Manufacturing Today - Spring 2011 - (Page 116)

Bowers Manufacturing Co. / HQ: Portage, Mich. / Employees: 225 / Specialty: Aluminum components / Jim Bowers, owner: “The real magic to what we do is taking a piece of aluminum, extrude it, run it through a CNC punch press and have it look like a piece of jewelry.” aluminum components manufactured by bowers manufacturing have a variety of applications. ‘Piece of Jewelry’ no matter the product, bowers manufacturing is known for its quality parts. by brian salgado Among lighter collectors around the world, the name “Bowers” is synonymous with the Kalamazoo Slide Sleeve Lighter, which is one of the most sought after items in the hobby because of its aesthetics. More than seven decades later, Bowers Manufacturing Co. is known as a manufacturer of quality integrated aluminum extruded parts that are as attractive as they are reliable. “We’re a recognized leader in quality,” owner John Bowers says. “The 116 SPRING 2011 real magic to what we do is taking a piece of aluminum, extrude it, run it through a CNC punch press and have it look like a piece of jewelry.” Bowers Manufacturing is a single source for aluminum extrusion, fabrication, anodizing and assembly work. The company delivers in decorative, high visual appeal extruded aluminum products. Ernest Charles Bowers founded the company in 1928 shortly after moving his family to Kalamazoo, Mich. Bowers Tool and Die Co. – as it was known then – employed 25 to 30 tool makers. When the Great Depression began in 1929, however, the company was forced to lay off most of these employees and concentrate on a new offering. A three-pack-a-day smoker, according to John Bowers, Ernest decided to reproduce an Austrianmade lighter that had a tube-type design with a slide-up windshield and a snuffer cap that pivoted away from the wick to leave room to ignite the flame. Ernest improved upon this somewhat clunky design and in 1930, he began producing the Kalamazoo Slide Sleeve Lighter. The lighter business sustained the Bowers well into the late 1950s, until a glut of Japanese imports ate into its market share. In the fall of 1972, John Bowers’ father-in-law loaned him the $100,000 to buy his father out to focus on aluminum extrusion. In spring of 1974, Bowers Manufacturing moved to its current 315,000-square-foot facility in Portage, Mich., and today focuses on contract aluminum anodizing and extrusion. Its services include anodizing, painting, powder coating, custom assembly, custom packaging, engineering support, fabrication and mechanical finishes. Applications for its products include appliance trim and panels, decorative trim, office furniture components, display case components, structural frames, heat sinks, and sign trim and frames. For extrusion, Bowers Manufacturing utilizes 880-, 2,200- and 2,500-ton presses, as well as pullers and water quenching. The company boasts capabilities with intricate custom shapes, engineering process design support, and handling systems and practices for decorative surfaces. The company’s extensive fabrication capabilities include automated precision saw cutting, deburring, drill

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - Spring 2011

Manufacturing Today - Spring 2011
Business Value
Supply Chain
Patriot Forge Co.
Reading Bakery Systems
The South African Mint Co.
GCX Corp.
Jay Industries Inc.
Johnson Electric Coil Co.
Certified Transmission
Olhausen Billiards
Pace Industrues
RTI Claro
The Testor Corp.
Restonic Matresses
Advanced Automation
Anadigics Inc.
Hermes Cones & Snack Manufacturers
JR Automation Technologies LLC
Prodomax Automation Inc.
Stafford Manufacturing Corp.
New England Ropes
Berger Paints Trinidad Ltd.
Air Tractor
Artisans Inc.
Bermingham Foundation Solutions
Bowers Manufacturing Co.
Ferti Technologies
Industrial Acoustics
Morton Industries
Presstek Inc.
Ranco Fertiservice Inc.
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Manufacturing Today - Spring 2011