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Forest City Gear adds continuous generating grinding capability - 1/6/2017

Roscoe, Illinois – Forest City Gear has expanded its high-volume gear production capabilities with the addition of a Reishauer RZ 160 gear grinding machine and Felsomat FRC 600 high-speed load/unload automation. The system is part of a new 8,500 sq. ft. facility, located in close proximity to Forest City Gear’s main plant, dedicated to the high-volume production of eight different gears for a robotics application.


The new Reishauer offers a highly productive, and extremely accurate, continuous generating grinding process, as well as dual workspindles to further increase productivity by enabling workpiece setup, and synchronization, on the idle workspindle while simultaneously gear grinding on the other spindle. As a result, Forest City Gear has added significantly to its capacity for hard finishing gears in volumes much higher than what was possible before, and with exceptional quality, according to Forest City Gear Director of Operations Jared Lyford. “Previously, we were using our hobbers to perform the finishing operation after heat treat using the carbide re-hobbing process, commonly known as skiving,” says Lyford. “But with volume levels now four times what they were at the start of this project in early 2015, we needed a process that would greatly increase hard finishing throughput and free up more spindle time on the hobbers for rough cutting. The RZ 160 is delivering these benefits, and more.”


Lyford estimates that at current part volumes, some 13,000 hours of machining time would have been necessary to finish the gears using the carbide re-hobbing process; the new Reishauer can finish the same number of gears in just 2,400 hours. In addition, the annual cost for tooling has been reduced from an estimated $300,000 for the solid carbide hobs used in the carbide re-hobbing process to an estimated $25,000 for the multi-start grinding wheels used in the continuous generating grinding process.


Forest City Gear has also invested in several system enhancements that will add even more productivity to the system, according to Lyford. “At these volumes wheel dressing takes place frequently, about once an hour, so we’ve invested in a ‘multi-rib’ dressing diamond tool that dresses all five of the starts on the grinding wheel in a single pass, versus the usual process of dressing each start one by one,” Lyford explains. “We’ve also integrated a Felsomat FRC 600 30-station, dual-pallet parts conveyor with a high-speed FANUC robot to automate workpiece load/unload for greater efficiency.


“For those in the global marketplace that have always known Forest City Gear as a low volume, high-precision manufacturer of one-off gears – guess again,” Lyford says. “Today, we’re prototyping, qualifying, and producing gears at volumes no one would have expected here a year or two ago.”


Roscoe, IL based Forest City Gear has, for more than 60 years, been one of the gear industry’s leading sources for the development, manufacture and inspection of the highest quality gears, for use in applications that range from medical devices to motorcycles, airplanes to automation, even including the Mars Curiosity Rover. 

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A Roscoe-based company makes parts for NASA's Mars rovers - 12/22/2016

What really grind people's gears in Roscoe? The dozens of workers at a company whose six decades of expertise is about to take it to Mars again.


Check out this article by Eric Wilson of WTVO 

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FCG adds continuous generating grinding capability for high volume production - 6/1/2016

Forest City Gear has expanded its high volume gear production capabilities with the addition of a Reishauer RZ 160 Gear Grinding Machine and high-speed load/unload automation. The system is part of a new 8,500 sq. ft. facility, located in close proximity to Forest City Gear’s main plant, dedicated to the high volume production of eight different gears for a robotics application.


The new Reishauer offers a highly productive, and extremely accurate, continuous generating grinding process, as well as dual workspindles to further increase productivity by enabling workpiece setup, and synchronization, on the idle workspindle while simultaneously machining on the other spindle. As a result, Forest City Gear has added significantly to its capacity for hard finishing gears in volumes much higher than what was possible before, and with exceptional quality, according to Forest City Gear Production Manager Jared Lyford. “Previously, we were using our hobbers to perform the finishing operation after heat treat using the carbide rehobbing process, common- ly known as skiving,” says Lyford. “But with volume levels now four times what they were at the start of this project in early 2015, we needed a process that would greatly increase hard finishing throughput and free up more spindle time on the hobbers for rough cutting. The RZ 160 is delivering these benefits, and more.”


Lyford estimates that at current part volumes, some 13,000 hours of machining time would have been necessary to finish the gears using the carbide re-hobbing process; the new Reishauer can finish the same number of gears in just 2,400 hours. In addition, the annual cost for tooling has been reduced from around $300,000 for the solid carbide hobs used in the carbide re-hobbing process to an estimated $25,000 for the multi-start grinding wheels used in the continuous generating grinding process. 

