All posts in "Light Manufacturing"

Kingman To Get 60,000 sqft Manufacturing Facility



Valencia Pipe Co. expects to begin production of ABS pipe at a new 60,000-square-foot facility in Kingman, Ariz., on Feb. 1.

The Valencia, Calif.-based company is building a manufacturing plant with 10 extrusion lines on a 13-acre site that has room for expanding capacity, according to a news release.

VPC will produce ABS pipe in diameters of 1½ inches to 6 inches for drain, waste and vent applications as well as underground medium density polyethylene gas pipe.


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Badger Meter Shutting Down AZ Facility



Brown Deer-based Badger Meter Inc. plans to move about 35 jobs from Arizona to Racine by March of next year, according to the company’s top executive.

Rich Meeusen, Badger Meter chairman, president and chief executive officer, told BizTimes the company informed employees last month it would be closing its Scottsdale, Arizona facility and moving the work to its Racine operations. Badger Meter has a 134,400-square-foot facility in Racine.

The 32,000-square-foot Arizona facility houses both manufacturing and offices. Meeusen said it focuses on manufacturing turbine meters and the work involves precision machining and advanced assembly. He added the facility has a National Institute of Standards and Technology certified lab that will also be moved to Racine.


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Silent-Aire Opens New US Headquarters In Gilbert



GILBERT, AZ, Oct. 4, 2017 /CNW/ – Silent-Aire, a global manufacturer of HVAC equipment and modular data centers, announced the grand opening of its new 146,000 ft2 USA headquarters in Gilbert, Arizona.  The company held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new facility with Mayor Jenn Daniels of the Town of Gilbert and other federal, state and local officials.

“Our employees and partners have worked hard to open this facility on an extremely aggressive timeline, and we are excited to expand our advanced manufacturing presence in this world-class location” stated Co-CEO Dan Leckelt.  “We are very proud to be part of the community of Gilbert that has a business environment that is an excellent fit for Silent-Aire.”

The new facility will be home for over 300 current employees and will add 225 additional manufacturing jobs in the future.  The anticipated economic impact to Gilbert (direct and indirect) is over $1B over the next 10 years.


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VMI Acquires AMS To Put A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) In The Driveway Of Every Wheelchair User



PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Vantage Mobility International (VMI) acquired AMS Vans, Inc., located in Tucker, Georgia, in pursuit of providing wider access to mobility vehicles. AMS is a leading provider of economy priced wheelchair accessible vehicles (“WAV”). AMS has been a leader in the mobility industry since 1999 as one of the first WAV providers to offer new and used Dodge, Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, and Volkswagen vans for sale with delivery nationwide at affordable prices.

Together, the two companies can better serve a growing and complex market that significantly helps an underserved segment of society. “AMS has developed an economy price strategy that enables them to serve a range of customers we were unable to support with our premium positioned VMI products,” said Doug Eaton, President and CEO of VMI. “Kip and his team at AMS have demonstrated that they can effectively earn the business of consumers who are looking for an economical wheelchair accessible vehicle. We couldn’t be more proud to partner with AMS.”

Kip Crum, President of AMS, said, “We are truly excited to become a part of VMI. We see this as a positive and natural next step as our industry grows and matures. We are passionate about helping wheelchair users gain their freedom and independence, and we believe partnering with VMI will give us more opportunity to do what we love to do.”

VMI has an extensive portfolio of innovative mobility vehicles based on Chrysler, Toyota, Honda and Dodge chassis, and these products are sold exclusively through a nationwide dealer network focused on delivering an enhanced consumer experience. When talking about the plans for how these two companies will be positioned, Eaton said, “VMI has no intention of merging these two brands. We will continue to operate them as separate entities due to their unique customer value propositions.”

About VMI

Vantage Mobility International (VMI) is a leading manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vehicles built on Toyota, Honda, Chrysler and Dodge automobiles. It has advanced the mobility industry for 30 years with a robust portfolio of power and manual ramp conversions and platform lifts. VMI is based in Phoenix, Arizona, where its manufacturing facility utilizes Six Sigma techniques to employ continuous process improvements and deliver high quality products for personal use and commercial applications. For additional information, contact Christine Kane at VMI 602-385-5901 or visit and

Vantage Mobility InternationalChristine Kane,




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Navajo Nation Exploring Manufacturing



The Navajo Nation is looking to improve its economy through advanced manufacturing.

The Southwestern Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) could play an important role in the future, according to Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye.

Begaye addressed the SIPI staff on August 21, at the invitation of SIPI President Dr. Sherry Allison. SIPI, is located in Albuquerque. SIPI and similar institutions have the important task of developing a workforce of technical leaders for Native America, Begaye said.

“The Navajo Nation is exploring a new paradigm in developing advanced manufacturing,” he said. “We are looking to SIPI and other tribal colleges and universities to develop this workforce.”

Advancements in technology call for research and production of materials to assist in building satellites, cell phones and renewable forms of energy, Begaye said. The potential for the Navajo Nation to be a part of this technological boom could be furthered through education and specified training, he added.

“For this technology to come from the Navajo Nation is amazing,” Begaye said. “We need our education to evolve at a much higher level to train our students to be leaders in this developing industry.”

In addition to the instructors, Begaye tasked all Native American students with increasing their skill-set to position their tribes to be technological leaders in emerging fields.

Begaye said Navajo students are dreamers and innovative. “They’re looking to gain knowledge. With many emerging fields of technology, we need SIPI to continue to expand and to train our people,” he said.

By fostering technological paradigms within our students and workforce, the Navajo Nation can change its economic and technical landscape, Begaye said.

Begaye recently joined SIPI’s Board of Regents.


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Tempe Incubator Helping Fashion Designers Thrive In Arizona


A Tempe fashion incubator is helping local designers in a market not typically known for its fashion industry.

TEMPE, AZ – A Tempe fashion incubator is helping local designers in a market not typically known for its fashion industry.

Local designer Nidelka Mayers says since moving to the Grand Canyon State from New York City, it has been a challenge keeping her business afloat.

“The belief that I could be a designer and that I can do anything that I wanted to do is always there, it was just…how do I evolve that?” Mayers said.

That’s where The Fabric Building comes into play. It’s a one-stop shop. They can sew samples, produce their product and there’s even event space.

It was founded by Sherri Berry and Angela Johnson.

Johnson, a fashion designer herself, had a successful business in Los Angeles. But when Johnson moved to the Valley for family, she quickly realized Phoenix is not the fashion Mecca.

“I was watching designers trying to start their business and I was watching them fail because of the lack of resources,” Johnson explained.

Max Mizur also uses this space to bring his designs to life. He started designing backpacks. Now he’s designing women’s apparel.

“There are so many frustrations and so many ways to fail as a designer that without this place I think it’s very safe to say I think I’d be doing something else right now,” said Mizur.

About 20 business now use this facility in some way making sure the Valley is taking care of its designers.

Copyright 2017 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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Ball Corp. To Close 3 U.S. Plants And Build A New One In Goodyear


Ball Corp. said it will shutter three beverage packaging plants in the U.S. and will build a new one in Arizona.

The Broomfield can giant (NYSE: BLL) said will close plants in Birmingham, Alabama, Chatsworth, California, and Longview, Texas, in 2018.

It also said it will build a new facility in Goodyear, Arizona, which is expected to begin production in the second quarter of 2018.

The Alabama plant employed 91 and is expected to close by the second quarter of next year. The California plant employed 118 and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018. The Texas plant employed 100 people and is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of next year.

“These transformational actions will optimize our plant network, realign our standard 12-ounce beverage can and end capacity, increase our manufacturing flexibility and drive efficiencies so we can better compete with other packaging substrates,” said Carlos Medeiros, president, Beverage Packaging North & Central America, in a statement.

In March, Ball said it will close its Recklinghausen, Germany, beverage container facilities at the end of July 2017, putting 360 people out of work.

In December, Ball announced the closing of its Reidsville, North Carolina plant, which put 150 people out of work.

And in February 2016, Ball said it will close its manufacturing plant in Weirton, West Virginia, putting 300 people out of work

Ben Miller contributes to the Denver Business Journal and compiles the Morning Edition email newsletter. Contact him at


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Smith & Wesson To Takeover AZ-based “Fish Tales”


American Outdoor Brands, the holding company for gun maker Smith & Wesson, completed its $10 million acquisition of Gemini Technologies this week, according to a statement released Monday.

The rugged outdoors conglomerate first announced its plans to acquire the suppressor manufacturer last month — one of many new companies to join AOBC’s growing portfolio of brands.

“Gemtech is widely recognized for producing some of the finest rifle and pistol suppressors in the market,” said James Debney, president and CEO of AOBC, in a July 5 press release. “Gemtech’s strong product development capabilities, combined with our experience in brand management and our manufacturing expertise, will help us to efficiently develop both firearms and suppressors, minimizing our time to market for both product categories.”

He described the acquisition as “opportunistic” and “allowing us to enter the suppressor category, which resonates strongly with our core firearm consumer, at a time when the market is particularly soft.”

The company said Monday federal regulations restricting the sale of suppressors would spread out the “integration and ramp up of Gemtech products” throughout the course of its remaining fiscal year.

AOBC earned a “record-breaking” $903.2 million through the end of its fourth quarter, a 25 percent increase overall. Debney offered investors a conservative projection for AOBC’s 2018 earnings, forecasting as much as a 17 percent dip due to a promotion-heavy sales environment still ongoing.

Debney announced July 13 the company would also take over Fish Tales, an Arizona-based company manufacturing “premium sportsman knives,” including the Bubba Blade, as it makes its foray into the fishing accessories market.




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U.S. Companies In Sonora Give Shape to Economic Ties


In the San Carlos Industrial Park in Nogales, Sonora, an American company building parts south of the border affords a view into what ties Arizona to Mexico economically.

One doesn’t have to go far to get to the park. Ten minutes south of the border with Arizona, it is home to multiple companies from the U.S., Europe and Asia. Magnetic Metals discovered a healthy work force when it opened in the 1980s.

Foreign companies that operate in Mexico face certain hurdles, but so-called “shelter service” help make it more manageable. On Arizona Week we visit the park and those who take part in cross-border manufacturing industry that pulls the neighboring states together, and take a closer look at declining exports from Arizona to Mexico.



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SCA To Close Flagstaff Plant

Steam rises above the SCA Tissue plant on East Butler Avenue in Flagstaff in this file photo. The company announced the plant will close in June 2017.

The Flagstaff SCA tissue production plant will halt operations Thursday and close later this month, company officials announced Wednesday. The Bellemont plant will remain open.

Amy Bellcourt, the vice president of communications for SCA, said the plant employs 78 people who were notified Wednesday that they will no longer have jobs.

“Their positions will end,” Bellcourt said.

Bellcourt said the Flagstaff plant and the Bellemont plant serve two different purposes — the paper is actually made at the Flagstaff plant and the finished products are created at the Bellemont plant.

Due to a recent purchase of Wausau Paper by the Sweden-based SCA, the company obtained additional production capacity, which partially eliminated the need for the Flagstaff plant, Bellcourt said. The company has also increased production efficiency, which contributed to the decision to close the plant.

“This is not a reflection of the skill and hard work of the employees in Flagstaff,” Bellcourt said.

Operations at the plant will halt Thursday and the plant will be shut down in the following weeks, Bellcourt said. Employees will be paid for 60 days following the production halt Thursday, she said.

SCA does not plan to sell the mill or to dismantle the equipment, she said.

Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Julie Pastrick said the chamber is working with other stakeholders to help the employees from the closed plant find new jobs.

“78 families affected by the Flagstaff SCA plant closure is a big loss in a small community like ours,” Pastrick said in an email. “We want to be certain we connect them to other manufacturers who may be able to hire the same position, to other Chamber member businesses who offer assistance to distressed workers in situations like this, and to businesses who have employment opportunities. It’s our top priority.”

Pastrick said the chamber hosts the Northern Arizona Manufacturing Partnership, and members will be notified of the job descriptions and skill sets of those being laid off to help match employees with existing job vacancies in the field.

“Severance pay will be helpful but the long-term effects of sudden job loss can be devastating,” Pastrick said in an email. “Fortunately, our community responds quickly with compassion, dignity and respect for those who lost their jobs.”

The reporter can be reached at or 556-2249.




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