By Abby Laub
Manufacturers and site selectors look for low cost of doing business, favorable laws and regulations, a solid base of existing manufacturers, talented workforce, proprietary knowledge, prime location and logistics – in some cases shipping overseas overnight – and other factors when determining where to produce their goods. Northern Kentucky checks all the boxes, and then some.
Many powerhouse American and international manufacturers have chosen to locate in Northern Kentucky, and many more have logistics and distribution centers including Perfetti Van Melle, Mazak Corp., Safran Landing Systems, L’Oreal USA, Tyson/Hillshire Foods, The Schwan Food Co., Evenflo Feeding, Architectural Aluminum Products, Road ID, Amazon, Bosch, Citi, DHL, Mubea, Cabot Corp., Indy Honeycomb and WILD Flavors.
In 2017 and 2018 alone, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development reported another $500 million in new manufacturing investments.
And the firms already in Northern Kentucky have long-term staying power, such as Blue Grass Metals Inc. In March 2018, the 25-year-old wire forms supplier to the automotive industry expanded its Boone County operation with an investment of more than $4 million and 15 new jobs.
And L’Oréal in April 2017 announced it would build the largest commercial solar array in Kentucky at its Florence-based manufacturing plant.
Mubea is the area’s largest manufacturer, employing more than 1,300, producing heavy-duty products for lightweight construction. CEO of Mubea North America Doug Cain says the company’s success is a “direct result of the hard work of our committed Northern Kentucky and tri-state employees combined with the strong and enthusiastic efforts of the entire business support network.”
Safran Landing Systems contributes heavily to the state’s large and growing aerospace prowess. According to the Cabinet for Economic Development, Kentucky’s aerospace exports increased 183 percent the past five years, and the state has seen a 63 percent employee increase in the private aerospace products and parts manufacturing industry since 2002.
Overall the state has a manufacturing workforce of 250,000, including more than 18,500 industry-specific workers.
Northern Kentucky’s automotive sector makes a massive contribution to making the state the nation’s number three vehicle builder – Kentucky is the top producer of cars, light trucks and SUVs per capita. Statewide, the sector employs nearly 95,000 people at more than 500 companies. In 2017, auto-related exports totaled $5.5 billion.
The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce understands what these numbers mean for the region and the state. Its Northern Kentucky International Trade Association hosted a seminar on Japan’s influence on the Kentucky auto industry. NKITA helps members achieve international trade goals through connections with global business resources and high-impact technical programming in the region.
Meanwhile, care is taken also with industrial waste processes in Northern Kentucky. River Metals Recycle in summer 2018 celebrated its Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) certification for excellence in workplace safety. River Metals provides scrap-generating businesses a cost-effective way to market their recyclable resources.
Another priority is keeping the crucial manufacturing workforce pipeline flowing, a big job that’s done in large part thanks to the training efforts of the decade-old Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME). KY FAME has a Northern Kentucky chapter that includes Boone, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton, Owen and Pendleton counties. KY FAME is a partnership of regional manufacturers whose purpose is to implement career pathway, apprenticeship-style educational programs that will create a pipeline of highly skilled workers. Member companies include Bosch, Mubea, Linamar, Safran, HAHN Automation, L’Oréal, Zotefoams, Steinkamp Molding, Nucor, Skilcraft, Diversified Composites, Kraus Maffei, Steinert US and Perfetti Van Melle.
A O Smith Corp.
Porcelain enamel coatings for appliances, water heaters and boilers
Abrasive coated foam
Truck and industrial radiators
Advanced Insulation Concepts Inc.
Cooler and freezer insulating panels and doors
Magazine & book publisher
Manufacture and distribute plastic packaging for the beverage, personal care and home care industry
Analytical Solutions And Providers (ASAP)
Laboratory equipment to the forensic, chemical and petrochemical markets
Ancra International LLC
Cargo restraint strapping and other cargo containment equipment
Electro optical UV detectors
UV, water, air and surface purification systems
Architectural Products Inc
Coping, gravel stop, gutter, downspout, fascia systems
Aristech Surfaces LLC
Impact acrylic, general purpose acrylic, ABS composite sheet
Armor USA Inc.
Thermal transfer printer ribbons
ATech Training Inc.
Automotive technology training devices
Atkins & Pearce, Inc.
Braided technical textiles
High pressure food processing
Tubular stamp and multi-slide parts
Industrial networking, object detection
Sub-contract, short run assembly, packaging, labeling and assembly labor
Small diameter braided products
Manufacture and ship smart toothbrushes
Belleview Sand & Gravel Inc.
Sand and gravel
Blitz® bonded metallic powder coatings, Blitz® aluminum pigments
Beverly International Nutrition, Inc.
Nutrition sports manufacturer
Blue Grass Metals Inc.