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FCG Expands High Volume Gear Production Capabilies - 4/2/2016

Forest City Gear has expanded its high volume gear production capabilities with the addition of a Reishauer RZ 160 Gear Grinding Machine and high-speed load/unload automation. The system is part of a new 8,500 sq. ft. facility, located in close proximity to Forest City Gear’s main plant, dedicated to the high volume production of eight different gears for a robotics application.
The new Reishauer offers a highly productive, and extremely accurate, continuous generating grinding process, as well as dual workspindles to further increase productivity by enabling workpiece setup, and synchronization, on the idle workspindle while simultaneously machining on the other spindle. As a result, Forest City Gear has added significantly to its capacity for hard finishing gears in volumes much higher than what was possible before, and with exceptional quality, according to Forest City Gear Production Manager Jared Lyford. “Previously, we were using our hobbers to perform the finishing operation after heat treat using the carbide re-hobbing process, commonly known as skiving,” says Lyford. “But with volume levels now four times what they were at the start of this project in early 2015, we needed a process that would greatly increase hard finishing throughput and free up more spindle time on the hobbers for rough cutting. The RZ 160 is delivering these benefits, and more.”
Lyford estimates that at current part volumes, some 13,000 hours of machining time would have been necessary to finish the gears using the carbide re-hobbing process; the new Reishauer can finish the same number of gears in just 2,400 hours. In addition, the annual cost for tooling has been reduced from around $300,000 for the solid carbide hobs used in the carbide re-hobbing process to an estimated $25,000 for the multi-start grinding wheels used in the continuous generating grinding process.
Forest City Gear has also invested in several system enhancements that will add even more productivity to the system, according to Lyford. “At these volumes wheel dressing takes place frequently, about once an hour, so we’ve invested in a ‘multi-rib’ dressing diamond tool that dresses all five of the starts on the grinding wheel in a single pass, versus the usual process of dressing each start one by one,” Lyford explains. “We’re also awaiting delivery of a Felsomat 30-station, dual-pallet parts conveyor with a high-speed Fanuc robot to automate workpiece load/unload for greater efficiency.
“For those in the global marketplace that have always known Forest City Gear as a low volume, high-precision manufacturer of one-off gears – guess again,” Lyford says. “Today, we’re prototyping, qualifying and producing gears at volumes no one would have expected here a year or two ago.”
 

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Optimizing the Production Path - 3/13/2015

Optimizing the Production Path
New scheduling and resource allocation gives this gear manufacturer the
fexibility to cut down on shop foor backlogs and bottlenecks.
It doesn’t matter if you’re producing the
highest-quality gears if they’re not getting
to the customer on time. Many custom
gear shops invest in resources to improve
quality requirements—such as new machine
technology and improved process design—but
unpredictable backlogs and bottlenecks can
remain diffcult to manage.
This was one area that Forest City Gear (FCG),
located in Roscoe, Illinois, began reevaluating
in early 2013. Instead of looking at on-time
delivery from a fnancial perspective, Director
of Manufacturing Jared Lyford began breaking
data down in terms of production hours. “It
became a question of speed of delivery and our
commitment to the customer,” Mr. Lyford says.
“Once we started getting a handle on this, it
really had a profound effect on effciency and
throughput on the shop foor.” 

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It's time to hire! - 10/3/2014

Some Chicago-area employers said they've begun to fill positions they had left vacant because of the sputtering economic recovery.

Jennifer Kalas, president of Evanston-based Irmco, a maker of industrial lubricants, said small manufacturers tend to hold off hiring until it's absolutely necessary. In September her company hired an engineer and a salesman.

“Things have been good for a while and it's time to hire people on,” Kalas said.

So far this year Irmco sales have risen about 15 percent and Kalas said she feels confident that demand for the company's products will continue to grow, especially from customers in the automotive industry. Irmco employs about 100 people worldwide, including fewer than 20 in Evanston.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose by 248,000 in September, a rebound from the previous month when 180,000 jobs were created. Gains in nonfarm employment have averaged about 213,000 jobs during the past 12 months.
cComments

It's time to help out Obama, even though he has ruined our business with his massive regulations and Obamacare.
Dr Vinny Boombotts 
at 12:37 PM October 03, 2014

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The unemployment rate in September declined to 5.9 percent, the lowest since July 2008, the Labor Department said. The results showed a stronger labor market than analysts had anticipated.

Manufacturers added about 4,000 jobs last month. The industry is dealing with a host of issues, including a downturn in mining, falling commodity prices and slowing growth in China, and economic problems in Brazil. Farm-equipment maker Deere & Co., based in Moline, Ill., announced in August it would layoff almost 1,000 workers in October because of declining demand for its agricultural products.

Still, there are bright spots, particularly for manufacturers who supply the aerospace, automotive and medical industries.

Fred Young, chief executive of Forest City Gear, which makes gears for medical products such as X-ray machines and aerospace applications, said he hired a manufacturing supervisor and a gear cutting technician in September. He has at least seven positions open, he said.

“It's difficult to find applicants that have the right experience,” Young said, adding that he's looking for people with the “right” attitude, attendance and aptitude. “Sadly, a lot of people who walk through the door do not have initiative.”

Some of his company's gears are as small as a fingernail; others are more than 2 feet in diameter.

Young said his workforce has doubled since 2009 to more than 100 employees. He attributes growth partly to an increase in demand for American-made products.

Wages at his plant, based in Roscoe, Ill., near the Wisconsin border, range from $10 an hour to $85,000 a year, depending on experience, Young said.

Reuters contributed.

acancino@tribune.com 

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Students gear up on Rockford Region Manufacturing - 10/2/2014

Manufacturing is Alex Diaz’s top career choice, but only if he doesn’t go to college.

