to grow in its market and be more competitive.
  • CHaSE Manufacturing LLC (Elkhart County; $50,000 grant award) is a manufacturer of decorative interior products such as cabinet doors, trim and moldings and doors for recreational vehicle (RV) manufacturers and manufactured housing. The company is investing in tech-enabled equipment, including 3D printing, computer vision, IoT and machine learning.
  • Cimtech Inc. (Floyd County; $50,000 grant award), a manufacturer to manufacturers, specializing in precision machined parts, fabrication, welding, tube bending and assembly for all types of industries, is investing in a new-to-market, vertical machining center with advanced technology features to expand the company’s capabilities from small precision machined parts up to medium-sized parts.
  • Diver’s Supply Co. Inc dba Ikelite Underwater Systems (Marion County; $50,000 grant award), an innovative, family-owned manufacturer in the niche market of advanced underwater photographic equipment, including lighting and camera accessories, is purchasing advanced equipment for process development.
  • Fatheadz Inc. (Marion County; $200,000 grant award), a manufacturer of sun and optical frames, is investing in injection molding and specialty machines for lens production to bring production back to the U.S. from an overseas location in efforts to shorten lead times and increase quality.
  • Fort Wayne Metals (Allen County; $200,000 grant award) is a manufacturer of precision wire-based materials used in medical devices and other critical applications. The company is investing in a digital plant initiative that will deploy IIoT capability on up to 2,000 machines across 11 plants in Indiana.
  • Fox Products (Whitley County; $50,000 grant award), a family-owned manufacturer of double-reed woodwind musical instruments, is replacing older, less capable production machines with new routers, lathes and mills with IIoT connectivity for remote monitoring and manufacturing data collection.
  • Gracie Industries LLC (Whitley County; $30,000 grant award) is a contract manufacturer and painting and coating business that builds custom sleepers for over-the-road trucks, RVs and components, crew cab conversions and other truck modifications. The company is investing in painting robotics and automation.
  • Holic Foods (Henry County; $25,000 grant award), a manufacturer of globally inspired, bold-flavor sauces, dips and condiments, is modernizing and expanding automated production in its liquid filling space.
  • Impact CNC (Whitley County; $100,000 grant award) is a contract computer numerical control (CNC) manufacturer for industrial, material handling, construction and agricultural industries. The company is undertaking a significant investment in smart manufacturing technologies, including the integration of a custom manufacturing portal for employees, sensors for machines, cobots and other IT.
  • Kammerer Dynamics Inc. (Noble County; $65,000 grant award) is a fourth-generation, family-owned metal fabricator specializing in repetitive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts and custom equipment manufacturing. The company is adding an automated material handling system over its laser table to eliminate the manual movement of sheet steel.
  • Liberty Trailers (Putnam County; $100,000 grant award) designs and manufactures commercial-grade trailers suitable for homeowners and businesses such as car and equipment haulers and dump, utility, tilt, flatbed and pipe trailers. The company is investing in fully autonomous, robotic welding cells and increasing internal fabrication capacity.
  • Mach Medical (Whitley County; $175,000 grant award), an orthopedic implant manufacturer that supplies OEMs and specializes in high-velocity, single-piece flow manufacturing, is deploying digital twin technology, which will radically reduce the time involved in translating customers’ design specifications into executable manufacturing and comprehensively populating the device history record. This technology is also an important aspect of reducing implant inventory for Mach’s customers.
  • Omega Enterprises (Randolph County; $187,500 grant award), a family-owned and operated glass mold manufacturer, is modernizing its welding techniques by investing in an automated laser cladding welder system with advanced technologies.
  • Ossian Smoked Meats Corp. (Wells County; $50,000 grant award), a 74-year-old preparer of meat products with seasoning, smoking and packaging for resale, is investing in an automated saw and weight packaging machine.
  • PDQ Workholding LLC (Whitley County; $75,000 grant award) is a tool shop specializing in hydraulically actuated machining center fixtures and custom cutting tools for large OEMs in automotive, equipment and aerospace industries. The company is investing in two production-grade 3D printers to migrate its fixturing products from steel fabrication to carbon fiber.
  • Poly Electronics LLC (Elkhart County; $40,000 grant award), a manufacturer of custom electronics and proprietary products for various industries, is investing in automated soldering and conformal coating equipment, along with inventory staging equipment to replace manual processes.
  • Procoat Products (Jefferson County; $100,000 grant award), a custom electrocoating and flocking provider that services the automotive industry including Cummins, Ford, General Motors, Lexus, Mercedes Benz and Toyota, is investing in technology to fully automate its current e-coat line by adding a programmable automatic parts transfer hoist, robots and other data collection devices.
  • QuikCut (Allen County; $50,000 grant award), an advanced metal fabricator offering fabrication, machining, welding and finishing for small parts and large structures, is investing in a new robotic weld cell to qualify as part of the manufacturing supply chain producing products for major telecommunications providers.
  • Reliable Tool & Machine Company (Noble County; $10,000 grant award), a machining, welding and assembly manufacturer for construction, agricultural, recreational vehicle (RV) and marine, and lawn care industries, is investing in computer systems to support the latest labor-tracking software and adding a module to reduce reliance on handwritten documentation.
  • Rochester Metal Products Corp. (Fulton County; $25,000 grant award), a manufacturer of quality gray and ductile iron castings, is investing in a cobot to automate part of its production process.
  • Sequel Wire and Cable LLC (Marshall County; $6,710 grant award) is a startup company and manufacturer of copper fabricated and insulated wire and cable products for use in a variety of markets including OEM, wire and cable distribution, appliance, automotive and RVs. The company is implementing automated data collection on production machines across its facility.
  • South Bend Ethanol (St. Joseph County; $87,000 grant award), an ethanol producer that uses 95% local corn, is investing in technology to pull 25,000 data points from several manufacturing process sources into a central plant information system to make better decisions relating to plant reliability and output.
  • Super ATV (Jefferson County; $50,000 grant award), a family-owned and rapidly growing manufacturer of aftermarket utility task and all-terrain vehicle parts and accessories, is investing in a portable coordinate measurement machine (CMM) arm, mill and lathe to shorten cycle time and improve the company’s new product development and innovation process.
  • Tech Castings LLC (Hancock County; $171,500 grant award) is a leading supplier of vacuum and air melt superalloy investment castings and pressurized ceramic core leaching services to aerospace companies. The company is implementing robotics in its shell room to increase capacity and quality while alleviating employees its workers from lifting heavy items.
  • Thompson Machining Services Inc. (Franklin County; $76,600 grant award) is a 25-year-old machine shop with engineering and design capabilities specializing in producing progressive stamping dies, primarily for the medical and automotive industries. The company is investing in an additional milling center and is expanding further into additive manufacturing with a new 3D printer for production parts.
  • Triton Metal Products Inc. (Steuben County; $135,000 grant award), a precision metal manufacturer and supplier of OEM parts for various industries, is investing in automated material handling equipment to streamline productivity, which will create more tech-oriented and high-skilled positions.
  • Whitcraft Enterprises Inc. (Allen County; $150,000 grant award), a 101-year-old manufacturer of precision machined parts, is investing in a gantry-style automated dual lathe to eliminate the manual loading of materials.

Indiana companies are encouraged to review eligibility requirements and submit applications online.

Grants must be matched by the applicant on a minimum 1:1 basis. Grants undergo a rigorous peer review and recommendation process by a statewide committee of manufacturing professionals representing industry, academia, private equity and more.