Home » Northern Kentucky companies produce everything from airplane brakes to candy

Northern Kentucky companies produce everything from airplane brakes to candy

Every day, Northern Kentucky churns out important products crucial to business operations around the world.

By Abby Laub

Safran Landing Systems is a commercial and military aircraft wheel and brake components maker and recently broke ground on a $100 million expansion in Walton.
Safran Landing Systems is a commercial and military aircraft wheel and brake components maker and recently broke ground on a $100 million expansion in Walton.

Every day, Northern Kentucky churns out important products crucial to business operations around the world. For example, three million airplane passengers every single day rely on aircraft carbon brakes that are manufactured in Walton.

In fall 2016, Safran Landing Systems, a commercial and military aircraft wheel and brake components maker formerly known as Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, broke ground on a $100 million-plus expansion.

Safran Landing is the world leader in aircraft landing and braking systems, and the expansion will help it keep up with rising demand in North America. The company’s Walton plant is one of its three carbon production plants worldwide and the only one in North America.

Aerospace products and parts lead Kentucky’s $28 billion in exports by category, with Safran contributing greatly. In 2015, the state shipped more than $8.7 billion in aerospace products and as of July 2016 had shown an impressive  year-to-date increase of 21.8 percent. As of July 2016, 36 percent of Kentucky’s total exports were aerospace products and parts.

Thanks in large part to a skilled workforce, prime location and low taxes, Northern Kentucky is the manufacturing base for many other major corporations like world machine tool leader Mazak Corp., sometime Fortune 500 member General Cable, auto parts maker Mubea, Tyson/Hillshire Foods, L’Oreal cosmetics, Novolex, The Schwan Food Co., Robert Bosch Automotive Steering,  Architectural Aluminum Products, and Evenflo Feeding, just to name a few.

With 1,360 employees at its Florence plant, Mubea holds rank as the largest manufacturing employer in Northern Kentucky. Mubea is a lightweight construction specialist providing heavy duty spring components and related products.

“Mubea’s successful manufacturing operations over the years have been the 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 including the Governor’s Office, the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet, the Labor Secretary’s Office, Gateway Community and Technical College, the Tri-ED staff, the NKY Chamber, and the press with the NKY Tribune,” said Mubea North America CEO Doug Cain. “In addition, the local government officials and services sector including the fire, police, and sheriff’s departments have always made us feel a valued member of the community.”

With one-day delivery to two-thirds of the U.S. market and a DHL global air freight shipping hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, manufacturers in Northern Kentucky enjoy logistical benefits that are unparalleled nearly anywhere else in the country.

Erlanger-based Sterling Cut Glass, a PGA Tour sponsor and licensee, is one of the longest continuously operating glassworks companies in the nation. It and many others cite “the community spirit, great employees and family atmosphere” as reasons they love to manufacture quality-conscious products in the area.

They range from the broadest household names to specialty niches. For example, runners and cyclists in Kentucky can buy local when purchasing world-renowned Road ID bracelets. The identification bracelets made in Erlanger are known as life-saving tools for people participating in sports.

Manufacturing’s workforce pipeline

To help keep up with the demand for skilled workers, the I Made it in NKY initiative – launched by the Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Coalition – helps educate workers and pair them with manufacturers who need skilled employees. Area manufacturers quickly jumped onboard the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) initiative, an initiative that spread quickly from its Central Kentucky origins just a few years ago. With 10 chapters all over the state, KY FAME is a partnership between community technical colleges and regional manufacturers to implement dualtrack, apprenticeship-style training that will create a pipeline of skilled, teamwork-oriented, problem solving workers.

Wade Williams, Tri-ED’s senior vice president of business development, oversees manufacturing projects for the economic development organization and explained how there is a concerted and productive effort to bring together the Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Coalition and KY FAME.

“I view the evolution of our workforce initiatives in NKY as a process,” he said, noting how a Northern Kentucky Industrial Parks study in 2012 revealed manufacturing needs that would develop over the next 10 years quickly prompted companies in the region to act.

“Bosch and Mubea and others came together to form the Northern Kentucky chapter for FAME and started the recruitment process,” Williams said. “While that was going on, there was also this call to action in the community to work on this pipeline of skilled talent since those were some of the issues that were part of the NKIP study.”

Ultimately KY FAME and AMWDC grew organically out of different initiatives but involved many of the same people, he explained, with KY FAME being set up as an apprenticeship program while the AMWDC took on the work of marketing modern, well-paying manufacturing jobs to parents and students.

In fall 2016, the groups were combined to maximize results, with a coalition steering committee that includes a talent supply subcommittee run by KY FAME. The other two elements are measuring success and marketing.

Williams highlighted two additional exciting programs coming out of KY FAME now: the Raise The Floor initiative and Enhanced Operator Program. Raise The Floor aims to recruit more women to work in advanced manufacturing.

The KY FAME Northern Kentucky chapter’s company members are: Diversified Composites; Grief; Hahn Automation; Krauss-Maffei; Linamar; Linkology USA; L’Oreal; Mubea; Nucor; Robert Bosch Automotive Steering LLC; Safran/Messier-Bugatti-Dowty; Skilcraft; Steinert US; Steinkamp Molding; Stober; Wagstaff; and Zotefoam.

