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Below are select stories from Montana companies that have partnered with the Montana Manufacturing Center on the road to success. Let MMEC help you on your journey into continuous improvement. Email the MMEC

Simms Fishing Products, Bozeman, MT

CASE STUDY: Simms Wades Deep Into Energy Efficiencies

6-2014--As the leading manufacturer of waders and related apparel for the fishing industry, Simms Fishing Products has long been trying to conserve energy and do the right thing for the environment, which is such a big part of its business.  The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) worked with Simms to develop an energy intensity profile for both its former and now its latest facility prior to the July 2012 move.

Robert Gibson & Mark Shyne pose with solar array MMEC/Deborah Nash photo

About this photo: Robert Gibson of Simms (left) and Mark Shyne of MMEC pose near Simms rooftop solar array.

MMEC helped investigate upgrades to lighting and other beneficial energy conservation measures for the new building. MMEC introduced Simms to an energy initiative, through NEEA (National Energy Efficiency Alliance) and the center’s national affiliate, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), designed to introduce low cost energy saving strategies to small firms that, because of their size, must keep resources focused on production... MORE

Willie's Distillery, Ennis, MT

CASE STUDY: Working the Magic at Willie's Distillery in Ennis

Willie and Robin Blazer opened the doors to Willie's Distillery, Ennis, in December 2012, selling the first of many bottles of Moonshine.

Willie's German Bavarian Holstein copper pot still MMEC//Deborah Nash photo

About this photo:Willie Blazer working his magic at the German Bavarian Holstein copper pot still which can be seen from the distillery window. MMEC/Deborah Nash photo

More products have since been added. And, in just one year, the business ranked third in wholesale distribution sales of the fifteen licensed craft distilleries now operating commercially in Montana. New to manufacturing and distilling, its owners had turned to Headwaters RC&D; in Butte to assist with developing a business strategy and tap into a network of resources. Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) was one of the team of resources involved in the distillery’s startup phase... MORE


Neuralynx, Bozeman, MT

CASE STUDY: Innovation Meets Standardization: Neuralynx Pursuing the Medical Device Market

3-2011--Neuralynx, a high tech firm in Bozeman, is on a journey to becoming a medical device manufacturer where its signature products may provide information that will lead to effective future treatments for debilitating ailments. Assistance from the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) has helped the company achieve the quality system and certification for medical devices needed as the foundation to comply with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), CE Medical Device Directive Mark and other regulatory requirements for safety. These requirements must be met to sell its products into the medical device market here and abroad. Neuralynx manufactures… MORE

Northwest Factory Finishes, Bonner, MT

CASE STUDY: Northwest Factory Finishes Applies Center Expertise for Bold Growth Move

Fall 2010 -- Conveyors are moving product once again inside the plywood plant at Bonner, Mont. where the historic Stimson Lumber Co. closed one of its millsites more than two years ago. This time, instead of plywood, the products are freshly painted LP Smart Side®, a Louisiana Pacific building product, and Certainteed® fiber cement siding. Conveyors move these products into large drying ovens as they are readied for shipment to customers by the new tenant, Northwest Factory Finishes (NWFF), a division of Missoula-based Northwest Paint, Inc. MORE

Granrud's Lefse Shack, Opheim, MT

CASE STUDY: Creativity and Automation at Lefse Shack Solving Worker Shortage in Opheim

The Granrud's Lefse Shack has been an important business in the northeastern Montana community of Opheim since its start in 1977. The company manufactures lefse, Norwegian potato bread similar in appearance to a tortilla and a favorite treat when served with butter and sugar. Today, the product is growing in popularity as a wrap as well. It is sold in all 50 states.

The operation is ideal for a rural farm and ranch community. The plant opens at the end of the harvest season, runs four-day, nine-hour shifts and finishes up operations just when spring planting, branding and home gardens need attention starting in mid-April.

A shortage of available workers in Opheim (population est. 85) for the labor-intensive business is the result of a declining population, a phenomenon that is occurring in communities all across the rural West. Granrud's current owners Twyla Anderson and Alice Redfield are trying creative solutions to overcome this shortage and grow the business including seeking assistance from MMEC...MORE