Local Manufacturing & Business Briefs

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

Clinkenbeard, a Rockford-based manufacturer of rapid-production metal castings and machined parts, has been re-certified in AS9100(c), one of the aerospace industry’s highest quality standards. The company has also created a mechanical prototypes division. The first project was a full-scale mockup of the F135 engine, a tool that was used for training at a Florida Air Force base.
Call-center outsourcer ServiCom has opened its newest location in Rockford, inside the former K’s Merchandise. The company expects to add 400 jobs at its Rockford and Machesney Park locations over the next 12 months. The company also maintains offices in Milford, Conn., and Sydney, Nova Scotia.
Woodward Inc. has opened its 450,000 square-foot Rock Cut campus in Loves Park, Ill. A provider of motion control systems in the aerospace and energy markets, Woodward expects to employ 2,200 full-time workers in the Rockford area by 2021. The company has also established a 50/50 partnership with GE Aviation to develop several commercial aircraft lines that could deliver another 100 jobs over the next decade.
Software developer Practice Velocity, which specializes in programs for urgent care clinics, received an Economic Development in Illinois award from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Economic Development Association. The Machesney Park, Ill., company was recognized for its job creation and recent expansion to a new headquarters.
PJ McGuire, of Chicago, won the top prize in the NIU EIGERlab FastPitch Competition, in which entrepreneurs pitch their product for a chance to receive investment funding. McGuire has received $5,000 to help build the Wrapperoo, a shoulder cape/towel that keeps clothes clean while people are shaving or applying makeup. Nearly 40 entrepreneurs participated in the annual event.
AAR, a global provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul services, is seeking local supply chain partners for its new operation at the Chicago Rockford International Airport, in Rockford. Once complete, AAR’s newest facility is expected to hire 500 people in its first five years.
Freeport-based Fehr Graham, a provider of engineering, environmental and funding solutions, has again made the Zweig Group’s Hot Firm list of 100 fastest-growing privately held architectural, engineering, planning and environmental consulting firms. Its placement this year as No. 58 is six spots above its placement last year. The group also won recent accolades from the American Council of Engineers, the Freeport Area Chamber of Commerce and the American Public Works Association.
OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center has broken ground on an $85 million addition to its Rockford campus. Once complete, the 144,000 square-foot space is expected to add 78 private rooms, some ambulatory services, a new women’s center and a retail pharmacy. Construction is expected to finish in 2018.
The Metallic Building Co. has given LandMark Construction Management a national excellence award for its work on the new HMC Products facility in Machesney Park’s Park 90 industrial center. LandMark’s 90,000 square-foot building is made from insulated metal wall panels.
Rockford Community Partners has launched BusinessFirst, an initiative to help companies that seek to redevelop or open a business on existing property. The public/private partnership with City of Rockford, Winnebago County, the county health department, Small Business Development Center, and Rock River Water Reclamation District offers regular meeting times for businesses to seek consultation with key players.
Ipsen, a specialist in thermal processing technologies based in Cherry Valley, Ill., was awarded a U.S. patent for its new shaft seal, a device that enables external placement of the motor of its Titan furnaces. The new device lets motors self-cool using ambient air rather than argon cooling gas; it’s been in production since 2009.
Woods Equipment, an Oregon, Ill.-based manufacturer of heavy-duty equipment, has released its BH65 and BH75 Groundbreaker backhoes for use on compact tractors. Both models can be outfitted with buckets of several sizes and have ample ground clearance.
ConAgra Foods, a national producer of food products, has announced plans for a $15 million expansion at its cookie plant in South Beloit, Ill., with the addition of a soft-bake cookie product line. The company plans to add about 150 new employees to its current staff of 210 by the time the project is finished in spring 2016.
Dickerson & Nieman real estate agents have sold 710 homes during the first half of 2015, nearly 15 percent more than in the same period in 2014. According to the agency, Rockford home sales in the first six months have grown nearly 7 percent year over year, while the average sale price has risen 8.4 percent to about $102,095.