Discover some of the latest product launches and innovations happening within our region’s manufacturing companies.
Rock Valley College, in Rockford, has received $20,000 from the Industrial Fasteners Institute and the Fastener Education Foundation (FEF) to support the school’s new Cold Forming Training Center. The donation will fund instructional materials, machine maintenance, student recruitment and marketing. Last summer, RVC received $25,000 from FEF to advance the supply of skilled fastener workers in the region.
Advanced Machine & Engineering Co. (AME), a Rockford specialist in machine tool components and metal cutting machines, has broken ground on a 300,000-square-foot, $3.5 million expansion of its main facility. The addition is expected to add about 100 jobs and increase production capacity on its AMROK and AMSAW lines.
Hennig Inc., a sister company of AME with specialties in machine protection and chip/coolant management systems, is planning two facility additions totaling 28,000 square feet. The $3 million expansion is expected to help increase capacity for the firm’s growing presence in the backup power generation market. The expansion is expected to add about 50 new jobs.
Rock Valley College has received an educational-based grant from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois to help prepare high school students with college credits and industry-recognized credentials. The grant, worth $675,000 over three years, will support a “pathways” model at feeder schools of RVC and Highland Community College, in Freeport.
Rockford MakerSpace, a volunteer-run nonprofit community workshop, has opened in downtown Rockford, just off Church Street at Mulberry Street. Aimed at tinkerers, engineers, manufacturing workers, programmers and entrepreneurs, the space is equipped with tools for 3-D printing, metalworking, woodworking, electronics, silk screening and more.
Littlestar Plastics, a Machesney Park, Ill., firm specializing in the design and manufacture of plastic parts, has received a UTC Gold Supplier designation from UTC Aerospace Systems. The designation reflects quality satisfaction in product rejections, deliveries, customer satisfaction and supplier health. It’s the 20th firm to receive this designation.
Furst-McNess, a Freeport provider of livestock nutrition products, and Fehr Graham, a Rockford specialist in engineering, environmental and funding solutions, have been awarded the Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois. The award recognizes the two companies’ environmental remediation work at one of Furst-McNess’ Freeport properties.
Furst-McNess has also acquired Big Gain Wisconsin LLC, a producer and distributor of animal feed located based in Lodi, Wis. The Wisconsin firm, which employs about 100 people, also maintains a manufacturing facility in Seneca, Wis., and a retail location in Benton, Wis.
Industry Week Magazine has named Rockford among the 10 Best Locations for Manufacturing in the U.S. Rockford’s position at No. 4 is a reflection of local employment, income growth in manufacturing, density of manufacturing employment and area housing costs. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah; Greenville-Anderson-Maulin, S.C.; and Talladega-Sylacauga, Ala., landed the top three spots.
Ipsen, a Cherry Valley, Ill., producer of heat treating equipment, was awarded a U.S. patent for a new load transport mechanism that moves loads within a multi-station heat-treating system. The company now maintains more than 100 granted U.S. patents, with similar protections granted in several other countries.
Southern Imperial, a Rockford-based specialist in retail displays, has joined with Ohio-based FFR Merchandising, a specialist in merchandising products and custom design solutions. Operating under the Siffron brand name, the two companies plan to integrate operations over time.
Regal Beloit Corp., a Beloit manufacturer of motors, motion control, power generation and power transmission products, has added a motor efficiency app to its Browning Toolbox Technician app. The app contains tools for HVAC contractors and maintenance professionals. The firm also released a new two-speed motor and a suite of energy-efficient products at the recent AHR Expo in Chicago.