Tuff Automation is Expanding! by Erica Bacon

Tuff Automation has been providing custom material handling services since 1993. We are unique in that we custom build each order to meet our customer’s exact specifications. Our distinctive products cannot be found in a catalog. We are known for our quick turn-around times and lower prices. Over the last several years, we have been growing exponentially. Our sales have increased by about 35% in the last 5 years, and we expect them to increase by another 40% by 2022!

With growth comes new challenges, such as space and staffing. Due to our growth we have been leasing a second facility. This has allowed us to continue providing quality products to our customers and reach our goals. Although this space has helped, having all of our operations in the same location is ideal. We are happy to announce that we have begun construction on an addition to our main location. The project is set to be completed by October 1, 2017. We are excited about this new addition and the benefits it will offer. Once the construction is finished, we will be able to assemble complete systems on site. The building will feature a 30 foot ceiling which will allow us to build tall lifts on site as well.

So, why has Tuff Automation had so much success? We contribute it to the people working for us. We have been blessed with many caring and talented employees that make sure our customers are satisfied. As we expand, we will look for more talented people to add to our team. This will allow us to continue to provide exemplary service to our clients. We are looking forward to the future as we continue to grow.

Do you have a question or want to know more about our services? Contact us via email at or by phone at 616-735-3939.

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Eighth grade students come to Tuff to learn about careers in material handling by Erica Bacon


Every year in May, we invited the eighth grade class at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic School to visit Tuff Automation to learn about the careers one can hold in an establishment like ours. Students come through our doors, clipboards in hand, ready to take notes, and we hope that they walk back out of them with a new understanding of material handling and a budding interest in the science and math behind it. We started the day by introducing Tuff Automation and briefly explaining what material handling is. Then we showed a video that compiled footage of machinery we've made here at Tuff, so students could see some of our products in motion. Once that was finished, we began a tour of the facility.

eighth grade students assumption catholic

The students learned all about the occupations of mechanical engineers, controls engineers, shop managers, welders, builders, and technical writers. They got to see some projects in progress, and learn all about the steps that go into taking a machine from paper to product. Perhaps the coolest thing the students got to see was the laser cutter, shear press, and brake press in motion. They were intrigued about how the laser cutter made such precise movements, and the sheer amount of weight the brake press wields to effortlessly bend steel into perfect angles.

laser cutter demonstration tuff automation

After we finished the tour of our facility, we walked the students across the street to our neighbors at Savant Automation, where they received a comprehensive presentation of the company’s history and product line. Students got to see Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGV’s) as they looked in the ‘50s and even got to see some modern ones zipping around Savant’s shop floor. They learned about the different applications of AGV’s and toyed with the sensors of the ones on the floor to see them stop and go again.

savant automation agv automatic guided vehicle

When the students had to leave to go to the next destination on their career exploration field trip, we hope they walked away from Tuff and Savant feeling the way many of us do at the end of a day at work: like we’ve just been in an episode of “How It’s Made” on the Discovery Channel. We hope that this feeling engendered in them an eagerness to learn more about the truly grandiose processes behind the products they interact with on a daily basis. We hope that they know that they can get a cool job without a college education, if that’s what suits them.

Most of all, we hope that they allow their experiences at Tuff and Savant to shape their aspirations for the future.

Photos by Elisabeth Sochacki