Made in the Stateline: Rockford Process Control

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If you want to compete in a global world, as a business, there are many things you can focus on: price, innovation, and marketing.  But, the secret to one Rockford company’s success is right in its name.

“We try to design a process that makes it almost impossible to make a mistake,” said Dennis McInerney, VP of Sales and Marketing at Rockford Process Control.

The company, found in 1983, sits on part of the former National Lock Property on Seventh Street.  In fact, one of Rockford Process’ original products was a line of hinges bought from National Lock.  The company has since expanded a lot, going into contract manufacturing, which is making something for someone else.

“A customer like Honda, Harley Davidson, Yamaha, Polaris, people such as that, have a need to build a vehicle of some kind and they subcontract some of that to us.”

From start to finish, it typically takes about a day or two.

“If you looked out on our plant… there isn’t a lot of work in process sitting around.  There’s not a lot of materials sitting around.  The material comes in, you run it, you check it, you ship it, and you do it again tomorrow.  That’s what you have to do.”

That also allows the company to spot problems quickly, respond, and fix them.  A lot of the process is automated.

“The idea with robotic welding is it’s very repeatable.”

The robots do a lot of the work.  But, operators have to be skilled enough to make sure everything’s in the right place.”

“You build fixtures in such a way that the part can only go in correctly.  It can’t go in upside down.  You build fixtures so the right parts fit in the right places only and can’t be put in incorrectly.”

Sensors and cameras are also used to minimize mistakes.  Rockford Process Control faces the same challenge many of the other businesses have that we’ve profiled, finding qualified employees.  There may be less interest in manufacturing than there was in the past, but it’s a solid path to the future with plenty of room to advance.

“The truth is, is that this is good honest work and you can build a career here that will last a lifetime and that’s a fact.  Learning disciplines of manufacturing.  Learning how to be a machinist, learning to be a welder, Learning how to be a die setter.  Learning how to be a tool and die maker and then moving up into management of those departments.”

Dennis says Rockford Process Control works closely with community colleges and technical programs, such as Rock Valley College’s TechWorks.

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