INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 7, 2021) – The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), in partnership with Conexus Indiana, announced the fifth round of awards totaling more than $3.6 million in Manufacturing Readiness Grants to 44 Indiana businesses to support a projected $23 million in technology-based capital investment across Indiana.
“Historically, manufacturing has been the bedrock of Indiana’s economy, and Hoosier manufacturers continue to prepare for the future by investing in smart technologies,” said Governor Eric J. Holcomb. “Supporting advancements in the manufacturing industry through the Manufacturing Readiness Grants program, Indiana is accelerating our state’s digital transformation, preparing for the economy of the future and creating more opportunities across the state.”
Launched in 2020, the Manufacturing Readiness Grants program was created to stimulate private sector investments to modernize Indiana’s manufacturing industry. 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 169 awards to date totaling more than $13.4 million in grants to Hoosier companies in 54 counties, supporting technology-based capital investment projected to be nearly $93 million.
The 44 grant recipients in this round include companies from 24 Indiana counties and cover a variety of specialties, including entertainment and decor, industrial applications, injection molding and medical devices.
“As Indiana continues its march toward Industry 4.0 technology adoption, we are seeing a lot of momentum with companies implementing cobots, machine vision, advanced sensor technologies and automation to increase quality, flexibility and agility, employ lights-out manufacturing and launch digital plant initiatives. There have really been some impressive digital investments,” said Mitch Landess, vice president of innovation and digital transformation for Conexus Indiana. “At the same time, we are collecting and publishing substantial data on the technologies and their positive impact on the workforce and business growth to the Conexus Indiana website and later as part of a detailed study measuring the effectiveness of the program.”
- 80/20 Inc. (Whitley County; $150,000 grant award) is an originator and manufacturer of the modular T-slot aluminum building system for essentially every industry or application. The company is purchasing automated equipment to integrate with its manufacturing execution system to enable custom order fulfillment in real time.
- A&A Custom Automation Inc. (Vanderburgh County; $25,000 grant award), a designer and machine builder of custom automation systems for manufacturers, is investing in additive manufacturing with the purchase of a fused filament fabrication, large-format, polymer 3D printer to produce custom parts for its machine products.
- Aegis Sales & Engineering (Allen County; $40,000 grant award), a precision computer numerical controlled machining (CNC) operation, is diversifying into defense and aerospace by investing in advanced production equipment with several Industry 4.0 features.
- Buchan Logging Inc. (Adams County; $50,000 grant award) is a logging operation that produces high-quality veneer, rift and quarter sawn logs. The company is purchasing a tech-enabled timber harvesting machine to adopt mechanical felling techniques in modern hardwood harvesting.
- Buchan Sawmill Inc. (Allen County; $150,000 grant award) is a hardwood lumber manufacturer specializing in walnut, oak, hickory, ash and maple from Indiana sources. The company is implementing a machine vision system to electronically manage and execute saw cuts, which will minimize waste and maximize lumber efficiency.
- CART Operations LLC (St. Joseph County; $125,000 grant award), a 1-year-old manufacturer and producer of epoxy-coated materials, is automating its manual spray-painting process by investing in an automated paint system.
- Creative Works Inc. (Morgan County; $75,000 grant award), a company that designs, fabricates and installs immersive amusement experiences such as escape rooms, virtual reality, esports venues and indoor miniature golf courses, is investing in advanced equipment to manufacture products compatible with mixed, augmented and virtual reality technologies.
- Custom Cast Stone Inc. (Hamilton County; $63,500 grant award), a manufacturer of architectural cast stone for masonry veneer in commercial and residential structures, is replacing its batching system for blending raw materials with a new information technology (IT) system, which includes advanced sensors, data collection features and remote connectivity to better manage its batching process.
- Decatur Mold Tool & Engineering Inc. (Jennings County; $45,000 grant award) is an injection mold manufacturer that also offers contract machining services and short-run plastic part production. The company is implementing high-speed optical 3D scanning via robotic automation to expand and streamline its metrology capabilities.
- Decatur Plastic Products Inc. (Jennings County; $102,000 grant award) is a manufacturer providing injection molding, flocking, assembly and finishing services for various industries. The company is upgrading the injection molding process by implementing a new technology called iMFLUX, which utilizes machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to support higher efficiency plastic manufacturing.
- DOT America (Whitley County; $100,000 grant award) is a medical technology company that provides specialty services to medical and dental industries in the form of surface preparations and coatings, including physical vapor deposition (PVD) coatings, titanium plasma spray and titanium anodizing. The company is upgrading its titanium plasma spray capabilities by purchasing an automated vacuum plasma spray chamber.