Still, his enthusiasm for a high-tech, state-of-the-art work environment with potential global impact intensified Thursday after touring Forest City Gear as part of Rockford Region Manufacturing Day 2014.

The Roscoe company, known for producing gears for the Mars rover, pays a decent wage for those out of high school. Forest City Gear is willing pick up the tab for a good employee’s education and eventually pay them more than $20 an hour.

“It was pretty interesting, learning how to use the machines and the computers,” said Diaz, confessing to being thrilled about the possibility of working for a company that manufactures parts for space exploration.

Several hundred students from at least 10 Rock River Valley schools participated in the introduction to local manufacturers and the opportunities they offer.

They spent the day touring about 40 companies, including Eclipse Inc., Leading Edge Hydraulics and Woodward Inc.

Many people think manufacturing is still dirty and noisy, filled with old technology, said Fred Young, CEO at Forest City Gear.

Young presented some of his company’s gear parts to 20 North Boone ninth- through 12th-graders while highlighting the uses for them.

“Oh, by the way,” he said. “We’ve been tapped to make gears for the next Mars rover that’s going to launch in 2020. I hope I’m around to see it. You guys certainly will be. Maybe one of you will be working here. Your DNA will end up on Mars.”

Young said his gears also are in fishing reels and military weapons.

He then stressed that what he’s really looking for are the three A’s: attitude, aptitude and attendance.

“I’m really excited to get these guys out and exploring and seeing what’s available in the area,” said Tracy Peed, a North Boone High School counselor.

Susan Vela
 

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Trend Talks article, with Special Ops and Rustin - 8/21/2014

As IMTS approaches, Gear Solutions spoke to
three companies about the concept of “other
people’s work.” 

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Fred Young - Northern Illinois Business Hall of Fa - 2/17/2014

Fred Young's induction into the Northern Illinois Business Hall of Fame.

Click on the link where it says" Click Here to Read More" and it will follow the link to the video's posting.

 

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IMA interview of Fred Young - 1/21/2014


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Rockford area company celebrates expansion, jobs, - 8/2/2013

As the saying goes, "When you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life." That's certainly true for a group of people over in Roscoe; and it doesn't hurt that their company is thriving. For Forest City Gear's future, the sky's the limit.

A few months ago, Forest City Gear's owners started their newest project by opening up a subsidiary company, Roscoe Works. They had to hire about five new employees. Friday was the company's ribbon-cutting.

 

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Rockford area company celebrates expansion, jobs, - 7/26/2013

ROSCOE (WREX) - As the saying goes, "When you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life." That's certainly true for a group of people over in Roscoe; and it doesn't hurt that their company is thriving. For Forest City Gear's future, the sky's the limit.

A few months ago, Forest City Gear's owners started their newest project by opening up a subsidiary company, Roscoe Works. They had to hire about five new employees. Friday was the company's ribbon-cutting.

"It gets a bad rap, but it really is a good industry to work in, it pays well." -says Forest City Gear & Roscoe Works Machinist Chad Udelhofen.

Udelhofen, a Rockford area native, was hired at Forest City Gear in December.

"It's nice to feel like you're contributing to the community." -he says.

His bosses, Fred & Wendy Young, were able to give Chad this job thanks to their own success. Their expansion, Roscoe Works, opened in March.

"We make gears across the street, but we have to start with something. We start with steel, bronze, aluminum and here, we either take slugs of material or bar stock and we turn it into the little round donuts or the tubes and chaves that we put gear teeth on." -Fred says.

The 8,500 square foot space is filled with new equipment, but Fred and Wendy are already thinking about another addition and where to put it.

Wendy says we're still a couple years away from another expansion, but it'll be 10,000 square feet and bring even more jobs to the Roscoe area.

 

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Mars Rover Scientist Visits Forest City Gear - 1/31/2013

One of the scientists responsible for landing a rover on the surface of mars makes a trip to the Stateline this afternoon. He spent some time checking out a Roscoe company that supplied parts for the mission to the red planet.
Dr. John Grotzinger is the chief scientist on the mission. He toured the shop at Forest City Gear this afternoon and met with some of the employees responsible for creating over 70 gears that make the rover go. Grotzinger says he's visited other companies that supplied parts for Curiosity, but today's trip to Roscoe has some extra significance.
Grotzinger will be speaking at Beloit College tomorrow afternoon about some of the first results scientists are seeing from Curiosity's mission to Mars.
 

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Forest City Gear Breaks Ground on Expansion and La - 10/11/2012

Forest City Gear Breaks Ground on Expansion and Launches New Business
Project Paves Way for Future Growth and New Jobs
October 11, 2012 Gear manufacturer Forest City Gear is growing its presence in the Roscoe community. After more than 50 years in Roscoe, the company is launching construction of its new business, Roscoe Works.

