Blog module icon

All Blog

Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

May 23

Innovating Business: Universal Tool Equipment and Controls Inc.

Posted to Development News by Andrea Mantakounis

Universal Tool Equipment and Controls Inc. (UTEC) has operated out of Michigan for many years. They currently operate out of three facilities, all located in Sterling Heights. UTEC has announced a new 116,000 s.f. manufacturing headquarters in Sterling Heights.  They are partnering with Quadrate Development to redevelop a former concrete production facility, where they will be creating 45 new jobs, for a total of 80 new jobs. They will need to outfit the new building with cranes, in addition to new equipment lines to support additional work.


Remote Laser Welding, Resistance Spot Welding, MIG Welding, Self-Piercing Rivets, Flow Drill Screws and various sealant and adhesive applications.

UTEC is a project-based, Certified Woman-Owned Business, located out of Sterling Heights, Michigan. Placed in the heart of Macomb County’s Automation Alley, UTEC is strategically located to be in touch with the massive supply base the Metro Detroit area offers.


Complex Robotic Systems, Single Robot/Fixture Cells, MIG / Resistance Weld Systems, Conveyor Systems, Trim Chassis Final Equipment, Laser Cells, KIT Install.

As a project-based organization, UTEC focuses on Engineered to Order systems, and provides automation systems, welding systems, and tooling to OEM’s, Tier 1’s, and Integrators. The company utilizes all the tools, processes, and procedures necessary to ensure successful completion of each project. Whether it is the disciplines of being an ISO 9001 certified company, or the internal Project Management Philosophy UTEC operates within, its customer-focused strategy continues to result in successful programs.


Production and non-production prototype fixtures for body-in-white, sub-assemblies and body structures. Stand alone and integrated prototype fixtures.

Industries served by UTEC include Automotive, Steel, Aerospace, and the Energy sector. With an established customer base including Fortune 500 companies such as Ford Motor Company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and General Motors, UTEC is positioned to support a wide variety of customer requirements.

Sterling Heights is proud to be innovating business in Macomb County.

May 04

Add the dryer to the list for spring cleaning!

Posted to From the Chief's Desk by Andrea Mantakounis

dryer lint
By Fire Chief Chris Martin

Spring has sprung and with it comes spring-cleaning. As you are washing and putting away the winter clothes and bedding, the Sterling Heights Fire Department suggests that you also add cleaning the dryer and venting system to your to-do list.

The buildup of lint in a dryer or the venting system is a common cause of fire in homes. According to FEMA:

  • An estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.
  • Failure to clean (34 percent) was the leading factor contributing to the ignition of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings. 
  • Dust, fiber, and lint (28 percent) and clothing not on a person (27 percent) were, by far, the leading items first ignited in clothes dryer fires in residential buildings.
  • Fifty-four percent of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings were confined to the object of origin.

Are you ready to start cleaning now?

Right off the bat, make sure to remove the lint from your dryer filter after every load. Please drive this point home with anyone else in your family who does laundry. There's a reason why dryer lint is so popular with campers as a fire starter, it's incredibly flammable! Cleaning off the filter is especially important when drying something that produces excessive lint like blankets or towels.

A lint-free filter allows the airflow to pass through it and dry your clothes more quickly. Not only will this reduce the fire hazard, it can save you time and money.

While you have the filter out, try this quick test. Take the filter and run hot water through it. If the water does not pass through the mesh, it may be due to waxy residue from dryer sheets. A dirty lint filter clogged with residue can restrict airflow through the dryer, causing the dryer to work harder and possibly overheat.

To fix this, wash the filter with hot, soapy water and scrub gently with an old toothbrush. Allow the filter to dry completely and then put it back in the dryer.

With the filter out, use a narrow brush to scrape along the sides of where the filter slides in. You’d be surprised what can end up there. This may stir up a lot of dust, wearing a dusk mask will help.

Narrow brushFilter area

With the lint filter clean, next move on to inspecting the dryer vent. By using a flashlight, inspect the area behind your dryer. You should be able to identify if you have an excessive buildup of lint on the back grate of the dryer, the surrounding floor or along the vent hose. If you can easily get to the end of your dryer vent outside your home, inspect the inside of the vent with a flashlight to identify any obvious buildup of lint.

Cleaning out the dryer or vents is another story. It is always best to hire a professional, but if you feel that you are up to the challenge and have the time and tools, it is certainly something that many can handle on their own.

Start by moving the dryer away from the wall to access it. Unplug the machine from the wall. Most of the time, the back grate of the dryer can be cleaned off with a shop-vac, however if you have a significant buildup of lint in the dryer, you may want to consult a professional to dismantle and clean the unit.  

Back of dryer

Next move to where the vent hose attaches to the dryer.

The vent hose may be attached to the back of the dryer with a dryer hose clamp or duct tape, you will need to disconnect the hose from the dryer.


Once the dryer is disconnected from the vent hose, a shop-vac or dryer cleaning brushes (available at hardware stores in different sizes and lengths) can be used to remove lint from the hose. This part can get messy, clean slowly as to not stir up the dust.

Dirty Hose

If you have the ability to access the vent from outside the house and can easily dismantle the vent cover, a shop-vac or brush can be used to clean it out from that end.


When you are finished cleaning out the vent hose, proper reassembly of the venting system is very important. Remember, the purpose of the venting system is to remove the exhaust from the dryer safely to the outside. This exhaust contains carbon monoxide, which is a deadly gas that has no odor or color. The venting system has to be tightly fitted to the back of the dryer properly to be safe.

All other connections between the vent, hose and dryer must also be properly sealed together and secure. Never use screws to put the venting system together because the screws act as a hook collecting lint inside the vent. Duct tape works well for holding the venting system together.

Use Duct Tape

Make sure that there are no crimps in the vent hose, (crimps can collect lint buildup and hinder exhaust flow) and that all connections stayed together after you plugged the dryer back in and pushed it back along the wall. Test the system by turning on the dryer and making sure you can’t identify any leaks from the back of the dryer and that you have a steady flow of air coming out of the vent outside.

Safety Tips

  • Make sure your home has working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Smoke detectors need to be on every level of the home and in every sleeping area.
  • Smoke detectors need to be replaced after 10 years, but the batteries need to be replaced twice a year, even if they are hard-wired detectors.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors should be on each level of your home as well.
  • Please, please, please do not run your dryer unless someone is home. Do not run your dryer and then go to bed. Yes, it saves time on chores but no one whose house has burned down from a dryer fire is grateful that they saved that time.
  • Dryer vents should be UL (Underwriters Laboratories) (an organization focused on product safety testing and certification) Listed and be made of a metal material, NOT plastic. 
Besides mounds of lint, below are items fished out of a dryer: 17 cents, 24 bobby pins, three collar stays, a zipper pull, a safety pin, allergy medicine, 12 alcohol wipes, a pen and two hair ties. 
Things pulled out