Largest Manufacturers by Employment

Manufacturer

Employees

Mubea NA

1,360

Robert Bosch
Automotive Steering

1,300

The Schwan Food Company

850

Novolex

800

Mazak Corp.

650

Tyson/Hillshire Foods

566

The C.W. Zumbiel Company

400


Abrapower Inc.

Abrasive coated foam

Florence

abrapowerusa.com

Anderson Manufacturing

AR 15 Rifles

Hebron

andersonrifles.com

Angstrom Technologies

Electro optical UV detectors

Florence

angtech.com

AquiSense Technologies

LED devices

Erlanger

aquisense.com

Armor USA Inc.

Thermal transfer printer ribbons

Hebron

armor-tt.com

Atkins & Pearce, Inc.

Braided technical textiles

Covington

atkinsandpearce.com

Avure Technologies

High pressure food processing

Erlanger

avure-hpp-foods.com

Baker Stamping

Tubular stamp and multi-slide parts

Wilder

bakerstamping.com

Balluff

Industrial networking, object detection

Florence

balluff.com

Beckman Coulter

Diagnostic tests/equipment

Florence

beckmancoulter.com

Benda-Lutz Corporation

Blitz® bonded metallic powder coatings, Blitz® aluminum pigments

Independence

benda-lutz.com

Best Sanitizers

Hand sanitizer

Walton

bestsanitizers.com

Beverly International Nutrition, Inc.

Nutrition sports manufacturer

Cold Spring

beverlyinternational.net

Blue Grass Quality Meats

Deli meats

Erlanger

bluegrassqualitymeats.com

Bonfiglioli USA

Hebron

bonfiglioliusa.com

Celanese

Advanced polymer technology to produce high-performance plastic materials

Florence

celanese.com

Clarion Corp. Of America

Car audio, multimedia, information products

Walton

clarion.com

Clopay Plastic Products Company

Specialty films, extrusion coatings, custom-printing, engineered laminations

Augusta

clopayplastics.com

Continental Building Products

Wallboard and joint compound materials

Silver Grove

continental-bp.com

Cummins Filtration

Filtration, coolant and fuel additive technology

Walton

cumminsfiltration.com

Desma USA, Inc.

Tooling, rubber injection molds and injection molding machines

Hebron

desma-usa.com

Diversified Structural Composites

Pultruded composite products, carbon fiber equipment

Erlanger

diversified-composites.com

Dixie Dew

Ice cream toppings

Erlanger

dixiedewproducts.com

ESCO Corporation

Construction attachments, mining, and conveyor products

Covington

escocorp.com

Ethos Labs

Drug tests

Newport

ethos-labs.com

Evenflo Feeding, Inc.

Infant equipment, baby care and juvenile products

West Chester

evenflofeeding.com

Fabritec International

Professional dry cleaning detergents, wet cleaning soaps and spotting chemicals

Florence

fabritec.com

Fields Welding, Inc.

Structural steel fabrication, metal fabrication

Fort Wright

fieldswelding.com

Fives Cincinnati

Machining and assembly systems, aerospace and automotive production equipment

Hebron

metal-cutting-composites.fivesgroup.com

Flottweg

Decanter centrifuges, separators, belt presses

Independence

flottweg.com

Fortress Interlocks Inc.

Safety access and control systems

Erlanger

fortressinterlocks.com

Fuji Autotech USA LLC

Walton

fujiautotec.net

Galerie Candy & Gifts

Chocolate and specialty candy

Hebron

galeriecandy.com

GameMaster

Louisville Slugger Instructional items and pitching machines

Erlanger

gmasterathletic.com

Gates Corporation

Belts, hose, hydraulics

Hebron

gates.com

General Cable

Copper, aluminum and fiber optic wire and cable for energy, industrial, specialty and communications markets

Highland Heights

generalcable.com

Givaudan Flavors

Fragrance and flavor

Florence

givaudan.com

Glier’s Meats, Inc.

German breakfast sausage

Covington

goetta.com

Greif Inc.

Rigid industrial packaging, steel drums

Florence

greif.com

Griffin Industries

Animal rendering services

Cold Springs

griffinind.com

HBC-radiomatic, Inc.

Radio systems for wireless control of cranes and machinery

Hebron

hbc-usa.com

Hahn Automation

Industrial equipment and technology

Hebron

hahnautomation.com

Hy-Tek Integrated Systems

Material handling solutions

Hebron

hy-tek.net

Indelac Controls, Inc.

Quarter turn rotary electric actuators used for valve and damper automation

Florence

indelac.com

International Mold Steel, Inc.

Steel for plastic & rubber molds

Florence

imsteel.com

Iofina Chemical, Inc.

Select halogen specialty chemicals, iodine

Covington

iofina.com

J.A.C.C., Inc.

Custom machine safety guarding

Alexandria

Jack’s Glass, Inc.