The new business will be house in a new building that will stand across the street from Forest City Gear’s main headquarters. The 8,500ft2 expansion allows the company to expand its blank cutting business.
“In order to cut a gear, we need a blank to start with,” says Fred Young, CEO, Forest City Gear. “We were buying the blanks from other companies, so three years ago we brought the operation in-house. We’re at capacity now and we’re only meeting 40% of our needs. Expansion of this new business will allow us to decrease our lead time on projects, cut vendor costs and control the quality of our product.”
Roscoe Village President Dave Krienke says Forest City Gear is one of the area’s top employers with 114 workers.“The company has been in Roscoe since it incorporated more than 50 years ago and we are proud of their success,” says Krienke. “This expansion is great news for our community as it opens the doors for future growth and additional jobs.”
Forest City Gear manufactures gears for diverse industries and a wide range of product applications throughout the world. Their gears are in telescopes and tractors, artificial elbows and aircraft, military lasers and medical examining tables, printers and plotters, power tools and dental drills, as well as the space station to name just a few.

Construction on the expansion will conclude in December and be operational in January.

 

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Roscoe's Forest City Gear plans to expand - 10/11/2012

Roscoe's Forest City Gear plans to expand
Posted: Oct 11, 2012 5:53 PM CDT
By Hannah Welker
After more than 50 years of business, one of the world's leading gear companies expands at its Roscoe headquarters.
Forest City Gear has seen a lot of success recently. The company contributed more than 75 gears to the most recent Mars rover, with executives and workers putting their company, and Roscoe, on the map. Now as they break ground to add space to their facility, they look to continue Forest City Gear's out of this world winning streak.
"The true wealth of a nation is generated by being able to manufacture things that other people in the world would like to buy from you," says Fred Young, the CEO of Forest City Gear.
This is exactly what Forest City Gear is known for. With nearly 400 customers already this year, many of them other gear companies, the Young family is thrilled to build on, and they may not be done.
"It's an 8,500 square foot building," says Wendy Young, President of Forest City Gears, commenting on the new building. "Probably back here we're operating at in about less than 2,000 square feet. So we have room for another 10,000 square foot expansion sometime down the road. We have room for right now more machines and more people."
The expansion won't just affect Roscoe though. Forest City Gear is part of an international network, involving companies from Singapore to Australia.
"They want their gears quieter," Fred Young says. "They want them to operate at high speeds. They want them smaller, and so that means more precision. And so we've tried to position ourselves to be able to supply that to people."
The company hopes to open the newest building, which will be named Roscoe Works, in January.
 

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Stateline Aerospace Business Expands - 10/11/2012

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Forest City Gear already received national attention for their role with NASA’s curiosity rover on Mars and now the local company is back in the spotlight as they break ground on a new business.
Forest City Gear has expanded eight times at their current Roscoe location and now a new building and business will be setting up shop across the street. But, the new Roscoe location almost didn't come to fruition on this side of the state line.
“There are lots of reasons to move across the state line and we did look at properties there," said Wendy Young, CEO of Forest City Gear, but the village of Roscoe wasn't prepared to lose a company that has been a part of their community for half a century.
“Despite the fact that Wisconsin gave us some fairly heavy financial incentives to move up there the city was most cooperative and that really kind of tipped the scales in their favor,” said Fred Young, CEO of Forest City Gear
The new 8,500 square foot facility will house their blank cutting business, which had previously been outsourced before the company found it more cost effective to do the work in house and the expansion will likely mean more jobs.
"Our hope is in the next 12 months to add four to five new jobs and add two to three new machines and after that we want to grow and we want to grow wisely and with good growth that we can control," said Wendy Young.
To keep up the tradition of Forest City Gear, which originated in Rockford in the 50's, the new company was named to reflect its community.
"We wanted to honor this community where we have been for 50 years now and recognize their cooperating by naming our new company Roscoe Works," Fred Young said.
The building is expected to be complete by the end of the year. Forest City Gear is one of the area's top employers with one hundred and fourteen workers.
 

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Pablo Korona's FCG Video goes VIRAL! - 9/10/2012

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A local filmmaker we first introduced you to back in December, is getting a lot of recognition on the web. Pablo Korona's latest project is on the Roscoe company that made parts for NASA.

“This story put 'Rockford', 'manufacturing', and 'inspiring' in headlines in front of a million, half a million people,” said Pablo Korona.

The story Pablo Korona is talking about is the video he created focusing on Forest City Gear of Roscoe and the gears they produced for the Mars rover, Curiosity. After being shared by kottke.org, a well-known curator of the internet, the "Our City, Our Story" video has gone viral and has been shared many times over.

"The best response out of anything was to get a response from Adam Steltzner, who was the face of JPL in the whole Mars landing, and he's like 'Great work, good story,” Korona said.

"And to have a person who inspired me so much as I was watching the rover land, be inspired by a piece that I did? Which was really just inspired by the people here? We should feel so much pride in that."

“Our City, Our Story" is the brainchild of Korona whose goal is to show the world how he sees his beloved city of Rockford. Korona comes out with a new video every couple of weeks centering on the different gems of the Rockford area

Korona says since Friday, at least 350,000 have loaded the video, but says the number is probably closer to 500,000 at this point.

If you would like to see the video titled "Curiosity," head over to Our City, Our Story’s website at http://ourcityourstory.com/.
 

