Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Rockford, IL, Machine Tool and Aerospace Companies

(Bourn & Koch/Rockford Machine Tool  Satellite)
(Owly Oop Sports Pub/W. F. & John Barnes  Satellite)
(Paoli Storage/Sundstrand, machine tool div.  Satellite)
(R.L. Leek Industries (trucking co.)/Sundstrand, hydraulic div.  Satellite) West of here is a women controlled wire manufacturing company: Nevers and Company, Inc. But a street view shows the building is for lease.
(UTC Aerospace/Sundstrand, aviation div.  Satellite)
Sundstrand also had a machine tool building on Newburg Road in Belvidere. I wonder if it was the building just west of Hamilton Sundstrand Park. That building still has a railroad spur. This plant was built in 1957 to handle the demand for their new numerical-controlled, 5-axis Omnimill machine.

A link provided by Jim Ritchie in a comment recorded below is worthy of more attention. It not only provides the history of Sundstrand, it describes the "water power" days of Rockford. Of note is that electric motors did not replace line shafts until 1920. I thought it would be earlier than that.

I was going to add the following Rockford Machine Tool information to the Ingersol Machine Tools notes, but it has quickly grown because of some additional Facebook postings. So I moved this text from that posting and started another posting about Rockford's expertise in machine tools and aerospace.
I remember that several years ago Boeing announced a competition for which city would get a new plant to make a new airplane. (If I remember correctly, it was to build the Dreamliner 787.) I was surprised that Rockford was one of the cities bidding for the plant. Then I read that they have a labor force that is skilled in aerospace and manufacturing. Looking at Google Maps, I'm beginning to appreciate the skill of their labor force. A quick look found another machine tool company, aerospace, another aerospace, another aerospace, steel cutting, steel stamping, wire, bearings, screws, springs, parts manufacturing, hydraulics as well as more specific products such as wheels, plastic packaging, and hammers and axes. But, as was no surprise, Boeing built the new plant near Seattle even though they had already moved their headquarters to Chicago.
Lost Illinois Manufacturing posted nine images.
Dennis DeBruler The buildings were bought by Bourn & Koch in 1984. They make new machine tools and parts for older models.
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According to the address, the machine tool company still exists as Bourn & Koch. Although the railroad spur that used to be on the south side of the building is gone.
Bourn & Koch provides precision automated machine tool solutions for the global manufacturing community. We specialize in gear manufacturing equipment and precision grinding machines with the ability to specially engineer custom solutions for some of the most challenging manufacturing applications. We support 28 American Machine Tool Companies with repair parts, field service, retrofit & rebuild. Over 2500 years of engineering expertise in our archives allows us to engineer custom solutions for today’s manufacturing market while keeping the machines that built American industry alive. [Bourn & Koch]
B&K bought the Rockford Machine Tool building in 1984. In 1985 they "acquired the machine tool division of Barber-Colman," which was just a few short miles away. They manufactured gear cutting equipment. Hobbing is a special type of milling machine to cut gears. After watching this older model actually cut a gear, I better understood these videos showing that model 16-16 machines still work: 1:26 and 8:21.
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They have also acquired OEM rights for the Blanchard Surface Grinders and Springfield Vertical Grinders products.
K&B Home Banner


Lost Illinois Manufacturing posted three images.
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Lost Illinois Manufacturing posted several images.
Jim Ritchie http://www.schoepski.com/.../sundstrand/sundstrand.htm
Dennis DeBruler I was surprised that electric motors didn't replace line shafts until 1920.
Dennis DeBruler I wonder if this is the same White company that bought, and then killed, the tractor companies of Cockshutt, Mineapolis-Moline, and Oliver. Judging from Jim's reference, White didn't kill Sundstrand, someone hired from Illinois Tool Works in 1995 killled it in 1999 and took his $30m golden parachute. https://industrialscenery.blogspot.com/.../cockshutt-and...https://industrialscenery.blogspot.com/.../cockshutt-and...
Rich Behrends During World War II, Sundstrand operated two shifts to meet the demand for machine tools and other products, and women were employed in the company's factories for the first time. Under the direction of a government war supply board, Sundstrand turned out aircraft engine and propeller parts, turbine blades, pistons, shell casings, and rifle barrels.
Chet Ziebka You have to go to China now to see innovation in machining. China has three times the amount of toolmakers than the U.S..
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Two distributors in Cincinnati is a reminder that Cincinnatie also used to be a hotbed of machine tools.

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