Manufacturers continue to invest in NKY with talented workforce pipeline

By Lorie Hailey

Honeycomb
Northern Kentucky is known for a thriving automotive and aerospace manufacturing sector, including Indy Honeycomb. Its structural honeycomb products are used in aerospace shuttle applications and missile fins, as well as for aircraft.

With a strong machine tool history and its geographic advantage, Northern Kentucky has become a hub for modern advanced manufacturing facilities that serve many industries.

Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties are home to well over 200 manufacturers, and even more in the counties adjacent to the tri-county region, according to 2019 data from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

Of the three counties, Boone is the manufacturing hub. Nearly 15% of jobs in Boone County – 13,363 – are at a manufacturing facility, according to KCED data. In Campbell County, 6.75% is manufacturing; it’s 8.1% in Kenton County. Since 2016, two new manufacturing locations have opened in Boone County and 13 have expanded, investing more than $196 million and creating 621 new jobs.

Kenton County has had one new manufacturing plant and 16 expansions since 2016, an investment of $116.3 million that created 534 new jobs. Campbell County has had two manufacturing expansions, an investment of $1.2 million and an additional 13 jobs.

Mubea is the area’s largest manufacturer, employing more than 1,300, producing heavy-duty products for lightweight construction. The next largest is Robert Bosch Automotive Steering, which makes steering gears for the car and light truck market; and assembles steering columns, hydraulic steering gears, electric steering gears, and power steering pumps for the auto industry. It has about 1,200 workers.

Northern Kentucky has a proven advantage in automotive manufacturing and a strong core of a strong core of supporting industries including metal fabrication; chemicals, plastics, and composites manufacturing; and distribution and logistics.

“Because of Northern Kentucky’s geographic location and transportation advantages, these machine tool manufacturers strategically serve many automotive and aerospace companies in the Midwest and Southeast and even overseas customers,” said Lee Crume, president and CEO of Northern Kentucky Tri-ED.


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More than 40 automotive companies are already located in Northern Kentucky, including major employers like Bosch, Mubea, Balluff, Meritor Heavy Vehicle Systems and Celanese.

Since January 2018, there have been 34 major manufacturing announcements in the tri-county region, a reported capital investment of more than $191 million – an additional 1,405 jobs. Some of the largest of those announcements included Jabil Inc.’s December 2018 investment of $13.5 million at its Florence facility, where it manufactures racks and servers for data centers, creating 253 new jobs. Meyer Tool announced an investment of $16 million in March of 2019, creating 100 new jobs at its precision aircraft parts facility in Erlanger.

Optical products distributor ABB Optical Group announced a $15 million plan in June 2019 to open a manufacturing facility in Erlanger, creating 200 news jobs.

Many powerhouse American and international manufacturers have chosen to locate in Northern Kentucky, and many more have logistics and distribution centers there, 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.

Other interesting items “made” in Northern Kentucky include: Schwan’s frozen pizzas; hair and skin care products by L’Oreal; Airheads candy; bourbon products; playing cards; Lit’l Smokies (cocktail weenies); airplane parts; menu boards; chocolate and specialty candies; AR-15 rifles; and more.


Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development

Old Capitol Annex

300 West Broadway

Frankfort, KY 40601

(800) 626-2930

thinkkentucky.com

Kentucky encourages growth of new and existing companies of all sizes, and ensures entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed. Kentucky fosters growth through services designed to spur investment and create jobs. Explore the many advantages of the commonwealth and you’ll find Kentucky will go the extra mile to exceed your needs.


Here is a sampling of manufacturers in the tri-county area:

A.O. Smith Co.

Water heaters, boilers and storage tanks

Florence

Active Radiator

Truck and industrial radiators

Dayton

ALM Media

Magazine & book publisher

Erlanger

Anderson Manufacturing

AR-15 rifles

Hebron

Aquionics Inc.

UV, water, air and surface purification systems

Erlanger

AquiSense Technologies

LED devices

Erlanger

ATech Training Inc.

Automotive technology training devices

Walton

Balluff

Industrial networking, object detection

Florence

Beckman Coulter

Diagnostic tests/equipment

Florence

Beverly International Nutrition

Sports nutrition manufacturer

Cold Spring

Blue Grass Quality Meats

Deli meats

Erlanger

Bonfiglioli USA

Speed changer, industrial high-speed drive & gear manufacturing, USA headquarters

Hebron

Boone County Distilling Co.

Bourbon, rye, and other whiskey specialties

Independence

Braxton Brewing

Craft beer

Covington

Carl Zeiss Vision Inc.

Optical lab

Hebron

Clarion Corp. of America

Car audio, multimedia, information products

Walton

Club Chef

Processors of fresh cut produce

Covington

Crescent Paper Tube Co.

