Discover some of the latest product launches and innovations happening within our region’s manufacturing companies.
The Rockford area added or retained about 4,500 jobs, received about $249 million in capital investment and saw nearly 2.31 million square feet of new or renovated space since 2013, according to data compiled by the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC). The group’s new five-year plan aims to add or retain about 10,500 jobs, $925 million in capital investment and 38 million square feet of new or renovated space. During the first three quarters of 2015, the region has received 51 new attraction proposals, 10 expansion projects and four retention projects.
Rockford’s NIU EIGERlab, a business accelerator and coworking space, was named the first chapter for Chicago’s Digital Manufacturing & Design Innovation Institute. The DMDII is a public-private partnership that aims to integrate small and mid-sized manufacturers with modern, Big Data-type technology. A second chapter recently opened in the Quad Cities.
Taurus Die Casting, an Italian-based manufacturer of high-precision zinc die-casted parts, has committed to opening a 44,000 square-foot facility in the Rockford region. The project is expected to cost about $6.4 million and add 37 full-time jobs. Taurus also maintins production centers in Tunisia.
The Illinois Health Facilities Planning and Review Board has unanimously approved MercyRockford Health System’s plan to build a hospital campus near I-90 in Rockford. The health system expects to spend about $400 million constructing the new campus with an additional $50 million invested in its current west-side facility.
Downtown Rockford’s new indoor sports center has been named the UW Health Sports Factory, in a 10-year, $1.9 million naming rights agreement with the health provider. Construction of the 108,000 square-foot former Ingersoll factory is expected to finish in May 2016, and will encompass eight basketball courts that double as volleyball, pickleball and wrestling courts.
Kaney Aerospace in Rockford has relocated to a new 27,000 square-foot facility on the city’s southwest side at 1321 Capital Drive. The company specializes in engineering, manufacturing FAA repair services and product management for aircraft. Its clients include local companies like Taylor Refrigeration and Woodward, as well as national companies like Boeing and GE Aviation.
YMCA of Rock River Valley has committed to opening a new location at 1475 S. Perryville Road, in Cherry Valley. The $2.25 million, 15,500 square-foot facility is being donated by Sunil Puri and Dan Arnold, and is expected to open in early 2016.
13 WREX received five Emmy nominations from the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the National Academy for Television Arts & Sciences, including recognition of on-air talent and human interest storytelling. The 13 News Today morning show won an Emmy for its coverage of the Rochelle-Fairdale tornado.
Rockford has been named as the nation’s third Ford NGL Model Community by Ford Motor Company Fund, a philanthropic arm of the vehicle manufacturer. The designation recognizes the accomplishments of Rockford Public Schools’ high school career academies and provides a $25,000 grant to further develop school curriculum. Rockford was named a Ford NGL community in 2014.
MightyVine has opened its 160,000 square-foot indoor tomato greenhouse in Rochelle. The farm expects to distribute fresh, on-the-vine tomatoes to customers in the greater Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison, Wis. region.
Tracie and Glen Burress, owners of SockTabs and winner of the 2014 FastPitch competition hosted by NIU EIGERlab, pitched their product on ABC’s “Shark Tank” television show. Daymond John, one of the investors and the CEO of FUBU apparel, offered $50,000 for a 30 percent ownership in the company.
ABC Supply, the Beloit-based distributor of external building products, has acquired Team Wholesale Inc., a Michigan supplier of siding and windows; Storewide Investors, a distributor of building materials in Virginia; and Norandex Building Materials Distribution, based in Ohio. ABC now maintains more than 600 locations around the U.S.
Beloit-based Broaster Co., a manufacturer of pressure fryers and foodservice equipment, has introduced countertop serving kiosks that create a sturdy, branded display.
Wahl Home Products, a Sterling, Ill.,-based manufacturer of personal care and grooming products, has launched the Pulsing Massage Patch, a wearable massage device that adheres to the body. The product comes with reusable adhesive gel pads that conform to the user’s body contour.