Celebrating 70 Years of Precision Machining Excellence!

Celebrating 70 Years of Precision Machining Excellence!

Micron recently celebrated its 70th birthday.

At the Walton Lake Lodge in Pierson Michigan, we gathered with friends, families, industry partners, customers, and community to appreciate what we’ve been able to build together.

Responses to the invitations were amazing. When all was said and done, we had nearly double the number of attendees than what we originally expected. It was very touching to see so much support.

Micron’s Story

Ed Preston started Micron in 1952 in the basement of The Grand Rapids Bavarian Inn. At the time, Micron produced parts with Browne and Sharpe screw machines. Three relocations later, Micron was able to build our current shop in 1964, and expand in 1983 to its current footprint.

Micron humble beginnings: Micron started in the basement below the Bavarian Inn in 1952.

At the turn of the century, Micron became ISO 9001 certified, embraced lean manufacturing, and purchased its first CNC lathe. These events marked a rapid transition period to a modern CNC job shop. A short time later, in 2008, Micron received a Shingo Silver Medallion for Operational Excellence — a hugely prestigious recognition of what we were able to achieve with regards to the development of our systems and lean operation.

More recently, Micron can boast of many plant improvements and optimizations, including machine standardization, plant-wide AC, and, soon, a huge upgrade to our parts-washing system.

The Future Awaits

A milestone such as this is a great time to look back at the past 70 years and admire what we’ve accomplished. But more exciting yet is to consider this as the foundation from which we will continue forward.

As a family business, Micron is very encouraged to see third-generation family members working at the company. And as a manufacturing company, we are likewise encouraged to see the next generation of machinists and other workers enter our ranks.

This ensures not only that Micron will be able to persist, but that the next generation of American manufacturing is coming into focus. It foretells that the American Dream is alive and well. That, through hard work, we can create a means to provide for our families and raise happy and healthy children, who in turn will continue the cycle. Perhaps a 70th anniversary is particularly moving because we can relate it to the significance of our own three score and ten.

Chatting by the campfire
The Preston Family

Special Thanks

We’d like to thank everyone who attended, as well as those who couldn’t attend but sent their best. Thank you to the Walton Lake Lodge for accommodating us and making the party planning easier by being on top of everything venue-related. And a big thanks to our caterer, Mission Barbecue — the food was excellent.

If you missed the party, but wished you could’ve been there, let us know. We have a few extra door gifts we’d be happy to share.

Thank You to Our Workers

Thank You to Our Workers

This Labor Day weekend, Micron would like to thank our workers.

Your efforts keep the machines running, make the workplace safe and clean, and allow us to deliver outstanding products, service, and reliability to our customers.

What’s more: We have the commitment and dedication of our worker’s to thank for Micron’s transformation from a screw machine shop to a lean CNC operation.

Labor Day is typically what we see as the last weekend of summer and the beginning of fall. So with that, we encourage everyone to get out there over the long weekend, and look forward to autumn weather.

July Stir-fry? Mill operator Aaron Johnson Caters

July Stir-fry? Mill operator Aaron Johnson Caters

For Aaron Johnson, living the dream means catering Mongolian Barbecue-style stir-fry over a 600+ degree griddle. We are happy to support that!

The luncheon brought Aaron’s passion for cooking and natural showmanship to the forefront. A 90-degree high temp for the sunny July day couldn’t keep him from singing and entertaining as he cooked.

The food was outstanding.

Beyond the grill: A mill operator with a knack for optimization

In the shop, Aaron optimized the Hurco mill for quick setup time and high run capacity. He specializes in 5S — a methodology of workplace organization that results in clean, safe, and efficient workspaces.

His overhaul of the mill was extensive — including job-specific setup boxes, a precisely organized and labelled tooling cabinet, and a fixture plate within the mill that allows the operator to quickly make and change setups.

“The end result is that most of the tooling an operator needs to set up and run the machine is within 2 feet of the main work area,” said operations manager John Bogardus.

This speeds up setup and operation time. For instance, where the mill could once run five of a certain part per hour, now it can run eight. And the mill can now produce eight parts at a time where before it was limited to two — a big difference for a hand-loaded machine.

“He brought a lot of knowledge about mills to Micron and in turn he’s learned a lot about lathes,” Bogardus said.

The story of the grill

Aaron came by his stir-fry acumen by working at a Mongolian grill restaurant. When he saw a grill on auction, he found himself one of the only people to bid on it.

Transporting his winnings was another story. Aaron had to call in some favors, borrowing a trailer, a bobcat, and plywood boards for a makeshift ramp.

“The grill was basically the only thing I had in the beginning. I remember my first grad party the host let me use his trailer,” Aaron said.

But he’s since scaled up his operation, adding the stand-up tables, his own trailer, lots of tools, and a hand-crafted buffet table he and his dad built together.

AJ’s Hillybilly Grill caters events for 50 people and up. They offer a customizable meal, where guests can choose from an array of meats, vegetables, seasonings and sauces, which are then cooked to order on the searing hot griddle. Also on the menu: a griddle-cooked mac and cheese that is fantastic.

Join our team

Micron is an inspired workplace crewed by passionate people. We have open positions for machinists and a clean and pack technician. Apply here if you are interested in living and promoting the American dream with us.