Aerospace OEM Invests $9.1M in Michigan for Metal 3D Printing and More

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Barron Industries, a foundry based in Michigan specializing in serving the aerospace and defense sectors, has made a $9.1 million capital investment to expand its operations in Oxford, Michigan. The funds will go towards metal additive manufacturing (AM) equipment and other advanced manufacturing hardware, as well as a new Advanced Manufacturing Aerospace Center.

According to Barron, the investment will create 50 new jobs, landing the company $900,000 in funding from the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF), overseen by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Barron Industries is a member in a number of influential US manufacturing trade organizations, including the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) and Industry 4.0 accelerator Automation Alley.

In a press release about Barron Industries’ $9.1 million expansion in Michigan, the Governor of Michigan, Meg Whitmer, said, “Today, we are announcing an investment in Oakland County creating 50 jobs and building on Michigan’s advanced manufacturing. Since I took office, we have secured more than 38,000 auto jobs, many building batteries and electric vehicles, and we have continued growing our strong defense and aerospace industries. We will keep competing with other states and nations to bring more jobs and projects home so we can help more workers and businesses ‘make it’ in Michigan.”

Barron’s President and CEO, Bruce M. Barron, said, “We appreciate MEDC’s support of Barron Industries in our next stage of growth and expansion in Oxford to open our Aerospace and Defense Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center. This support provides crucial funding for building and equipment early on in the launch while Barron aggressively onboards and trains the high-level technicians needed to staff the new facility.”

In regard to the 50 jobs that Barron Industries will create with the investment, the company also noted that it plans to pay the workers filling those positions $32 an hour, “above the regional median wage of $23.26 an hour.” This is a big win for Michigan which, despite the potential represented by the EV transition, still needs to focus on diversifying away from the auto sector long-term.

At the same time, the transition towards advanced manufacturing ecosystems that can support more seamless maneuvering between manufacturing parts for different sectors means that the EV economy local to places like Michigan can also ultimately enhance the industrial vitality in industries other than EVs. In that sense, the EV transition is just as important as a training program for the next phase of industrialization, as it is for the automotive industry, itself.

One major lesson from investments like this one is that, at least in the manufacturing sector, automation is more likely to create new jobs at this point than to eliminate them. As a global society, we may have already reached the bare minimum threshold of manufacturing workers necessary for continuing to maintain our existing economic order.

Images courtesy of Barron Industries

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