Unitrol’s Soft Touch Pinch-Point Safety System (photo provided)

Local Manufacturing & Business Briefs

Discover some of the latest product launches and innovations happening within our region’s manufacturing companies.

Unitrol’s Soft Touch Pinch-Point Safety System (photo provided)
Unitrol’s Soft Touch Pinch-Point Safety System (photo provided)

Rockford Ball Screw, a manufacturer of linear motion solutions including ball screws and guide rails, has broken ground on a 30,000-square-foot expansion of its southwest Rockford plant. The addition is expected to create up to 25 new jobs as the company meets growing product demand.

PBC Linear, a Roscoe, Ill., manufacturer of linear motion solutions, has broken ground on a new, 66,000-square-foot facility, scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018. Company owners credit recent federal tax cuts for enabling the new $6.25 million building and another $3.75 million in other planned improvements.

Rockford Systems, a Rockford-based manufacturer of industrial machine safeguarding solutions, has partnered with Unitrol Electronics, in Northbrook, Ill., to provide sales, installation and technical support on Unitrol’s Soft Touch Pinch-Point Safety System. The product is designed to protect workers while spot welding or performing pneumatic riveting.

The City of Rochelle has been named an Opportunity Zone by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. The designation, which recognizes factors such as local poverty, unemployment, crime rate and population, is intended to reduce barriers for economic development while spurring local business investment. Rochelle is one of 327 such zones named by Rauner late this spring.

Ipsen, a Cherry Valley, Ill., manufacturer of heat treatment solutions, has completed a Titan vacuum furnace for the Vietnam facility of Zenith Cutter, a specialist in industrial knives and blades with headquarters in Loves Park, Ill. The unit is one of 18 furnaces Ipsen shipped during the second quarter of 2018. Ipsen’s ceramics division also recently began collaborating with Milwaukee-based Carpenter Brothers, a specialist in distributing industrial supplies and equipment.

ABC Supply, the Beloit-based wholesale distributor of building products, has opened its first branches in Bronx, New York; and Port Orchard, Wash. The firm has also acquired G&F Roof Supply Inc., a California distributor of roofing products with locations in Anaheim, Whittier and Gardena. ABC Supply now maintains more than 700 locations nationwide.

Astro-Physics, a Loves Park, Ill., designer and manufacturer of astronomical observation equipment, has introduced two new Vixen-style Dovetail Plates for securing astrological photography equipment. The firm has also released new 1mm optical spacer rings for telescope optical systems.

Quantum Design Inc., a Rockford-area specialist in automation controls, has received approval to build a 100,000-square-foot headquarters in the Park 90 Corporate Center in Machesney Park, Ill. The new headquarters will consolidate operations that currently exist in Rockford, Loves Park, Ill., and South Beloit, Ill.

Emerson, a St. Louis-based specialist in technology and engineering, has purchased the Tools & Test division of Textron, encompassing the firm’s Greenlee division, based in Rockford. Tools & Test specializes in the manufacture of electrical and utility tools, diagnostics, and test and measurement equipment.

The City of Rochelle and the Rochelle Chamber of Commerce recently participated in the groundbreaking for a new Love’s Travel Stop at Interstate 88 and Illinois Route 251. The 11,000-square-foot facility, which will include a Hardee’s restaurant, is expected to bring 60-70 new jobs.

Siffron, an Ohio-based manufacturer of retail displays with a plant in Rockford, has introduced the LM Tag with SONR integration, a theft-prevention device with light and motion sensors. The devices provide remote notification up to 25 feet. The firm has also introduced its NEXT 2.0 tray merchandising system designed to improve appearance and reduce labor in stocking shelves.

Littlestar Plastics, a Machesney Park, Ill., specialist in plastics manufacturing, has purchased a Markforged X7 3-D printer for quickly and affordably producing custom fixtures used in its new Keyence Measuring System machine. The printing process takes about the same amount of time as the traditional machining process, the company reports.