- Essentra Packaging U.S. Inc. (Marion County; $30,000 grant award) is a manufacturer of packaging solutions, such as folding cartons and labels, primarily for pharma and cosmetics industries. The company is investing in a digital printer with an automated feeder system to improve performance and capacity.
- FabACab (Henry County; $13,000 grant award), a designer and manufacturer of elevator interiors, is automating several aspects of its design process and integrating new production software.
- First Gear Inc. (Allen County; $90,000 grant award) is a gear manufacturer that originally produced precision gears for IndyCar engine manufacturers but now serves industries including aerospace, medical, industrial, defense, robotics, motion, automotive and food preparation. The company is investing in new production equipment with software for remote monitoring and upgraded computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software compatible with its legacy equipment, which leverages AI to provide CNC programming.
- Frazier Aviation LLC (Carroll County; $10,000 grant award) is a parts fabricator and assembler for small aircraft, including the F1 Rocket and F4 Raider. The company is designing and producing a new wing to retrofit an existing fleet of these aircraft and purchasing advanced production equipment.
- Fred Smith Store Fixtures Inc. (Harrison County; $200,000 grant award) is a supplier of high-quality laminated products (high-pressure laminate and thermally fused laminate) for the office furniture, hotel/motel, hospitality and health care industries. The company is investing in automation to format, profile and edge workpieces into a single production run.
- General Stamping & Metalworks (St. Joseph County; $160,000 grant award) is a manufacturer of stamped and fabricated metal parts for the renewable energy, lawn and garden, agricultural equipment and recreational vehicle industries. The company is purchasing a collaborative robot system to operate an existing press brake.
- Genesis Molding Inc. (St. Joseph County; $50,000 grant award), an injection molding manufacturer serving the appliance, automotive, recreational vehicle (RV), electrical and industrial markets, is investing in a state-of-the art molding machine, robotics and automated loading equipment to increase production capacity.
- IMH Fabrication Inc. (Marion County; $140,000 grant award) is a contract manufacturer of metal components for various industries. The company is investing in a collaborative welding system, which utilizes a cobot.
- Johnson Plastics & Supply Co. Inc. (Vanderburgh County; $35,000 grant award) is a manufacturer focused on the fabrication of large format plastic products using CNC machining and vacuum forming. The company is investing in the latest control system available for its routers as well as upgrading its MasterCam software to increase production capacity and reduce customer lead times.
- Lear Machining & Waterjet Inc. (Bartholomew County; $70,000 grant award), a custom manufacturer of waterjet cut and machined parts and assemblies, is investing in cobots for automated loading and unloading parts on its machines, as well as for deburring parts after machining.
- Lively Machine Company Inc. (Vanderburgh County; $28,500 grant award) is a full-service CNC machining and fabrication facility that offers state-of-the-art machining, fabrication, engineering and consulting services by providing CNC turning, CNC milling, screw machine, laser and water jet cutting, prototyping, welding and coordinate measuring machine inspections. The company is investing in automated production equipment to stay competitive and keep up with demand.
- L.O.F. Inc. (Elkhart County; $50,000 grant award) is a manufacturer and distributor of replacement automotive, industrial and medical products for various brands. The company is purchasing automated equipment to develop new products, increase production capacity and optimize its production changeovers.
- Med-Mizer (Ripley County; $50,000 grant award), a manufacturer of medical devices including beds, exam tables and tilt-in-space wheelchairs, is investing in automated equipment to improve its production process and recycling system.
- Metal Forming Industries (Putnam County; $85,000 grant award) is a manufacturer that performs custom, cold-forming and precision machining of custom-designed industrial components. The company is purchasing a new, custom-built, 200-ton hydraulic forming press with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) capability as part of its migration to cobots.
- Micropulse Inc. (Whitley County; $17,125 grant award), a contract manufacturer of orthopedic instruments, implants and cases and trays, is developing its own digital system to record and maintain product inspection data to improve its manufacturing processes.
- Northbend Pattern Works LLC (Dearborn County; $43,775 grant award) is a tool manufacturer for iron foundries specializing in high-volume automotive parts. The company is investing in automated equipment with 3D scanning hardware and software, which will improve inspection times, enable reverse engineering on customer supplied parts and decrease turnaround time for customers.
- PCA Technologies LLC (Elkhart County; $20,000 grant award) is a manufacturer of custom controls and automation panels for robot cells and other related items. The company is automating its panel drill and cutting and layout process using a cobot.
- Pinson Manufacturing Company LLC (Delaware County; $50,000 grant award) is a machine shop offering general CNC machining, welding and fabrication. The company is relocating from Illinois to Indiana and implementing robots to automate the loading and unloading process of its CNC machines, in addition to the welding robot cells it currently utilizes for fabrication.