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Mars Spirit's Journey - 9/10/2012

Spirit, MER-A (Mars Exploration Rover – A), is a robotic rover on Mars, active from 2004 to 2010. It was one of two rovers of NASA's ongoing Mars Exploration Rover Mission. It landed successfully on Mars at 04:35 Ground UTC on January 4, 2004, three weeks before its twin, Opportunity (MER-B), landed on the other side of the planet. Its name was chosen through a NASA-sponsored student essay competition. The rover became stuck in late 2009, and its last communication with Earth was sent on March 22, 2010.

The rover completed its planned 90-sol mission. Aided by cleaning events that resulted in higher power from its solar panels, Spirit went on to function effectively over twenty times longer than NASA planners expected following mission completion. Spirit also logged 7.73 km (4.8 mi) of driving instead of the planned 600 m (0.4 mi),[3] allowing more extensive geological analysis of Martian rocks and planetary surface features. Initial scientific results from the first phase of the mission (the 90-sol prime mission) were published in a special issue of the journal Science.[4]

On May 1, 2009 (5 years, 3 months, 27 Earth days after landing; 21.6 times the planned mission duration), Spirit became stuck in soft soil.[5] This was not the first of the mission's "embedding events" and for the following eight months NASA carefully analyzed the situation, running Earth-based theoretical and practical simulations, and finally programming the rover to make extrication drives in an attempt to free itself. These efforts continued until January 26, 2010 when NASA officials announced that the rover was likely irrecoverably obstructed by its location in soft soil,[6] though it continued to perform scientific research from its current location.[7]

The rover continued in a stationary science platform role until communication with Spirit stopped on sol 2210 (March 22, 2010).[8][9] JPL continued to attempt to regain contact until May 24, 2011, when NASA announced that efforts to communicate with the unresponsive rover had ended.[10][11][12] A formal farewell was planned at NASA headquarters after the Memorial Day holiday and was televised on NASA TV. 

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Our City - Our Story - 8/27/2012

A film from Pablo Korona:

Our Curiosity

When Forest City Gear first aspired to be world-class gear manufacturers, they couldn’t have imagined that someday they would surpass that boundary. Perhaps universe-class best describes them now? With one rover mission under their belts, and now with over 75 of their gears currently on Mars in the highly anticipated Curiosity rover, those original aspirations have been surpassed.

Founded by husband and wife Stetler and Evelyn Young in 1955, Forest City Gear is a family-owned company in Roscoe, Illinois. Their son Fred Young is now CEO, but he grew up watching his parents work hard and re-invest their profits in the company — this is how they are so successful. By the late ‘60s, the company was purchasing at least one new gear machine a year. By re-investing 25-40% of company profit back into itself, Forest City Gear has developed a reputation of being one of the best gear companies in this universe.

In addition to equipment, the Young family invests in its employees, creating a devoted workforce. “We believe we have one of the best equipped gear shops in the world. This includes both equipment and employees, a legacy of Forest City Gear for over 50 years,” according to Fred Young. When Fred speaks to prospective employees, he does not offer them a job. He offers them a career.

What might be more remarkable than creating crucial equipment destined for Mars? For a second time? Well, creating a thriving motivated company culture with a team of career employees—the kind who lie in bed at night thinking, “what can I do in the morning when I get there?” The kind who take on responsibility, impose their own high standards and like Amy Sovina, have the “mindset something I touched is now on the surface of Mars.”

By creating an of excellence and pride, Forest City Gear has created a legacy for its individuals, its employees and its future.

We should all be proud of their accomplishments as a they are a small shop, who's reputation the world over is one of excellence. Our region benefits by association, and by the generosity of their spirit.

Pablo Korona's Our City, Our Story :

Our Vision - We tell the stories that if you live in Rockford, it makes you glad that you do. The stories that if you’re from Rockford, they make you proud to be. The stories that if you’ve never been to Rockford, they make you want to come here.

Our City - These stories are a response to the national attention Rockford, Illinois received in 2011: from Forbes, #9 Most Dangerous in US; from the Wall Street Journal, #10th Most Dangerous in US; New York Times, Portraits From a Job-Starved City; and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show portrayed Rockford as a wasteland littered with chain fast food restaurants.
 

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Roscoe company helps NASA's Mars mission - 8/6/2012

ROSCOE (WREX) - It's been nine months since the Mars rover Curiosity began its interplanetary journey and the rover has a special connection to our area.


Roscoe's Forest City Gear spent many hours of hard work on the project and if all goes as planned, NASA says the rover should touch down late tonight or in the early hours of Monday morning.

Once Curiosity enters the Martian atmosphere, it will begin looking for signs of microbial life in rock and soil samples.

"Curiosity is going to have some new instruments on it that'll be able to make some different findings," said Fred Young, Forest City Gears CEO. "They're going to a location they believe might be opportunistic to finding evidence of water."

But before this two year mission could begin, NASA had to come up with the parts to build the one ton rover. They asked forest city gear to build 75 gears for the Curiosity, not an easy task even for this renowned shop.

"It was several, several months and that was just the gear cutting," said Young.

Some of those gears are a part of the robotic arms used to gather samples. "They all required 100 per cent inspection," said Young.

And it's not the first time Young and his company has taken on such a prestigious NASA job. "We have gears in both spirit and opportunity, in the wheel drives."

