Grants awarded to 49 small manufacturers throughout Michigan to help adopt Industry 4.0 technologies

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

MEDC’s Industry 4.0 Technology Implementation Grant program provides companies with 50 percent reimbursement for qualifying I4.0 technology implementation costs

LANSING, Mich. – Forty-nine small manufacturers around Michigan have been awarded a total of $1.15 million to help them adopt Industry 4.0 technologies, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today. The funds are from the second and third rounds of awards as part of the $3 million Industry 4.0 Technology Implementation Grant program.

In July, 23 companies were awarded a total of more than $500,000 in grants through the first round of funding, making a total of 72 companies receiving $1.67 million to date through the program.

“Michigan is the advanced manufacturing capital of the world, and these Industry 4.0 grants help Michigan manufacturers to adopt new and innovative technologies that will enable them to remain competitive well into the future,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of MEDC and President and Chair of the MSF Board. “We’re grateful to our partners at Automation Alley, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, and our local partners and communities. Together, Team Michigan is strengthening advanced manufacturing and entrepreneurship that create jobs and small business opportunities for future generations of Michiganders.”

In April, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved $3 million in awards for six nonprofit organizations to administer the implementation grants statewide. In addition, these organizations were tasked with promoting existing statewide resources to support Michigan small manufacturers with Industry 4.0 awareness and preparedness.

Grants will be reimbursement-based and will cover up to 50 percent of eligible technologies, including additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, robotics and automation, and more. The amount of increased revenue as a result of implementing these technologies is expected to be approximately $83 million, with an estimated 248 jobs created and 1,130 jobs retained.

Chicken Tramper Ultralight Gear is a Hancock-based manufacturer of rugged backpacks, phone cases, camera bags and other gear designed for the outdoor enthusiast. The company received a $10,074 I4.0 grant that it plans to use to purchase automated and computer-controlled sewing machines. The new machines will help streamline the company’s sewing processes and increase its production capacity, ultimately leading to the creation of more jobs.

“This grant will make a tremendous impact on our business. It will allow us to scale up automation and productivity in a way that we would not be able to do on our own,” said Chicken Tramper Ultralight Gear Co-Founder and Owner Nathan Ackerman. “The machines that this grant is going toward will not only increase the efficiency of our production, but will also open up new opportunities for hiring and training new employees. We are very thankful to be selected for this grant, and know that this allows us to move forward in a way that would have taken us several more years by ourselves.”

Betz Machine is a Climax, Mich.-based supplier of automated assembly machines, quality inspection machines, and other diverse machining services. The company was awarded a $25,000 I4.0 grant that it will use to build an automated bin-picking system that can be integrated alongside its full-turnkey automation equipment. The grant will help facilitate growth in the automation machine tending capabilities, according to Betz Machine Operations Manager Jaymes Kyle.

“We as a team are thankful for the consideration by the MEDC in this opportunity for Betz Machine and while we are a small company, this money will help us do big things where companies really need us right now. Companies that are looking for employees can now look to us for a solution for pick and place applications,” Kyle said.

LTW Inc. is a Lawrence, Mich.-based global provider of ergonomic workspaces and operator platforms. The MEDC $25,000 I4.0 grant will empower LTW Inc. to become the recognized leader and manufacturer of quality MTO (Made to Order) and safest industrial ergonomic platforms, workstations, bases, and tables for ergo operators around the world, said LTW General Manager Tony L. Francis.

“LTW is honored to receive the 2022 Industry 4.0 Grant from Michigan Economic Development Corporation. MEDC and LTW business leaders collaborated, identified, and selected an ERP system which will significantly transition LTW into greater market segments with its internal and external technological advancements,” Francis said. “Additionally, the new ERP system will strengthen and improve LTW’s business processes and systems, enabling robust on-time data and employment growth.”

Launched at the end of 2020, the state’s Industry 4.0 initiative exceeded its initial goals within its first year by reaching more than 1,400 businesses through programming, events, training and technology assessments, and is on track to exceed that this year with nearly 1,300 businesses served in the first three quarters.

“The high demand and quality of applications for the Industry 4.0 Technology Implementation grant continue to underscore the strong determination and innovative nature of Michigan’s small manufacturers. Companies are recognizing that technology can not just make their processes more efficient, but can set them on the path to a data-driven future,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Small Business Solutions Natalie Chmiko. “We congratulate today’s awardees and encourage all Michigan small manufacturers to access our statewide network of resources to help prepare for the future of manufacturing.”

Grant applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis until all funds are allocated. To learn more about the requirements of the program and to view the grant application, visit:

The Industry 4.0 initiative aligns with MEDC’s strategic focus area of advanced manufacturing and extends Michigan’s rich manufacturing heritage and technological know-how to develop the innovative, high-tech products of the future. To learn more visit

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.