Aerospace conference helps businesses hopeful for a more advanced future

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 5:36 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Engineers and partners gathered on Wednesday to network with aerospace leaders and share their vision for the future of technology.

“We’ve got robots that will move parts around in your facility floor,” Nathan Antcek said, robotic sales specialist with the RR Floody Company.

“At any given moment there’s probably 15,000 of our circuit boards flying over our heads right now,” said John Bushy with American Standard Circuits.

“We consult to help them get to a point where certification if implacable, they’re ready for that,” said Kevin Metz, the sales and development manager with The Core Solution.

From robotic arms to circuit boards to ISO certification, these small businesses make up the Midwest Aerospace Conference, and the entire industry.

RR Flood Company is back for its third year with an AI employee that could allow the testing of space craft parts faster and safer. Antcek explains its robot mocks what a human would do.

“This right here is a universal robot,” said Antcek, “What it’s doing is simulating someone who would pick up the part. Move it around, inspect it and what we’re doing is basically automating it.”

But how does this apply to aerospace?

“A lot of the times aerospace companies have machine aluminum parts, so that requires an operator taking a piece of metal, putting it into a machine center, hitting the button and waiting,” explains Antcek.

“The more these technologies continue to invest in this area it sustains the workforce we have as well as grows it. And it brings in advanced manufacturing technology that allows us to keep investing in the community,” said David Forward, the Woodward vice president of operations.

Rockford is the sixth largest aerospace cluster in the nation. More than 200 engineering companies that attended the conference play a large role in the industry. According to aerospace experts, these companies could bring our world closer to a de-carbonized foot print.

“We’re looking at talking about the technologies that will sustain and be developed over the next 15 or 20 years that really drive the industry to that zero-net de-carbonized footprint,” said Forward.

The Rockford Area Economic Development Council says if a business wants to be a part of the area aerospace network, they need to visit this website Rockford IL USA and sign up. You don’t need to be involved in aerospace right now but anyone with an interest in involving their business is welcomed.