Local company thrives making automation systems for global industries


A local company’s recent expansion announcement means more efficiency, which fits because that’s exactly what Quantum Design does for its customers with products made in the stateline.

“There’s not too many standard parts, so every project is a ‘one off’ or a ‘made to order,'” said Quantum Design’s Executive Vice President, David Culvey.

Culvey has been a part of Quantum Design practically from the beginning. He came on as co-owner in 1986, a couple of months after the company was created.

“I guess I was pretty cocky at the time and I just thought, if I got a chance to be an owner somewhere, I might as well go take that chance,” he recalled. “If it doesn’t work out, I was cocky enough that I thought, ‘well, I can go get a job anywhere.'”

Call it cocky, or call it confident, whatever it is, it’s contributed to Quantum’s success.

Culvey and his business partner, Danny Pearse, had their struggles early.

“It’s really hard starting out. There’s just the two of us and you’re trying to do everything,” Culvey said. “And then, you’re just getting too much work, so then you’ve got to go add a few more people. And then, then the challenge of trying to find the right people that have the same work ethic and attitude as you.”

Decades later, the challenge to find good people is still there, and Quantum Design’s latest announcement could increase the need. The company is consolidating four separate locations into one.

The new, 100,000 square foot facility will go up near I-90 and Rte. 173 in Machesney Park.

“Combining into one building will help up become more efficient, will help our current employees work more efficiently together,” said Angie Ostler, Executive Coordinator.

Ostler is also part of the Quantum family – literally – and not always as an employee.

“I kind of grew up here,” she said. “I remember, as a kid, riding my bike around the shop, not at this location but at various locations before. We’ve been here since 1995.”

Danny Pearse is Angie’s dad.

After college, she started out in the front office and worked her way up to Executive Coordinator. 

Quantum’s products are used in industries all over the world, like the food and beverage, aerospace, and pharmaceutical industries.

“Basically, it’s the automation of process lines, so in an assembly line, for example, in a manufacturing facility – food and beverage, for example – we, our computers and what we put into the panels is basically what makes it move, motion-based. We can also do all kinds of data integration. So, we basically help automate systems within a manufacturing facility.”

Culvey said, “Automation can be anything. It can be conveyors in a plant. It could be a machine that makes gum. It could be a metal-forming machine or something like that.”

Quantum makes panel boxes that control automation. Culvey says there aren’t many places to learn the skill to wire them.

“Our engineering manager’s working with the Rockford School District to try and introduce this, maybe, into their tech program, or something, so somebody that doesn’t want to go to college can learn a skill,” Culvey said. “Because wiring a panel is a skill.”

Quantum’s new facility should be ready to go early next year.

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