Wire forms and metal stampings
Blue Grass Quality Meats
BOGE Rubber & Plastics USA LLC
Rubber and metal bushings, engine mounts and plastics
Speed changer, industrial high-speed drive & gear manufacturing, USA headquarters
Boone County Distilling Co.
Bourbon, rye, and other whiskey specialties
Boone Ready Mix Inc.
BWF America Inc.
Dust collector bags, liquid filter cloths, spare collector parts
Carl Zeiss Vision Inc.
Advanced polymer technology to produce high-performance plastic materials
Cincinnati Ventilating Co. Inc.
Sheet metal fabricating
Clarion Corp. of America
Car audio, multimedia, information products
Clopay Plastic Products Company
Specialty films, extrusion coatings, custom-printing, engineered laminations
Continental Building Products
Wallboard and joint compound materials
Corken Steel Products Company
Sheet metal for heating, AC and roofing
Corrosion Resistant Reinforcing
Fabricate stainless rebar
Crane Composites Inc.
Fiberglass reinforced plastic panels
Crescent Paper Tube Co.
Paper tubes, paperboard products, cores, caps
Filtration, coolant and fuel additive technology
Desma USA, Inc.
Tooling, rubber injection molds and injection molding machines
Diversified Structural Composites
Pultruded composite products, carbon fiber equipment
Dixie Dew Products Co.
Ice cream toppings
DURO Bag a Novolex Brand
Dynatec Machine Inc.
Machine shop, welding, drilling
Eagle Manufacturing Co. LLC
Machined engine components
Eaton Asphalt Paving Co. Inc.
Asphalt and paving products
Ellison Surface Technologies
Engineered thermal spray coating
Emerson Thermography Inc.
Construction attachments, mining, and conveyor products
ESTIC America Inc.
Fastening tools for auto assembly lines
Evenflo Feeding, Inc.
Infant equipment, baby care and juvenile products
Professional dry cleaning detergents, wet cleaning soaps and spotting chemicals
Fields Welding, Inc.
Structural steel fabrication, metal fabrication
Fischer Special Manufacturing
Automatic screw machine products, produce specialty fasteners and inserts for the automotive industry
Fives Machining Systems Inc.
Machining and assembly systems, aerospace and automotive production equipment
Flottweg Separation Technology Inc
Decanter centrifuges, separators, belt presses
Roof and floor trusses
Fortress Interlocks Inc.
Safety access and control systems
Fuji Autotech USA LLC
Automative seat components
Galerie Candy & Gifts
Chocolate and specialty candy
Louisville Slugger Instructional items and pitching machines
Belts, hose, hydraulics
General Cable, a Company of the Prysmian Group
Copper, aluminum and fiber optic wire and cable for energy, industrial, specialty and communications markets
Trade show exhibits and store fixtures
Fragrance and flavor
Glier’s Meats, Inc.
German breakfast sausage
Grandpa Brands Co.
Personal care products
Rigid industrial packaging, steel drums
Animal rendering services
Industrial equipment and technology
Halperns’ Steak & Seafood
High quality portion control beef products
Radio systems for wireless control of machinery
Military air conditioning, heaters, decontamination units
Seal porosity in metal casings
Hydra-Tone Chemicals Inc.
Specialty chemicals, detergents, lubricants
Hy-Tek Integrated Systems
Material handling solutions
Idaka America Inc.
Machines and machine parts
Indelac Controls, Inc.
Quarter turn rotary electric actuators used for valve and damper automation
International Identification Inc.
Animal identification tags
Welded metallic honeycomb
International Mold Steel, Inc.
Steel for plastic & rubber molds
Printing plant, packaging materials
Polyester resins used to make windmill blades
Iofina Chemical, Inc.
Select halogen specialty chemicals, iodine
Custom machine safety guarding
Jack’s Glass, Inc.
Home and auto glass solutions
Jackson Tool & Mold LLC
Tool and mold, CNC machining, machine parts
Stub ends, buttweld pipe fittings
Johnson Controls, Inc. – Power Solutions
Lead acid batteries
Kiswel Welding Products
Welding filler manufacturer
KOI Precast Concrete Inc.
Precast concrete products
Premium tropical shaved ice
KRC Machine Tool Services
Fanuc and Siemens CNC retrofitting
Kustom Blending LLC
Blended resins and solutions for graphic arts
Lally Pipe & Tube
Structural & limited service steel pipe
Liberty Plastics Molding Corp Inc.
Plastic injection molds, molding & prototypes
Automotive parts and components
Lingo Manufacturing Co.
Custom permanent point-of-purchase displays
Security systems for parking garages
LOGOMAT Automation Systems Inc.
LOGOMAT Pallet transfer systems
Specialty adhesive tapes, precision die-cuts
L’Oreal USA-Florence Manufacturing
Hair care products
Flavorings and juices
MACH III Clutch Inc
Clutches and brakes, combination air set clutch/spring set brakes and mechanical friction torque limiters
Magni Industries Inc.
