(INDIANAPOLIS) – The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), in partnership with Conexus Indiana, announced the third round of awards totaling approximately $1.5 million to 31 Indiana businesses in Manufacturing Readiness Grants, which Governor Eric J. Holcomb first announced in May under the Economic Activity Stabilization and Enhancement (EASE) program. The grants, which are a key part of Gov. Holcomb’s 2021 Next Level Agenda announced last week, are designed to stimulate manufacturing investments that will position Hoosier operations, and the sector overall, for future growth and prosperity.
“As a state, it’s critical that we support manufacturers as they modernize their operations and efficiencies to succeed in today’s 21st century economy,” said Gov. Holcomb. “Like many industries, this sector has faced unprecedented challenges this year yet these Hoosiers are pushing full steam ahead. We’re encouraged by their continued commitment to enhancing and growing their businesses, solidifying our state’s reputation as the top manufacturing state in the nation per capita.”
The 31 manufacturers receiving grants represent 21 Indiana counties and cover a wide range of specialties, including automotive, aerospace and defense, agriculture, machinery and construction, consumer packaging products, and health care and medical. Together, these businesses plan to invest more than $15 million in technology and equipment to position their businesses for future growth by increasing capacity and modernizing operations. Five of the manufacturers – Ameri-Can Engineering, DQE Inc, Meyer Plastics Inc., Primex Plastics Corporation and Universal Technologies LLC – are accelerating operational investments in health care manufacturing or preparedness technology to support critical COVID-19 response efforts.
- Aero Machine & Manufacturing LLC (Porter County; $40,000 grant award), based in Valparaiso for nearly 20 years, is a complete service machine shop offering engineering, machining, fabrication and assembly services from inception to installation. The company is installing a new HAAS CNC Lathe with live tooling that incorporates technology into its centralized data system, allowing them to integrate smoothly with new or existing Industry 4.0 environments.
- Ameri-Can Engineering (Marshall County; $26,852 grant award) manufactures portable sanitation trailers in Argos. In order to meet increased demand due to COVID-19, this third-generation, family-managed company is modernizing equipment and processes to improve production efficiencies.
- Batesville Products Inc. (Dearborn County; $50,000 grant award) manufactures machined and finished aluminum and zinc alloy castings in Lawrenceburg. The company, celebrating 75 years in 2021, is creating a ‘Robotic Polishing Cell’ to relieve labor intensive work or work that is difficult for a skilled operator to complete consistently.
- Circle (Marion County; $20,000 grant award), an Indianapolis-based beverage manufacturer of its own brands as well as contract manufacturer for large and emerging brands, is expanding through implementation of advanced processes, laboratory testing and equipment, with anticipated results of at least three times current production.
- Contract Industrial Tooling Inc. (Wayne County; $37,261 grant award), which was founded in Ohio in 1987 and moved to Richmond in 1992, manufactures OEM cab enclosures, lift gates, custom steel shipping racks and containers, rapid response hospital beds, medical therapy tables and aerospace support equipment. The company is increasing its capabilities to take on more complex projects by investing in computerized measurement enhancements.
- Culver Tool and Engineering Inc. (CTE Solutions) (Marshall County; $79,455 grant award), founded in 1950 and located in Plymouth, manufactures orthopedic implants and instruments for spinal surgeries. CTE also provides custom implants and instruments, including prototypes, for all segments of the orthopedic industry. The company is updating its forming and deburring processes with custom-built equipment, while upskilling employees.
- DeKALB Molded Plastics (DeKalb County; $20,000 grant award), based in Butler for more than 40 years, is a custom structural foam molder specializing in large, multi-nozzle plastic products servicing the medical, safety, transportation and material handling industries. The company is installing two automated robot cells with Fanuc robots to increase efficiency.
- DQE Inc. (Monroe County; $133,648 grant award) provides safety and emergency preparedness products and expert support that improves the safety and readiness of the response and health care community. Based in Indiana since 1990, the company is collaborating with Indiana research institutions to ramp up cutting edge product development and vertically integrate production by purchasing a CNC cutting machine to enhance manufacturing operations.
- EarthWay Products (Elkhart County; $100,000 grant award), family owned in Bristol since 1955, manufactures lawn and garden equipment for turf scientists, landscape professionals and homeowners. The company is automating a production line of spreader / seeders with cobots to replace highly repetitive work and improve capacity by 30%.
