PSG unveils $11M Grand Rapids expansion

A pump and compressor manufacturer recently completed an $11 million expansion and renovation project at its Grand Rapids facility to accommodate growth and scale into new markets. 

PSG Grand Rapids, a part of industrial products conglomerate Dover Corp., has reopened its Blackmer plant on Century Avenue in Grand Rapids after adding 56,000 square feet of new manufacturing, office, and research and development space. 

Announced in 2021, the two-phase project will create 54 new jobs. Phase one of the expansion consisted of demolition and construction of a decommissioned foundry site where parts for pumps once were forged near PSG’s existing Grand Rapids facility. 

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The existing facility was remodeled in the second phase and now features upgraded employee amenities, such as locker rooms and break rooms. 

Lara Kauchak, general manager for PSG Grand Rapids, said the campus expansion was needed as the company outgrew its machining and assembly space. 

“Business has been very good over the years, and we’ve continued to grow as part of Dover, so the opportunity came to expand the site,” Kauchak said. 

Since 1925, the Century Avenue facility has been the manufacturing site for Blackmer pumps, incorporating technology now used in today’s sliding vane pumps, which use a rotor with sliding vanes that draw liquid into the pumping chamber. 

Blackmer was founded in 1903 in Petoskey as Blackmer Pump, Power and Manufacturing by Robert Blackmer, who in 1899 invented the new rotary vane pump technology. 

Dover purchased Blackmer in 1964, and Blackmer joined the newly formed PSG group of brands in 2008 as an independent operating company within PSG, which is headquartered in metro Chicago. 

Today, PSG produces pumps and compressors used across various industrial applications, such as in the propane industry. 

PSG Grand Rapids manufacturing plant.
The two-phase expansion project announced in 2021 will create about 50 jobs. Credit: Courtesy of PSG Grand Rapids

In addition to growing manufacturing capacity, the expansion is aimed at helping PSG scale into new markets and bring additional product lines to Grand Rapids, such as gear pump business for the oil and gas industries, Kauchak said. 

“The gear business is probably one of the big pieces, and we’re seeing a big boom of that with the compressor market right now as well,” Kauchak said. “We continue to look at that as well as other industrial businesses.” 

According to analysis from New York-based Polaris Market Research, the global industrial pump market was valued at $69.85 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to more than $120 billion by 2030. 

With the new building officially complete, PSG has moved most of its product lines into the new space and is working to optimize its manufacturing footprint there in the final move-in phase, according to Kauchak. 

“We’re very proud to continue to grow the site here … it’s great to be in Grand Rapids,” Kauchak said. 

The expansion project received a $350,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant from the state in 2021.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been corrected with the updated total investment of $11 million.

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