Young says he will be watching curiosity land from his home off of one of the live NASA feeds
.

Posted: Aug 06, 2012 1:16 AM CDT Updated: Aug 06, 2012 1:16 AM CDT
By Aaron Wright 

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Forest City Gear parts travel 350 million miles - 8/6/2012

ROSCOE — Forest City Gear, which says it makes the world’s best gears, may also have the best gears on Mars, too.

About 75 gears made in Roscoe arrived on the Red Planet at 12:32 a.m. today when NASA’s nuclear-powered Curiosity rover completed an eight-month journey from earth by touching down on Martian soil.

It’s the third Mars rover project that Forest City Gear has been involved in, and CEO Fred Young said it’s the type of mission where there is no margin for error.

“If something goes wrong, I’m afraid they may ask me to go up on a service mission,” Young deadpanned this afternoon.

Now that it’s landed, NASA engineers will spend several weeks testing Curiosity before it begins a two-year surface exploration of Mars to search for signs of life, study geology and atmosphere, and conduct other scientific endeavors.

This is not the first time parts made by Forest City Gear have made the 350 million mile trip from Roscoe to Mars. Young said his company also built gears for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers that were launched in 2003, arriving in January 2004 on opposite sides of the planets. Opportunity is still roaming about Mars, but Spirit got stuck in 2009 and stopped operating in 2010. Forest City wasn’t the original contractor on any of the Martian rovers.

But when the company hired about 10 years ago to make gears for Spirit and Opportunity couldn’t deliver, Forest City was hired. The same thing happened with the $2.5 billion Curiosity rover project, he said.

“They remembered they had been bailed out by us before and came to see if we could do them again,” Young said.

Young said the company made enough parts to build additional rovers for testing in California under Martian-like conditions.

“They have to be able to anticipate every problem, some of which you would never imagine, so they can extricate the vehicle,” he said.

While the Mars projects are high-profile, they represented between 1 percent and 2 percent of the company’s $8 million to $9 million in revenue in 2009. That was a tough year for Forest City, which saw business slip and employment fall from 65 to 55 people.

But since then, work has been rolling in. Employment is at 114, Young said, and gross sales are on a pace to hit $18 million, spread among 400 diverse customers that use the company’s gears in everything from commercial can openers to Indy cars to satellites.

Young said that for 35 years between 25 percent and 40 percent of gross annual revenue has been put back into the buying new equipment so the company can keep its competitive edge on earth, and in space.

“We believe we have the most advanced gear shop in the world,” he said.

By Brian Leaf 

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Roscoe Parts Land on Mars - 8/6/2012

ROSCOE (WIFR) -- The car-sized Mars rover named "Curiosity" landed on the surface of the red planet. Some Rockford-area workers are excited by its successful safe landing.

"Really greatly relieved, and I must admit a bit tired after staying up late last night watching it to be sure that it successfully landed, and arrived," said Frederick Young.

Young is the CEO of Forest City Gear in Roscoe, which manufactured more than 75 gears for the "Curiosity" rover. He said his company has been making parts for flight projects for many years, but this one's a little different.

"So I tell people, I say, not only are we in outer space and flying all over this world, but we're out of this world now," said Young.

The gears built by Forest City Gear will aid in everything from keeping the wheels turning to allowing the rover to use its research tools.

Young said he couldn't have done it without the help of his staff.

"It's quite an achievement, and that I'm enormously proud of the effort of all that our workers here at Forest City Gear put forth to make it happen, and so happy that it's landed," he said.
Young says he expects this expedition to lead to many scientific breakthroughs and revelations.

Reporter: Landon Cassman 

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On the way to Mars - 8/2/2012

It’s been years since America’s exploration of outer space has captured the national imagination. In many ways, the same can be said about the American manufacturing industry.

But for employees of a small Roscoe manufacturing company, that fascination is back as they wait for the Mars rover Curiosity to touch down on the surface of the red planet in the early morning hours Monday.

The success of the mission rests in part on some small parts made at Forest City Gear in Roscoe.

In a story we ran last May, company CEO Fred Young told reporter Dennis Hines, “We made gears for the latest Mars rover vehicle that went up in December, so we have gears that go out of this world.”

This is the third, and most expensive and complicated, rover to be built using Forest City gears.

The gears use a new titaniumlike alloy that will help save the project thousands of dollars per ounce on the final payload.

The mission hopes to answer questions about whether the planet has ever been able to support life.

Three conditions must be met to support life, according to NASA. The main ingredient is water, followed by energy and a short list of basic chemical ingredients.

NASA will build on the “follow the water” strategy used in previous Mars missions to determine the best settings to support life.

The $2.5 billion mission comes to a head about 12:30 a.m. Monday when the craft begins its descent to Mars.

In a Jet Propulsion Lab video that’s gone viral on YouTube, the descent is described as “7 Minutes of Terror.”

The computer programming alone has nearly half a million lines of code, although scientists say there’s zero margin for error.

Everyone from the employees at Forest City Gear to NASA’s top officials will be holding their breath as they await word of the landing.

