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Manufacturing Readiness Grants spur technology-based capital investment

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), in partnership with Conexus Indiana, announced the fifth round of awards totaling more than $3.6 million in Manufacturing Readiness Grants to 44 Indiana businesses to support a projected $23 million in technology-based capital investment across Indiana.

“Historically, manufacturing has been the bedrock of Indiana’s economy, and Hoosier manufacturers continue to prepare for the future by investing in smart technologies,” said Governor Eric J. Holcomb. “Supporting advancements in the manufacturing industry through the Manufacturing Readiness Grants program, Indiana is accelerating our state’s digital transformation, preparing for the economy of the future and creating more opportunities across the state.”

Launched in 2020, the Manufacturing Readiness Grants program was created to stimulate private sector investments to modernize Indiana’s manufacturing industry. Based on the program’s success, the Indiana General Assembly appropriated $20 million in additional funding to the two-year state budget that runs through June 30, 2023, to help position Hoosier operations for future growth and prosperity. Availability of the new funding on July 1, 2021, has enabled a total of 169 awards to date totaling more than $13.4 million in grants to Hoosier companies in 54 counties, supporting technology-based capital investment projected to be nearly $93 million.

The 44 grant recipients in this round include companies from 24 Indiana counties and cover a variety of specialties, including entertainment and decor, industrial applications, injection molding and medical devices.

“As Indiana continues its march toward Industry 4.0 technology adoption, we are seeing a lot of momentum with companies implementing cobots, machine vision, advanced sensor technologies and automation to increase quality, flexibility and agility, employ lights-out manufacturing and launch digital plant initiatives. There have really been some impressive digital investments,” said Mitch Landess, vice president of innovation and digital transformation for Conexus Indiana. “At the same time, we are collecting and publishing substantial data on the technologies and their positive impact on the workforce and business growth to the Conexus Indiana website and later as part of a detailed study measuring the effectiveness of the program.” 

Local recipients include:

• Custom Cast Stone Inc. (Hamilton County; $63,500 grant award), a manufacturer of architectural cast stone for masonry veneer in commercial and residential structures, is replacing its batching system for blending raw materials with a new information technology (IT) system, which includes advanced sensors, data collection features and remote connectivity to better manage its batching process.

• Westfield Steel Inc. (Hamilton County; $23,700 grant award) is a steel supplier, manufacturer and fabricator of machined parts serving numerous sectors. The company is embarking on an agile manufacturing initiative that entails changing its production layout, increasing capacity and adding advanced equipment for robotic welding.

Indiana companies are encouraged to review eligibility requirements and submit applications online.

Grants must be matched by the applicant on a minimum 1:1 basis. Grants undergo a rigorous peer review and recommendation process by a statewide committee of manufacturing professionals representing industry, academia, private equity and more.

About Conexus Indiana

For more than a decade, Conexus Indiana, one of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) non-profit initiatives, has been positioning the Hoosier State as the best place for advanced manufacturing and logistics industries to invest, employ and succeed. By collaborating with industry, academic and public sector partners on a shared vision for an innovative, skilled workforce and stronger business climate, Conexus Indiana has helped to create opportunities for advanced manufacturing and logistics companies, prepare Hoosiers to succeed in the state’s largest industry sectors and maintain Indiana’s competitive advantage. For more information, visit conexusindiana.com.

About IEDC

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) is charged with growing the State economy, driving economic development, helping businesses launch, grow and locate in the state. Led by Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers, @SecChambersIN, and governed by a 15-member board chaired by Governor Eric J. Holcomb, @GovHolcomb, the IEDC manages many initiatives, including performance-based tax credits, workforce training grants, innovation and entrepreneurship resources, public infrastructure assistance, and talent attraction and retention efforts. For more information about the IEDC, visit iedc.in.gov.