Lansing-based machine tooling manufacturer gains international exposure through MI-STEP-funded exhibition trips
IMPCO Microfinishing, a Lansing-based machine tooling manufacturer, was founded as Industrial Metal Products Corporation back in 1937. IMPCO began business making small tools, dies and fixtures with six screw machines and a small staff of tool and die specialists. During World War II, a significant increase in business from the U.S. Military led IMPCO to double the size of its original facility.
IMPCO developed the world’s first automated crankshaft Microfinishing machine in 1947, and since then continues to set the standard in microfinishing process quality and system development. Business grew steadily over the decades, with additional expansions and the development of new machines and technologies to address the growing automotive industry in the 50s and 60s.
In the 80s, IMPCO focused on its strongest product line – microfinishing – and expanding its customer base worldwide.
From the 90s to present day, IMPCO continues to introduce new developments to provide the best microfinishing solutions to its customers worldwide – in fact, the company now has another location in Europe. IMPCO utilizes its microfinishing process across several areas, including automotive, aerospace, general manufacturing and motorsports.
“Today we are positioned at the forefront of microfinishing technology and have become the global reference for microfinishing,” said Mark Hendel, IMPCO’s Global Sales Director. “This all started 75 years ago when IMPCO designed, built and delivered the world’s first automated microfinishing machine in response to a request from Chrysler Corporation for polishing its new V-8 engine crankshaft. Since then, IMPCO has developed strong relationships with licensees and agents worldwide.”
Seeking assistance with its trade and export efforts, IMPCO began working with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s International Trade program in 2018. With Michigan’s State Trade Expansion Program (MI-STEP) funds, IMPCO had the opportunity to exhibit in Monterey, Mexico, helping the company gain traction in the area by being present and available through exhibitions.
Through the MI-STEP program, MEDC’s International Trade team offers financial assistance for exporting activities to eligible Michigan small businesses, enabling access to global markets and buyers while increasing the dollar value of Michigan exports.
Thanks to financial assistance and consultation by the Michigan Mexico Center, IMPCO developed their preexisting presence in Mexico with more frequent, less costly visits to the market.
Since 2018, IMPCO has received over $12,000 in MI-STEP funds for four trips to Mexico and one trip to Brazil, including sales trips and exhibition in an automotive trade show. The company has since reported that these funds helped to facilitate over $5.6 million worth of sales to Mexico.
"MEDC helped IMPCO with funding to exhibit in Monterey, Mexico in previous years,” said Mark Hendel, IMPCO’s Global Sales Director. “This is one of the countries that the machines will be delivered to, so there is a direct link with helping IMPCO gain traction in that territory by being present and available through exhibitions.”
Continual support by the MEDC landed this company a multiple machine order in June 2022 to help the production of the EV Rotor Shaft to be delivered to the OEM plants in Mexico and the U.S. The order is worth $3.5 million, helping to maintain the jobs of IMPCO’s 50 employees, and generating another $3.5 million in facilitated exports for the company.
For over 85 years, IMPCO has proven its ability to develop solutions to meet the needs of the time, from World War II to the electrification of the automotive industry. Through its evolution over the decades and the support of the MEDC, IMPCO is positioned to find continued success in the years to come.
Learn how MEDC helps Michigan businesses grow and succeed internationally through its International Trade services at https://www.michiganbusiness.org/export/.