Archives for the ‘Case Study’ Category

Community Consolidated School District 93: A Progress toward Excellence Success Story

Before the Baldrige Framework for Excellence

CCSD93 is a pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school district that serves roughly 3,900 students in nine schools throughout the villages of Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, and Hanover Park, Illinois. Before beginning its Baldrige journey in the mid 1990’s, CCSD93 was the fastest growing district in Illinois, and administrators were hyper-focused on adding space and staff. The district lacked the ability to devote significant time on personnel development. As a result, CCSD93 consistently produced good students, but was not thought of as a leader in academic achievement or professional development opportunities for the staff – a challenge that needed to be addressed to retain the workforce who senior leaders hoped to develop into excellent leaders. Strategically, CCSD93 had good goals in place, but was not as competitive as it could have been and did not position itself to become the world-class district senior leaders knew it could be.

Manufacturing and Marketing Can Make a Great Team

Two Illinois companies are working together to provide consumers with an exceptionally useful product. Technical Publication Associates (TPA) from Morton, Illinois and Plano Synergy (Plano) from Plano, Illinois are working together for the benefit of the consumer. Plano manufactures molded plastic cases to hold and protect a variety of sporting and/or hunting goods. TPA develops simple, yet effective, consumer instructions on how to use a product. “Our two companies working together has resulted in a high-quality product (Plano) with simple, effective instructions (TPA) on how our gun case can be customized, used, and maintained”, says John Whalen, Plano Engineer. 

Success Story: IMEC helps Nitrex avoid accidents, boost safety

Aurora, Illinois – Metal heat treating company

Nitrex Employees' Fire Training

Nitrex Employees Complete Safety Training



Situation – When Tammy DalBello joined Nitrex as the Manager of Quality and Regulatory Operations, she soon learned that plant safety was also part of her responsibilities. The 30-employee Aurora-based company heat treats metal parts that belong to their aerospace, automotive, and machining customers. By its nature, heat treat can be a dangerous industry, and DalBello knew that worker safety would be one of her highest priorities.

Driv-Lok Finds Savings in IMEC-Kishwaukee College Solutions

The Sycamore-based manufacturer of metal fastening and joining components cut inventory costs, reduced machine set-ups, and saved on tooling with help from a team of specialists from IMEC and Kishwaukee College.

Web 2.0 Best Practices: Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center

IMEC’s new website launched by Modern Marketing Partners with Web 2.0 Technology.

IMEC’s new website was the focus of a case study by Modern Marketing Partners (MMP) detailing Web 2.0 Technology in practice. MMP launched the site for IMEC with state-of-the-art Web 2.0 techniques.

The new IMEC website has extensive search optimization features and complete social media integration. In addition, live and virtual events have both calendars and registration pages. Resource Centers vary for each service discipline with videos, case studies, events, and white papers. All of these features make IMEC’s information easy to find and navigate on the web.

For more information about how Web 2.0 technology was used in building IMEC’s website, follow the link:

Don’t forget to view the new IMEC website. Learn more about IMEC’s capabilities and success stories, download whitepapers, or contact a staff member.

IMEC Helps DeKalb County Manufacturer Fast-Track New Facility

Success Story: Ideal Industries

Ideal Industries leaders engaged IMEC to help fast-track construction and optimization of a 130,000 square foot start-up operation to build hand tools for the automotive maintenance and industrial sectors. The entire process, from building construction to acquisition of technology and the placement of equipment and production cells and the first order shipment, was completed in 8 months. The $16 million project created 40 jobs.

Technology Scouting

Connect with the resources and the solutions you need

An east-coast manufacturer saw an opportunity to increase revenues significantly by gaining additional capacity in a key machining center.  The company produces high-strength engineered plastic parts which are used in products for the electronic, medical, agriculture, and energy sectors. 

The challenge:   As plastic was machined, the excess material did not chip off like metal, but instead formed a continuous ribbon that often snarled the part, got tangled in the chuck and tooling, and risked significant damage to both the machine and the part.  CNC lathes were shut down every two-to-three minutes to clear the plastic ribbons from the work area and a high volume of cleaning fluid was used to ensure that the operator had enough time to stop the machine before damage would occur.  The costs of machine downtime, lost productivity and cooling expenses were significant, and the company needed help finding a solution quickly.

Success Story: Rockford Ball Screw


It’s no secret that the truly successful companies know how to focus.  They concentrate on their core strengths or products, the things they do really well.  Rockford Ball Screw (RBS) certainly subscribes to this philosophy.  Since 1974, the company has been a leader in the production of linear motion devices — rolled thread ball and acme screw systems that help things move, from hospital beds to RVs.   It’s a niche that has served the company and its employees well.

But even though the company’s products are complex, demanding tight tolerances and precise engineering, RBS leaders were wary of becoming commoditized and vulnerable to low-cost foreign competitors.  The economic downturn was a wake-up call that perhaps the family-owned company needed to re-focus, not just its products services, but in the way it managed the business.

IMEC Success Story: Elkay Manufacturing, Water Cooler Manufacturing Facility







E3 review helps savanna manufacturer look at business with fresh eyes

Like other companies striving to stay competitive from a U.S. manufacturing base, one of Elkay Manufacturing’s biggest challenges is controlling operating costs. That’s why, with IMEC’s help, the company’s Savanna-based Water Cooler Manufacturing Facility recently took a deep dive into assessing economic, energy and environmental efficiencies—emerging with money-saving action items in each area.

IMEC Success Story: Plymouth Tube Co.

“Cultural fit” key for streator tube manufacturer in training project

In Plymouth Tube Co.’s search for a partner, not a consultant, to help train its workforce, the stretch tube manufacturer found a winning combination—turning to IMEC and Illinois Valley Community College to implement a Training Within Industry project at its Streator facility.

A global supplier of specialty tubing in carbon, alloy and stainless steel, Plymouth Tube operates a large network of metalworking mills in the United States and United Kingdom, primarily serving the automotive, mining, aerospace and recreational markets. The company’s Streator facility, which opened in 1968, is a 100,000-square-foot operation with 64 employees.

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