Vroom - The Digital News Bureau of Engine

Jimmy Kukulski is helping build the factory of the future and it includes the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), artificial intelligence, big data—and millions of precisely timed drops of industrial lubricant.  

Charles Henry (left) and Mike Stephens gave students visiting MiCareerQuest some real life examples in manufacturing.

A convoy of yellow school busses snaked through downtown Grand Rapids Thursday with a cargo of almost 9,000 high and middle school students, some traveling from as far as away as Whitehall -- and event had nothing to do with a football championship or rock concert.

Rather, the students who poured through the doors of DeVos Place for MiCareerQuest 2017 wanted to know more about what they could do for a living. And people like Charles Henry and Mike Stephens were more than happy to oblige their questions.

Machine operator Kevin Earvin runs the new Trumpf TruLaser 3040 at Proos Manufacturing in Grand Rapids.

It may seem that Proos Manufacturing Inc. took its time as it completed a three-year plan this month to reinvent itself.

But three years is like a 15-minute coffee break when you’re looking at doing business for the next century -- particularly if your strategic plan calls for rearranging the entire company as the Proos Manufacturing plan did.

Brian Bernt shows off the latest acquisition by Extreme EDM that adds new capabilities to machining in metro Grand Rapids.

When you are carting around blocks of metal that weigh tons, it matters big time if the trip is a few miles or a few hundred miles.

So for tool and die shops in the metro Grand Rapids area, it’s good news that Extreme Wire EDM Service Inc. in Grandville has just commissioned the “tallest submerged wire EDM” in the United States.

Pete Hoffswell thinks it’s better for miniature robotic sensors to do the talkin’ rather than public utility employees to do the walkin’ as they assess how the city of Holland’s 5-mile-long snowmelt system is operating during the winter.

By installing paver blocks that transmit temperature and moisture conditions by radio at key points along the walkway, the Holland Board of Public Works may be able to better manage energy distribution and possibly save tens of thousands of dollars a year, said Hoffswell, Broadband Services Manager for the city-owned utility.

Austin Dean at Start Garden is working to introduce The Things Network to Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids is the first city in Michigan to harness a new technology though The Things Network that may someday reduce traffic congestion, fight crime, manage pollutants entering the Grand River and improve the efficiency of trash collection.

Next Friday, Austin Dean and his colleagues will flip the switch on a shoebox-sized device atop a four-story parking garage in downtown Grand Rapids that could guide the way for the city in the 21st century. The transceiver will allow any member of the public to send and receive encrypted data through the internet without wires, WiFi and cellular connections.

Hot on the heels of visits by TechShop Inc. executives to Grand Rapids this week, it now looks as if you may be able to buy a piece of the $4 million makerspace it looks to build here.

TechShop Inc. is considering Grand Rapids as its next location to launch a $4 million makerspace that would allow anyone with the proper training to use sophisticated equipment and software to make personal projects from metal, plastics, textiles and other materials.

At Halloween Cheeze Kurls sells retail product directly in Grand Rapids.

As Mommy pushes her shopping cart down the snack aisle at Meijer, Junior stretches out his hand from his perch in the cart as if drawn by an unseen force. He has succumbed to the invisible grasp of Cheeze Kurls, a Grand Rapids-made snack.

Downtown Grand Rapids restauranteurs say that ArtPrize has eclipsed Christmas as the busiest season for walk-in traffic – and that can be a double-edged sword for a restaurant that isn’t prepared for the people crush.