Paper tubes, paperboard products, cores, caps

Florence

DURO Bag a Novolex Brand

Paper bags for fast food

Walton

Emerson’s Bakery

Baked goods

Florence

Ethos Labs

Drug tests

Newport

Evenflo Feeding

Infant equipment, baby care and juvenile products

West Chester

Fabritec International

Professional dry cleaning detergents, wet cleaning soaps and spotting chemicals

Florence

Flint Group

Printing inks

Erlanger

Fortress Interlocks

Safety access and control systems

Erlanger

Fuji Autotech USA

Automative seat components

Walton

GES

Trade show exhibits and store fixtures

Hebron

Givaudan Flavors

Fragrance and flavor

Florence

Glier’s Meats

German breakfast sausage

Covington

GorillaMaker

3D Printing

Florence

Graham Packaging

Plastic bottles

Florence

Grandpa Brands Co.

Personal care products

Erlanger

Greif

Rigid industrial packaging, steel drums

Florence

Griffin Industries

Animal rendering services

Cold Spring

Hahn Automation

Industrial equipment and technology

Hebron

Halperns’ Steak & Seafood

High quality portion control beef products

Walton

HDT Global

Military air conditioning, heaters, decontamination units

Florence

Hennegan Co.

Offset printing

Florence

Hydra-Tone Chemicals

Specialty chemicals, detergents, lubricants

Hebron

International Mold Steel

Steel for plastic & rubber molds

Florence

International Paper

Printing plant, packaging materials

Walton

Iofina Chemical

Select halogen specialty chemicals, iodine

Covington

Jack’s Glass

Home and auto glass solutions

Elsmere

Jewel-Craft

Jewelry

Erlanger

J-Fab LLC

Florence

Johnson Controls – Power Solutions

Lead acid batteries

Florence

Kellogg Snacks

Keebler products

Florence

Kona Ice

Premium tropical shaved ice

Florence

Lingo Manufacturing Co.

Custom permanent point-of-purchase displays

Florence

Linkology

Security systems for parking garages

Newport

L’Oreal USA-Florence Manufacturing

Hair care products

Florence

LSI

Menu boards

Florence

Lyons Magnus

Flavorings and juices

Walton

Mazak Corp.

CNC turning centers, vertical machining centers, horizontal machining centers, Multi-Tasking machines, 5-axis machines

Florence

Meggitt Polymers & Composites

Composite engine and aerostructure components

Erlanger

Meyer Tool

Precision aircraft parts

Erlanger

Mila International

Surgical devices for pets

Florence

Mubea

Lightweight construction specialist providing heavy duty spring components and related products

Florence

Mubea Precision Springs

Transmission springs and hose clamps

Florence

National Band & Tag Co.

Poultry leg and wing bands, bands used for wildlife,
ID tags

Newport

New Riff Distilling

Craft distillery

Newport

Newly Weds Foods

Cracker and bread crumbs, batter mixes

Erlanger

Nor-Com Inc.

Communications systems and A/V integrator

Hebron

North American Stainless L.P.

Steel

Ghent

Novolex

Paper products

Florence

Pepsico

Snacks, foods and beverages

Erlanger

Perfetti van Melle

Airheads candy

Erlanger

P L Marketing

Kroger corporate branding products

Newport

PG LifeLink

Isolated power system design and manufacturer

Erlanger

Purestream Inc.

Sewage treatment equipment

Walton

R & R Design & Manufacturing

Conveyor & automation systems

Florence

Road ID

Road ID Bracelets

Fort Mitchell

Robert Bosch Automotive

Steering columns

Florence

Ronan Engineering Co.

Measuring equipment, radiation gauges and measuring instruments

Florence

Safran Landing Systems

Carbon brakes for airplanes

Walton

Schwan’s Global Supply Chain

Frozen pizzas

Florence

Sherwood Midwest

Bedding, mattresses

Walton

Skilcraft

Surgical products, surgical device production, contract medical device manufacturing

Burlington

SpecTape Inc.

Pressure-sensitive tape

Erlanger

Sterling Ventures

Limestone mine, crushed stone

Verona

Stewart Iron Works

Ornamental iron fencing and gates

Erlanger

Studio Vertu

Italian marble products

Newport

TeeSpring

Custom tee shirts

Hebron

Total Display Solutions

Re-manufactures LCD panels for computer video displays and television LCD panes

Erlanger

Toyota Boshoku America

Automotive interior systems

Erlanger

Tressa

Professional hair products

Erlanger

Trophy Awards Manufacturing

Awards, crystal awards, acrylic awards, trophies, plaques, corporate awards, gifts, promotional items

Wilder

Tyson/Hillshire Brands

Meat, primarily cocktail weenies

Alexandria

United Dairy Farmers

Ice cream

US Playing Card Co.

Playing cards

Erlanger

ViaCord

Umbilical cord preservation

Hebron

The Waddington Group

High-quality plastic, disposable cups, plates, cutlery, serving ware

Covington

White Castle Distributing

Burger processing

Covington

Wild Flavors

Flavor technology

Erlanger

Wolf Steel USA

High-end fireplaces, grills, HVAC

Crittenden

Zenith Motors

Electric shuttle and cargo vans

Wilder

ZF Boge Elastmetall

Transmissions, steering systems, axles

Hebron

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