- eti Controls Inc. (St. Joseph County; $60,000 grant award), which was founded in 2019 as part of the ETI Network, manufactures electronic controllers and sensors for various applications including heat tracing that monitors temperature, humidity and pressurization. Based in South Bend, the company is investing in automated production and inspection equipment for printed circuit boards (PCB) to become further insular to meet stringent quality and delivery demands. Bringing the capability in-house allows the company to manage key component suppliers to increase capacity and manufacture complex PCBs.
- FosTecH Inc. (Jackson County; $44,222 grant award) manufactures firearm products for retail, law enforcement and military customers worldwide. Based in Seymour, the company is implementing a new manufacturing control system that enables customer-configured, individualized products.
- Hubner Industries LLC (Warren County; $28,000 grant award) conditions and packages seed corn and seed soybeans, and provides warehousing and distribution services. Based in West Lebanon since 1972, this family-owned company is making equipment enhancements and upgrades for increased throughput and reliability.
- Jasper Engines and Transmissions (Dubois County; $50,000 grant award), headquartered in Jasper since 1942, is a remanufacturer and distributor of automotive drive train components. This associate-owned company is investing in new CNC machining that incorporates advanced sensors for fixturing and customized software controls for optimized flexibility and versatility.
- Koester Metals Inc. (Steuben County; $20,000 grant award), a sheet metal fabricator formed in Defiance, Ohio, in 1975 and moved the business to Fremont in 2010, is upgrading to a more advanced laser cutting system with expanded load and unload capability to expand capacity and capability for larger and thicker metal, enabling longer lights-out runs. The company is also adding remote monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities.
- Konrady Plastics (Porter County; $45,000 grant award) manufactures and distributes machined plastic parts, including plastic sheet, rod and tube. Founded in 1981 and based in Portage, this family-owned business is investing in a cobot to pair with an existing HAAS lathe to enhance operations and position the company for future innovation.
- Lucas Oil Products Inc. (Harrison County; $100,000 grant award) manufactures premium lubricants and additives for its customers, meeting stringent quality, performance and delivery requirements. In line with its Quality Management Statement, the company is making a significant investment in robot technology for its Corydon facility, which is anticipated to increase production capacity in excess of 30%.
- Marion Manufacturing (Vigo County; $79,717 grant award), based in Terre Haute since 1996, offers turnkey manufacturing of precision machined components. This woman-owned business is upgrading its inspection equipment by providing data collection tools to the shop floor, networking the CNC machining centers together, and making cybersecurity and ITAR compliance investments for its aerospace and defense customers, while also growing its team.
- Meyer Plastics Inc. (Marion County; $12,385 grant award), a family-owned business based in Indianapolis for more than 65 years, distributes industrial plastics including plastic sheet, rod and tube, engineering performance plastics and more. The company is adding two 3D printers and a laser cutter to expand capabilities, including panels and brackets used for partitions, which have increased in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Micro Etch Technologies LLC (Elkhart County; $75,000 grant award) manufactures small, thin gauge metal components for electronics, medical, aerospace and other industries. Founded in 1988 in Elkhart, the company is upgrading its manufacturing technology and capabilities with investments in a digital microscope, digital CMM and chemical etching system.
- Moore Metal Works & A/C LLC (Vanderburgh County; $100,000 grant award) is a custom metal fabrication shop established in 1998 in Evansville. This family-owned business is modernizing its operations with investments in smart technology, including a CNC press brake, CNC lathe, camera system, 3D printer, laser engraver and other equipment to expand operations.
- Nix Companies (Gibson County; $25,000 Grant Award), a fifth-generation, family-owned business founded in 1902, is a diversified metal fabricator and specialty contractor. Based in Poseyville, the company is modernizing operations by purchasing a CNC Lathe, positioning the business for its future workforce and innovation.
- POLARIS Laboratories LLC (Marion County; $50,000 grant award), based in Indianapolis, is a fluid analysis laboratory that provides testing and analysis of oils, fuels, coolants and water-based fluids for equipment reliability. Founded in 1999, this veteran-owned company is developing new proprietary software to improve data analytics capabilities.
- Poolguard (Jennings County; $56,250 grant award), founded in 1982 and based in North Vernon, manufactures swimming pool safety devices. The company builds its own electronic printed circuit boards and is investing in modern Surface Mount Technology to allow for growth in productivity and capacity as well as increased efficiencies to meet increased demand during the pandemic.