"We shall be holding our breath for a sucessful entry into orbit and then a safe, soft touch down," Young said this week.

The landing sequence begins as the craft arrives at the upper reaches of Mars’ thin atmosphere.

The landing craft, which includes a sky crane and the Curiosity rover, quickly slows down from 13,000 mph to 1,000 mph. Shortly after, the parachute deploys to further slow down the rover.

Curiosity will decelerate to 70 mph where rockets will stabilize the craft and protect it from horizontal winds.

Then, when it reaches 2 mph, the sky crane will lower Curiosity to the surface.

It takes 14 minutes for the data signal to travel from Mars to the command center here on earth, although it could be days before confirmation.

In the meantime, those who have spent years working on the project will have to wait to see if their efforts are a billion dollar success or failure.

NASA plans to live stream the landing on its website.

In either case, this mission will highlight good old-fashioned American manufacturing, and the idea that there still is a place in our economy for companies that make things that can’t be saved on a hard drive.

Editor's note: Dan Plutchak is an associate editor for CSI Media, publisher of the Janesville Messenger, Walworth Cunty Sunday and the Stateline News. Contact him at dplutchak@communityshoppers.com or on Facebook.com/DanPlutchak or on Twitter@danplutchak.
 

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Powerful Video Every American Must Watch - 5/15/2012

At CAM, we are working to spread the message about the decline of American manufacturing and its negative impact on the U.S. economy.

Thankfully, we're not the only ones.

Recently, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) posted a video that provides an excellent overview of the state of U.S. manufacturing.

We strongly urge you to spend 9 minutes and view this video. If you're not already alarmed about the path that America is taking, you will be.

Also, you are encouraged to pass this along to others - especially your federal legislators.

Our nation is facing serious economic problems that are not going to be resolved if the status quo is maintained, and Americans are starting to put together the pieces of the puzzle. It is time to demand real action by the American government in addressing these issues - the same government whose sole purpose is to make life better for Americans.

View the video at...
 

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Roscoe company plans expansion - 4/30/2012

ROSCOE — A company that has called Roscoe home for more than 50 years will get a little bigger in the coming months.

Forest City Gear, 11715 Main St., will construct a new building across the street from its existing structure. The Roscoe Village Board recently approved extending sewer and water lines to accommodate the new building.

The new building will stand just across the street from Forest City’s main headquarters; the sewer and water lines will extend east from Main Street, across Ross Lane, said Village President Dave Krienke.

The new structure will be about 8,500 square feet in size, said Wendy Young, Forest City Gear president. The existing facility is 30,450 square feet. The new building will house the gear blanking department, which has outgrown its space in the main building.

“That department has expanded,” Young said. “It’s taking up a lot of floor space where we’d really like to have some gear cutting equipment.”

Groundwork is expected to take place in June, Young said, and the goal is for the building to be fully operational by Nov. 1.

Actual work on the sewer and water extension likely won’t begin until some time in the summer, Krienke said; so far, only the design has been approved. Within the next 30 days, the engineering will be approved and then the project will move on to the bidding phase.

Because bidding has yet to commence, the actual cost of the project to the village isn’t known. However, Krienke said the sewer line cost is estimated at about $60,000, and that portion of the project cannot exceed that amount. As of press time there were no projections for the cost of the water line.

Rock River Water Reclamation will take point on the project, but the village is contributing funds. The cost of the project will come out of the $1 million budgeted for capital improvements for the year, Krienke said.

Approving the measure was something of a no-brainer for the board, Krienke said — the company has been in Roscoe since it incorporated and remains a strong area employer, with just over 100 employees.

Forest City Gear expects the expansion to result in hiring more people, but how many has yet to be announced.

“It was one we’d like to keep here,” Krienke said. “Here’s a business that’s growing. There are a lot of people who work for that company that live right here in Roscoe, and the new people they’re going to hire in the future, I think, will also be Roscoe residents.”

Forest City Gear did scout locations around Illinois and Wisconsin before settling on Roscoe, Young said, but in the end the company decided to stay close to home.

“Our hearts are in Roscoe, that’s for sure,” Young said.

 

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Three Companies Thrive ... - 11/1/2011

Each company identified a variety of key
strengths and strategies but the common
denominator is the "right people." 

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Successful Business-High School Partnership - 8/15/2011

Forest City Gear, a Roscoe manufacturer of precision gears, has experienced a successful partnership that could become a model for other manufacturers. This summer, they employed four recent high school graduates. What set these interns apart from many others is three of them are participants in the Winnebago High School’s Winnovation Robotics team and a fourth is a participant in Hononegah High School’s Project Lead The Way. A fifth student, an engineering major from Bradley, has been part of the “Small Engine Repair Project”.Forest City regularly employs young students as interns in their high technology manufacturing operations.

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AGMA Foundation Scholarship - 4/26/2011

The AGMA Foundation offers a $5,000 scholarship to assist graduate-level engineering students whose programs focus on gear technology or gear research. The scholarship is made possible by generous contributions to the Don McVittie Memorial Education Fund.
Please help us alert graduate students about this scholarship opportunity!