- Poseidon Barge Ltd. (Adams County; $200,000 grant award) is a manufacturer of portable sectional barges used in bridge and marine construction, dredging and other projects where it is necessary to float heavy construction equipment, materials or people. The company is investing in its first robotic welding system to enhance its production capabilities.
- Prodigy Mold & Tool Inc. (Gibson County; $160,000 grant award), a manufacturer of plastic injection molds and tooling for medical, automotive, electronics and consumer goods, is investing in an advanced machining platform with an integrated robotic transfer system to improve its production capabilities.
- Red Star Contract Manufacturing Inc. (Whitley County; $100,000 grant award recipient) is a medical device contract manufacturer that excels at injection molding for various medical products including biopsy needles, single-use sterile procedure kits and orthopedic implants and instruments. The company is investing in several cobots to automate production and improve efficiency, resulting in additional manufacturing capabilities.
- Robert Weed Corporation (Elkhart County; $120,000 grant award) is a manufacturer and distributer of wood products, moldings and laminated products as well as supply chain solutions for multiple industries including boats, furniture, kitchen and bath cabinets, RVs and walk-in trucks. The company is implementing a 3D vision system for identifying material and product defects.
- SHIELDS (Morgan County; $60,000 grant award) is a plastic parts manufacturer and post-coater offering a line of windscreens, windows, shields and canopies for heavy machinery, racecars and boats. The company is entering a multiphase growth strategy, starting with IT upgrades, including commercial Wi-Fi, mobile tablet deployment, production software implementation as well as 3D product scanner installation.
- Steiner Enterprises Inc. (Tippecanoe County; $25,000 grant award) ) is a contract manufacturer that designs, engineers and builds electromechanical products such as power supplies, wireless sensors, radio-frequency identification (RFID) and Bluetooth devices and controllers for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers. The company is investing in additive manufacturing capabilities to increase the speed and accuracy of bringing new products to market.
- TASUS Corporation (Monroe County; $100,000 grant award) is a manufacturer of plastic molded components, labels, converted adhesives and traded products for the automotive and transportation markets. The company is investing in its data infrastructure with an extensive, multifaceted digital plant initiative that involves new hardware and software, which will enable IoT connectivity, predictive analysis, part replacement predictors and workload scheduling.
- Tipton Mills Foods (Bartholomew County; $75,000 grant award), a manufacturer of powdered functional beverages, is purchasing and installing a vertical form fill sealer (VFFS) to automate the fill and seal process of its gusset pouches with powder.
- Triangle Rubber and Plastics LLC (Elkhart County; $100,000 grant award) is a custom molder of rubber and plastics serving the automotive, appliance, agriculture, public health and water industries. The company is investing in an upgraded electronic production management system, machine vision systems and advanced robotics to increase efficiency and adapt its products to new customers and markets.
- Trim A Door Corporation (St. Joseph County; $150,000 grant award) is a manufacturer of pre-hung doors and custom millwork and a distributor of door hardware and stair systems. The company is investing in an automated paint line conveyor belt/spray system with machine vision.
- Vestil Manufacturing (Steuben County; $175,000 grant award) is a family-owned manufacturer of material handling equipment. The company is investing in smart manufacturing equipment for its new facility as well as adding new research and development and logistics distribution equipment.
- Westfield Steel Inc. (Hamilton County; $23,700 grant award) is a steel supplier, manufacturer and fabricator of machined parts serving numerous sectors. The company is embarking on an agile manufacturing initiative that entails changing its production layout, increasing capacity and adding advanced equipment for robotic welding.
- Wiley Metal Fabricating Inc. (Grant County; $50,000 grant award), a sheet metal fabricator, is investing in advanced equipment and an automated inventory software system to meet increased demand and expand its existing customer base.
- WishBone Medical Inc. (Kosciusko County; $100,000 grant award) is a manufacturer of proprietary pediatric orthopedic products equipping surgeons with innovative, anatomically appropriate implants and instruments in single-use, sterile packed procedure kits. The company is investing in additive manufacturing to enhance design potential and accelerate the production of cleaned and sterilized medical devices.
- Wood-Mizer LLC (Ripley County; $150,000 grant award), a manufacturer of equipment and consumables for the timber and woodworking industry, is investing in several cobots to automate repetitive welding and fabrication tasks.
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.
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, visit conexusindiana.com.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) is charged with growing the State economy, driving economic development, helping businesses launch, grow and locate in the state. Led by Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers, @SecChambersIN, and governed by a 15-member board chaired by Governor Eric J. Holcomb, @GovHolcomb, 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 iedc.in.gov.