MFG Game Changers: M R Products Inc. - Home of Mr. Chain

This article appeared in the Mar/Apr 2024 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

Manufacturers have a critical need to keep people safe by creating barriers around the shop floor. For more than 64 years, a small business in a small town has made a global impact on safety by making reusable, safe and lightweight chain barriers.

M R Products Inc., Home of Mr. Chain, invented the process of making plastic chain in the 1970s with the goal of protecting people, places and property, says Ryan Schultz, CEO and President of the business, which employs 90 individuals.

An alternative to caution tape, cloth or rope barriers, the chains are available through major industrial distributors as well as consumer goods stores. Based in Copemish, a village in Manistee County with approximately 200 residents, Mr. Chain’s team has updated their processes and products over the years to keep up with demand.

Although they don’t take the spotlight, the chains are everywhere: in large businesses, small business, outdoors and even on residential properties. A few examples of how they are used include:

  • Setting up queue lines, such as those at airports, amusement parks and movie theaters.
  • Avoiding hazards, such as by blocking off an unsafe boating dock.
  • Creating barriers in buildings and on properties as needed to meet Occupational Health and Safety Administration requirements.
  • Creating barriers for temporary closures, such as for cleaning or to block off access to malfunctioning equipment.
  • Crowd control at entertainment venues.

“The chains are very helpful in an industrial setting if they want to block people from going into a certain area,” Schultz says, adding that they have nine active patents, including one for magnet rings that connect chains to each other. “We try to give people the ability to use our products anywhere they want to.”

Schultz says the need for the product grew significantly during the pandemic as businesses set up barriers for social distancing purposes. Since then, the need continues to grow, he says, and they are committed to meeting the demand from their customers. For that reason, they are focused on staying up to date, such as by recently implementing internal technology to optimize production times.

“We’re a small- to medium-sized manufacturer in a small town in Michigan that is doing business with multi-billion-dollar companies around the world, so our systems have to work with their systems,” Schultz says. “We’re continually advancing technology and updating our systems to ensure that we can meet our customers’ evolving processes and technologies.”

Mr. Chain’s reusable, recyclable and lightweight chains have created a versatile solution for a wide variety of businesses, as well as for consumers. Through its longevity and ingenuity, the company demonstrates how a small business can make an impactful contribution to the manufacturing industry around the world.

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Headquarters: Copemish

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