Home and auto glass solutions

Elsmere

jacksglassshop.com

J-Fab LLC

Florence

Johnson Controls, Inc. – Power Solutions

Lead acid batteries

Florence

jci.com

Kellogg Snacks

Keebler Products

Florence

kelloggs.com

Kiswel Welding Products

Welding filler manufacturer

Florence

kiswelusa.com

Krauss-Maffei

Plastic fabrication

Florence

kraussmaffei.com

KRC Machine Tool Services

Fanuc and Siemens CNC retrofitting

Independence

krcmachinetoolservices.com

Lally Pipe & Tube

Structural & limited service steel pipe

Linamar

Automotive parts and components

Florence

linamar.com

Linkology

Security systems for parking garages

Newport

linkologyusa.com

Lohmann Corporation

Specialty adhesive tapes, precision die-cuts

Hebron

lohmann-tapes.com

L’Oreal USA-Florence Manufacturing

Hair care products

Florence

loreal.com

LSI

Menu boards

Florence

lsi-industries.com

Lyons Magnus

Flavorings and juices

Walton

lyonsmagnus.com

Mauer USA

Injection molded caps and closures for personal care products

Hebron

Mazak Corporation

Florence

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

Meritor Automotive, Inc.

Axle, brake and suspension solutions

Florence

meritor.com

Mubea Inc.

Lightweight construction specialist providing heavy duty spring components and related products

Florence

mubea.com

National Band & Tag Co.

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

Newport

nationalband.com

North American Stainless L.P.

Steel

Ghent

northamericanstainless.com

Novolex

Paper products

Florence

novolex.com

Nucor Steel Gallatin

Hot band coils

Ghent

gallatinsteel.com

Pepsico

Snacks, foods and beverages

Erlanger

pepsico.com

Perfetti van Melle

Airheads

Erlanger

perfettivanmelleusa.us

PG LifeLink

Isolated power system design and manufacturer

Erlanger

pglifelink.com

Post Glover

Power resistors

Erlanger

postglover.com

R & R Design & Manufacturing

Conveyor & automation systems

Florence

rrdesignmfg.com

R.A. Jones & Co.

Packaging machinery

Covington

rajones.com

River Metals Recycling LLC

Scrap recycling

Fort Mitchell

rmrecycling.com

Road ID

Road ID Bracelets

Fort Mitchell

roadid.com

Robert Bosch Automotive

Steering columns

Florence

bosch-automotive-steering.com

Safran Landing Systems

Carbon brakes for airplanes

Walton

safranmbd.com

F.N. Sheppard & Co., Inc.

Specialty belting

Erlanger

fnsheppard.com

Skilcraft

Surgical products, surgical device production, contract medical device manufacturing

Burlington

skilcraft.com

A.O. Smith Co.

Water heaters, boilers and storage tanks

Florence

hotwater.com

Steinert US

Dry magnetic drum separator solutions and sensor sorting solutions

Walton

steinertglobal.com

Steinkamp Molding L.P. Mold & Tool

3-D rubber/metal & plastic injection molds, blow molds, foam molds

Erlanger

stkm.us

Sterling Cut Glass

Contracts with the PGA Tour

Erlanger

sterlingcutglass.com

Sterling Ventures, LLC

Limestone mine, crushed stone

Verona

Stewart Iron Works

Ornamental iron fencing and gates

Erlanger

stewartironworks.com

STOBER

Gearboxes

Maysville

stober.com

Studio Vertu

Italian marble products

Newport

studiovertu.com

Sweco

Customized industrial separation equipment

Florence

sweco.com

Tente

Casters that go on hospital beds

Hebron

tente.com

TOPAS Advanced Polymers, Inc.

World’s leading maker of cyclic olefin copolymer

Florence

topas.com

Toyota Boshoku America

Automotive interior systems

Erlanger

toyota-boshoku.com/us/

Trivaco

Specialty valves, actuators, actuation controls

Hebron

trivaco.com

Tyson/Hillshire Brands

Meat, primarily cocktail weenies

Alexandria

tysonfoods.com/hillshire-brands.aspx

Paul Tuemler L.P. Gas Inc.

Propane gas service

Walton

paultuemlerlpgas.com

The Schwan Food Company

Red Baron Pizza

Florence

theschwanfoodcompany.com

US Playing Card Company

Erlanger

usplayingcard.com

ViaCord

Umbilical cord preservation

Hebron

viacord.com

The Waddington Group

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

Covington

wna.biz

Wagstaff

Capital equipment for molton aluminum industry

Hebron

wagstaff.com

Wild Flavors

Flavor technology

Erlanger

wildflavors.com

Willow Ridge Plastics, Inc.

Oxobiodegradable additives for plastics

Erlanger

willowridgeplastics.com

Wolf Steel USA Inc

High end fireplaces, grills, HVAC

Crittenden

napoleonproducts.com

ZF Boge Elastmetall

Transmissions, steering systems, axles

Hebron

zf.com

Zotefoams, Inc.

Cross-linked block foams, world leader

Walton

zotefoams.com

The C.W. Zumbiel Company

Packaging

Hebron

zumbiel.com

Source: Northern Kentucky Tri-ED and Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce