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Innovation & Job News

Robotics company expansion ushers in next generation of manufacturing in Kent County



West Michigan is quickly becoming a hub for technological growth and experimentation. With a smattering of maker spaces, tech entrepreneurs garnering crowdfunding, and established companies expanded their capabilities, tech is here to stay.

One such company that is meeting the national need for tech innovation is Axis Company, a Walker-based firm that "designs, programs and builds robotic automation and assembly equipment for a wide range of manufacturers and industries," according to their press release. With eyes set on continued growth in the very near future, Axis recently announced a $4 million investment in a new facility in southeast Kent County, one that will offer 50 new jobs.

The new positions will include six to eight managerial/professional roles, 15 to 20 technical positions, and 20 to 25 skilled craftsman. Having already posted 10 to 12 job openings for their new facility, Axis is hiring now, and job descriptions can be found on their website.

Part of the $4 million in funding is sourced through a three-year contract with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Working with the Right Place and the MEDC and forgoing an out-of-state site option, Axis decided to maintain their presence in Kent County and reinvest in their home community, and thus the MEDC approved the $400,000 performance grant in October 2017.

"The reason that we're so excited about his, beyond having another company expand in the region, which is always good, is an automation and robotics company expanding in your community is really the next generation of what manufacturing is going to look like in the US," says Tim Mroz, vice president of marketing and communications for The Right Place.

Currently seeking the perfect site for their second location, Axis will most likely choose an existing structure that can be further developed for their use, according to Mroz.

Mroz adds that an increased advanced manufacturing presence stands to bolster the region's expertise and desirability in that sector. Adding 50 new jobs to the region while progressing in robotics and automation "really puts our manufacturing community in a position of strength," he says.
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