Corrosion resistant coatings
Injection molded caps and closures for personal care products
CNC turning centers, vertical machining centers, horizontal machining centers, Multi-Tasking machines, 5-axis machines
Meggitt Polymers & Composites
Composite engine and aerostructure components
Meritor Automotive, Inc.
Axle, brake and suspension solutions
Meyer Tool Inc.
Precision aircraft parts
Metal Solutions Design & Fabrication LLC
DOT certified metal containers for nuclear waste & other hazardous products
Mila International Inc.
Surgical devices for pets
Lightweight construction specialist providing heavy duty spring components and related products
Mubea Precision Springs Inc.
Transmission springs and hose clamps
National Band & Tag Co.
Poultry leg and wing bands, bands used for wildlife, ID tags
New Riff Distilling LLC
Newly Weds Foods Inc.
Cracker and bread crumbs, batter mixes
Communications systems and A/V integrator
North American Stainless L.P.
Nucor Steel Gallatin
Hot band coils
Obara Corporation USA
Resistance welding equipment
Pamarco Global Graphics
Cylinder bases for printing and converting industries
Paul Michels & Sons Inc.
Asphalt paving compounds
Snacks, foods and beverages
Perfetti van Melle
P L Marketing Inc.
Kroger corporate branding products
Isolated power system design and manufacturer
Pratt Target Container Inc.
Corrugated “point of purchase” displays
Prestress Services Industries LLC
Precast & prestressed concrete products
Sewage treatment equipment
R & R Design & Manufacturing
Conveyor & automation systems
R.A. Jones & Co.
Reis Concrete Products Inc
Ready-mixed concrete & precast septic tank; hauling
River Metals Recycling LLC
Road ID Bracelets
Robert Bosch Automotive
Romi Machine Tools Ltd.
Industrial lathes, machine tools
Ronan Engineering Co.
Measuring equipment, radiation gauges and measuring instruments
Roller bearings, slewing rings–large diameter
Round Paper Packages Inc.
Fiber cans, tubes and converted paper products
Safran Landing Systems
Carbon brakes for airplanes
F.N. Sheppard & Co. Inc.
Sherwood Midwest LLC
Surgical products, surgical device production, contract medical device manufacturing
A.O. Smith Co.
Water heaters, boilers and storage tanks
Smyrna Ready Mix
Southern Graphic Systems
Packaging artwork production
Pressure sensitive tape
Starrag USA Inc.
Machine tools for milling, turning, boring and grinding
Dry magnetic drum separator and sensor sorting solutions
Packaging, pressure sensitive labels
Steinkamp Molding L.P.
3-D rubber/metal & plastic injection molds, blow molds, foam molds
Sterling Cut Glass
Contracts with the PGA Tour
Sterling Ventures LLC
Limestone mine, crushed stone
Stewart Iron Works
Ornamental iron fencing and gates
Italian marble products
Summit Fire Apparatus Inc.
Custom metal, aluminum and steel fabricating; welding and fire truck bodies
Customized industrial separation equipment
Target Marketing Inc.
Publish foldout & map booklets
Custom tee shirts
Casters for hospital beds
Thompson Enamel Inc.
Powdered glass colors
TMK IPSCO Tubulars Kentucky Inc.
Steel pipes for oil and gas industry
TOPAS Advanced Polymers, Inc.
World’s leading maker of cyclic olefin copolymer
Total Display Solutions LLC
Re-manufactures LCD panels for computer video displays and television LCD panes
Toyota Boshoku America
Automotive interior systems
Specialty valves, actuators, actuation controls
Professional hair products
Trophy Awards Manufacturing Inc.
Awards, crystal awards, acrylic awards, trophies, plaques, corporate awards, gifts, promotional items
Meat, primarily cocktail weenies
Paul Tuemler L.P. Gas Inc.
Propane gas service
The Schwan Food Company
Red Baron Pizza
US Playing Card Company
Valcom Enterprises Inc.
Custom commercial interior and exterior metal, and drywall partitions
Umbilical cord preservation
W B Jones Spring Co. Inc.
Compression, extension and torsion springs
W J Baker Co.
Metal stampings and tubular spacers
The Waddington Group
High-quality plastic, disposable cups, plates, cutlery, serving ware
Capital equipment for molton aluminum industry
Wilder Hot Mix Asphalt Plant
Hot mix asphalt paving mixture, construction services
Willow Ridge Plastics, Inc.
Oxobiodegradable additives for plastics
Wolf Steel USA Inc.
High end fireplaces, grills, HVAC
Electric shuttle and cargo vans
ZF Boge Elastmetall
Transmissions, steering systems, axles
Cross-linked block foams, world leader
The C.W. Zumbiel Company
Source: Northern Kentucky Tri-ED and Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. This list may not be exhaustive.