- Primex Design and Fabrication (Wayne County, $20,000 grant award), based in Richmond, manufactures packaging, handling and shipping products made from plastic materials. Founded in 1987, the company is investing in an additional automated robotic die cutting line as a part of a comprehensive modernization effort, which will enable growth in critical PPE production.
- Red Gold Inc. (Madison County; $10,100 grant award), headquartered in Elwood, is a national brand tomato processor making ketchup, sauces, paste, juice and canned tomatoes under its brand and private label. Founded in 1942, this fourth-generation, family-owned company is replacing a manual scheduling system with a fully-automated digital system that will integrate Red Gold’s information with each carrier.
- SoChatti (Marion County; $24,000 grant award), founded in Indianapolis in 2013, manufactures specialty chocolate, food appliances and industrial food technology with a focus on flavor preservation in shelf stable foods. The company is scaling its True Essence industrial flavor preservation platform and is partnering with Indiana companies and universities.
- Spencer Industries Incorporated (Spencer County, $19,000 grant award), founded in 1981 and headquartered in Dale, is a vertically integrated, plastic thermoformer with in-house extrusion, serving several markets including medical, agricultural, transportation and industrial. The company is retrofitting 13 CNC machines with monitoring sensors to reduce set-up times and identify machine malfunctions for quality improvement, reduced downtime and increased production capacity.
- Telamon Corporation (Hamilton County; $64,250 grant award), a minority-owned company based in Carmel since 1985, primarily designs, builds and installs telecommunication networks enabling connectivity. Its Industrial Services division, which provides manufacturing services to automotive, truck and industrial-related customers, is investing in sub-kit auto bagging systems and a semi-automated kitting line with cobot and supplementary hardware, as well as new software to enhance competitiveness in the on and off-highway truck service kitting market.
- TouchTronics Inc. (Elkhart County; $50,000 grant award), based in Elkhart for more than 35 years, manufactures wireless and Bluetooth controllers and monitoring solutions for the commercial truck, RV, marine and public safety industries. This woman-owned business is investing in automated equipment to manufacture and assemble circuit boards, wire harnesses and injection-molded parts to enhance quality, efficiency, speed and product performance.
- Universal Technologies LLC (Dubois County; $39,500 grant award), founded in 2007 and based in Jasper, offers a variety of solutions for the architecture and design community focusing on resins, glass, metal, lighting and other specialized products. The company has pivoted its product line to align with pandemic protective equipment needs, such as sneeze guards and barriers, and is investing in robotic sanding equipment custom made in Indiana to meet demand.
- Viewrail / Stair Supplies (Iron Baluster Inc.) (Elkhart County; $20,000 grant award) manufactures premium stair parts for homeowners, builders and contractors. Based in Goshen since 2004, the company is developing an automated powder coat line to transition from batch to continuous flow as part of an overall automation effort.
The IEDC initially made $4 million available for Indiana Manufacturing Readiness Grants and has since been able to expand the awards for Hoosier manufacturers with support of CARES Act funding. The awards are issued in the form of matching grants up to or equal to the amount of the qualified investment in new equipment and machinery (minimum 1:1 investment match). While the allocated program funding has been exceeded, Conexus, with the input of a peer review panel, will continue to assess applications and make funding recommendations to the IEDC, which will fund select applications if and when additional funding becomes available. Eligibility requirements and the grant application are available online.
“It’s a very positive indicator when this many manufacturers, this geographically dispersed throughout the state, and operating in so many sectors are making investments in smart manufacturing technology,” said Mitch Landess, vice president of innovation and digital transformation at Conexus Indiana. “It leaves you very optimistic about the future.” About Conexus Indiana
For more than a decade, Conexus Indiana, one of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) non-profit initiatives, has been positioning the Hoosier State as the best place for advanced manufacturing and logistics industries to invest, employ and succeed. By collaborating with industry, academic, and public sector partners on a shared vision for an innovative, skilled workforce and stronger business climate, Conexus Indiana has helped to create opportunities for advanced manufacturing and logistics companies, prepare Hoosiers to succeed in the state’s largest industry sectors and maintain Indiana’s competitive advantage. For more information, go to www.conexusindiana.com.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) leads the state of Indiana’s economic development efforts, helping businesses launch, grow, and locate in the state. Governed by a 15-member board chaired by Governor Eric J. Holcomb, the IEDC manages many initiatives, including performance-based tax credits, workforce training grants, innovation and entrepreneurship resources, public infrastructure assistance, and talent attraction and retention efforts. For more information about the IEDC, visit www.iedc.in.gov.