Ball Bearings


Kaydon Bearings make it to Mars

A recent article in my Michigan hometown paper reminded me again of the the industrial nature of our world and its importance in our economic growth. The Kaydon Bearings Division of Kaydon Corp. provided  the bearings for the robotic arm on the NASA Phoenix Mars Lander.

Bearings are pretty much hidden in manufactured products….yet necessary for equipment to move and turn effortlessly and reliably.

Kaydon was established in 1941 to provide gun mount bearings for the Navy during WW ll. What makes this interesting to me is that the plant has been in Muskegon for years and only a short distance from where we use to live. The newspaper article indicated the Kaydon Bearing Division annual sales were $450 million. Not too shabby for the plant that has been there for decades through many economic cycles.

The story here is that manufacturing is still a vital part of our economy. That quality products that provide substantial value will always be needed. And that successful long term business don’t have to be billion dollar businesses as long as they can be prominent in their market. In Kaydon’s case….thin section bearings.

Lesson Learned: Bigger is not always better. Be really good at what you do.



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