Discover some of the latest product launches and innovations happening within our region’s manufacturing companies.
The Village of Poplar Grove, Ill., has been awarded more than $273,000 by the Illinois Department of Transportation Economic Development Program to improve Park Street for light industrial development. These road improvements are expected to benefit Forrest Pallet Company, which plans to expand its current facility in Poplar Grove.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will begin producing Jeep Cherokee vehicles at its Belvidere assembly plant in 2017, bringing nearly $350 million in plant upgrades and an estimated 300 new jobs. The move will relocate production from Toledo, Ohio, and will bring an end to production of the Dodge Dart, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot later this year.
Officials from City of Rockford, Rock Valley College (RVC) and Rockford Local Development Corporation have joined together to transform the former Barber-Colman factory on Rockford’s southwest side into a new center for technical and manufacturing education. If approved and completed, the plan would create a mixed-use development at the abandoned complex, with a new campus for RVC’s Technical Career Education & Traning Center, space for makerspace and entrepreneurship programs, market-rate residential loft space, retail space, an urban agriculture program and office/industrial space. The initial phase of Colman Village would cost an estimated $32.3 million, funded largely by federal/state historic tax credits, new market tax credits, and federal infrastructure and environmental remediation grants. See full proposal online at NorthwestQuarterly.com.
BrightFarms Chicagoland Greenhouse in Rochelle, Ill., has shipped its first produce order. The low-impact farming startup aims to grow more than 1 million pounds of fresh salad greens, herbs and tomatoes per year, shipping its harvest to Mariano’s, Roundy’s Pick ‘n Save and Metro Market stores. The 160,000 square-foot greenhouse states that it uses 80 percent less water and 90 percent less land than competing producers.
Ipsen, a Cherry Valley-based specialist in thermal processing technologies, has shipped a custom-built, high-performance heat treatment Global Vertical vacuum furnace to a West Coast customer. The furnace is equipped with a 35-inch diffusion pump, Ipsen controls system, an argon and nitrogen gas cooling system, and a spare parts starter kit.
Broaster Co., a Beloit-based manufacturer of pressure fryers, has released five new dipping sauces to pair with its Broaster Express food items. The new flavors, available in 1.25-oz. portion packs, are honey mustard, BBQ, chipotle, wing and ranch.
ABC Supply, a Beloit-based distributor of external building products, has acquired GK Building Supply Corp., a distributor of roofing, gutter and siding products. The acquisition will relocate the business and many associates from New York to an ABC Supply facility in Stamford, Conn. ABC Supply maintains more than 600 locations nationwide.
Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) reports that, since January, the region has gained or retained 620 jobs, received $566.36 million in capital investment and welcomed 970,700 square feet of renovated or newly built space.
Textron company Greenlee has developed a real-time cable pulling monitoring system that can alert contractors when a cable pull has met or exceeded the manufacturer-recommended tension. The Rockford-based producer of professional tools has also introduced a Gorilla line of tools for pressing joining pipes into place. Gorilla tools use battery-powered pressing to create watertight connections in just a few seconds, in a process that eliminates the need for open welding flames and hot work permits.
Bergstrom Inc., a Rockford-based manufacturer of climate control systems for commercial vehicles, has been certified as a silver-level Supplier Quality Excellence Process facility by Caterpillar Inc. The facility was previously certified at the bronze level. SQEP is a measure of Caterpillar suppliers’ commitment to ethical principals and a culture for zero defects in supplies.