Northwest Business Magazine

Local Manufacturing & Business Briefs


Discover some of the latest product launches and opportunities happening among our region’s manufacturers.

Rock Valley College cut the ribbon on its new Aviation Career Education Center at the Chicago Rockford International Airport. (Sarah Soenke photo)

Rock Valley College cut the ribbon on its new Aviation Career Education Center at the Chicago Rockford International Airport. (Sarah Soenke photo)

A recent supplier symposium helped AAR Corp. to connect with 26 Rockford-area businesses that specialize in material repair, ground support equipment and aircraft welding. AAR’s new $40 million maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at Rockford’s airport is expected to open in 2016.

Woodward Inc., a manufacturer of control systems for aerospace and energy markets, has signed an agreement with Aircelle (Safran) to supply hardware for the thrust reverser actuation system on Airbus’ A330neo jetliner. Woodward is based in Fort Collins, Colo., and maintains two centers for product design and manufacturing in Loves Park, Ill.

Rock Valley College and Northern Illinois University have partnered to help students earn a bachelor’s degree in mechanical or electrical engineering at Rockford’s community college. Starting next fall, NIU will provide classes at RVC for students who want to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering. Woodward Inc., in Loves Park, Ill., and UTC Aerospace Systems, in Rockford, have offered to provide experiential learning, internships and employment for the initiative.

Midwest Aero Support Inc., in Machesney Park, Ill., has added a heat and vacuum applicator machine that applies laminate materials to the interior panels of aerospace cabins. A certified repair station, the company handles a variety of services for commercial and military aircrafts.

Rock Valley College has opened its 40,000-square-foot Aviation Career Education Center at the Chicago Rockford International Airport. The new center will house the community college’s aviation maintenance program. About 120 students started their fall semester in the building; an additional 40 are expected to begin class in January.

The Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) has unveiled its Rockfoward 20/20 plan, a five-year strategic plan that aims to create or retain more than 10,000 jobs by 2020. The plan seeks to create a Top 25 market in which RAEDC can align regional stakeholders, build the area’s core assets and provide essential data for site selectors.

EIGERlab, Rockford’s business accelerator, has relocated from the former Ingersoll headquarters to two area facilities. Its new co-working space, where entrepreneurs can access business coaching and 3-D printing, is located at 8500 E. State St., while the Center for Product Development is now located at 5529 Zenith Pkwy. Additional services, including the Procurement Technical Assistance Center and the Small Business Development Center, have moved elsewhere.

Accuride’s Gunite plant in Rockford has won the Association for Manufacturing Excellence’s award of excellence for its modernized facility and lean manufacturing techniques. Gunite produces wheel-end products in Rockford.

Construction has begun on the BrightFarms Chicagoland Greenhouse in Rochelle, Ill., a 160,000-square-foot greenhouse that’s expected to raise hydroponic tomatoes for distribution in Chicagoland. Built in partnership with Roundy’s Supermarkets, the project is expected to be finished in 2016.

Cherry Valley-based Ipsen, a specialist in thermal processing technologies, has shipped its first Titan H8 vacuum furnace outside the U.S. The Saudi Arabia-based buyer intends to process parts for energy industry customers.

Broaster Co., a Beloit-based manufacturer of pressure fryers and foodservice equipment, has installed a computer-programmable press brake that’s capable of bending complex components, improving quality and operating in faster production times.

ABC Supply, the Beloit-based distributor of external building products, has signed an agreement to acquire Norandex Building Materials Distribution, a Hudson, Ohio-based distributor of exterior building products. Once the deal is complete, ABC Supply will maintain 600 locations in 49 states.

Roscoe-based PBC Linear has launched an eBay Store stocked with ready-to-ship, high-performance linear motion items sold at discount rates. The store had more than 600 products listed in early September.

Blackhawk Technical College, in Janesville, has opened its Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Milton, Wis. The technical school’s $13.73 million facility houses eight programs, including Wisconsin’s only state-approved Manufacturing IT curriculum.

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