Ingersoll Machine Tools Get New Life

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A Rockford icon is back up and running. For about a month, machines have been humming again at Ingersoll’s Fulton Avenue campus. The business shut down last April, but a new company is pumping life back into Ingersoll and Rockford's manufacturing sector.

It's a bit like deja vu. After months of job searching Ed Barber is right back where he started running a machine at Ingersoll after being laid off from the company last spring.

"It really felt good to get that call because looking outside there a whole lot out there," Barber says.

Machines are smoking again as Ingersoll machine tools under new ownership. IMTA, a European company with local ties, bought Ingersoll in September and now 55 workers are on the job.

"It's a new start and we're looking to get more business back here and more people in here. That's the plan and I'm hoping it's going to happen," says Bruce Rheaume.

Workers like barber are being hired back at their previous wage. Barber says he never thought in a million years he'd be back at Ingersoll, but he plans to take full advance of the opportunity.

The new Ingersoll operates two divisions. One does milling work for companies like Caterpillar and Lockeed Martin. The other division creates custom made parts Ingersoll will try to market.

"We've really got a fighting chance at doing something because we have the right person that controls it now," Ed says.

Company leaders say they'll continue to hire on an as needed basis. Ingersoll is also building a regional training and education facility on its campus. One thing that helped the new owners get business moving was that Ingersoll had a backlog of orders from customers who couldn't find comparable quality anywhere else and they waited for Ingersoll.