The scholarship application deadline is July 5, 2011, with award notification in August. For specific eligibility requirements and application guidelines, please visit the Foundation's scholarship web page at this link.
Regards,
Sandra

Sandra E. Detwiler
Executive Director
 

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Quality is the Word for Illinois Gear Manufacturer - 4/6/2011

Knowledge is valued at Forest City Gear, where a tradition of re-investing in technology and people pays big dividends for customers.

For many companies, periods of economic downturn are a time for retrenchment across the board. But for one quality-conscious gear manufacturer in Roscoe, Illinois, the past few years haven’t deterred the company from pushing the limits of its capabilities and re-investing in its most important resources. That company is Forest City Gear (FCG), a maker of high-precision custom gears for some of the world’s leading companies and technology innovators

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Be Part of Something BIG! - 3/28/2011

Forest City Gear has been a supporter of the stateline economy since 1955.
With great benefits, clean and modern facilities, and a forward-thinking
atmosphere, Forest City Gear is a great place to work. If you have loose
gearing experience, CNC set-up experience, or have a great mechanical
aptitude and are willing to learn, come check us out! 

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Custom Gears may require custom lead times. - 2/24/2011

Makers of custom gears are a breed apart from other gear manufacturers. That’s because, among other distinctions, the sophistication level of machinery capability (and capital investment), expertise and process management required to be successful in custom gear manufacture is in another stratosphere in comparison to makers of stock, commodity-type gears.

(See article for the rest)
 

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Excellence with No Exception - 2/17/2011

From tainted food products to malfunctioning car parts, corporate reputations have been damaged and consumers have become more cautious due to a plethora of recalls. So, when I visited Forest City Gear (FCG) to report on the production behind their standard gears, it wasn’t surprising when the story angle emphasized the importance of quality.

 

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FCG purchases new Takisawa Lathe - 2/17/2011

Forest City Gear has purchased a Takisawa TT-200G, a fully-automated turning center with twin-spindle, twin-turret and twin-CNC operation, for its in-house blanking department.

(See article for the rest) 

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Reduce Gear Noise and Misalignment Problems with C - 1/27/2011

Noisy gear trains have been a common problem for gear designers for a long time. And the demands for smaller gearboxes transmitting more power at higher speed and greater efficiency continue. Some popular solutions to the noisy gear problem include enlarging the pinion to reduce undercut, using Phenolic, Delrin or other noise-absorbing products where possible, or changing to a helical gear train. Other methods include tightening specifications to insure greater gear quality or redesigning the acoustical absorption characteristics of the gearbox.

Occasionally, experimentation with gear ratios can limit harmonic frequency amplification, which otherwise can cause a gearbox to amplify noise like a finely tuned stereo system. You can also study material and hardness requirements so that modifications may minimize heat treatment distortion or possibly eliminate the need for heat treatment entirely.

(See article for the rest) 

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Forest City Gear Achieves ISO 13485 - 11/17/2010

Forest City Gear is one of the first gear manufacturers to successfully complete the achievement of ISO 13485, the process quality management certification for manufacturing medical devices.

 

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Warm family biz puts the freeze on electricity bil - 11/1/2010



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Strategy for Buying Machine Tools - 9/18/2010

Hear Fred Young, CEO of Forest City Gear, talk about the advantages of upgrading your machine tools frequently 

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Corrosion, Discoloration & Contamination In Gear P - 8/16/2010

Recently and historically, we have had issues with gears that suffered from corrosion, discoloration and contamination after heat treat.
 

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Northwest Quarterly - 8/14/2010

Walking around the shop floor at Forest City Gear, it’s hard to tell
there’s an economic recession
 

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Forest City Gear Achieves Itar Registration - 8/13/2010

Forest City Gear supplies some of the world’s leading companies with high-precision gear work. These include products for various defense sector contractors, which would be subject to the strict guidelines of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). This standard is designed to “establish and maintain a procedure for identifying and complying with export authorization requirements for the sale and shipment of defense articles, the performance of defense services and the transfer of technical data” by the companies involved, pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act. Applicable products include those on the United States Munitions List (USML). 

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Mars Rover Components Will Use New Alloy | Produc - 5/27/2010

Mechanical components for the newest Mars Rover, scheduled for launch in late 2011, will use a new titanium-like alloy and, thanks to work by Forest City Gear (Roscoe, IL), will help save the project thousands of dollars per ounce on the final payload. 

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Red Cross volunteers to help folks in Tennessee - 5/12/2010

Mike O'Brien is driving the American Red Cross Rock River Chapter Emergency Response Vehicle from Rockford to Tennessee to help flood victims.
 

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AGMA Members Supply Winning Gears - 2/16/2010



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Forest City Gear Goes World Class - 2/15/2010



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Crowning: A cheap fix for gear noise and... - 2/12/2010


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Crowning: A fix for noise reduction and ... - 2/10/2010



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Gearing Up For Success - 2/4/2010


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Crowned Gears Super Shaping - 2/3/2010


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Corrosion, Discoloration and Contamination in Gear - 1/29/2010



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Reduce Gear Noise and Misalignment Problems... - 1/27/2010



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Crowned Gears Super Shaping - In Motion Magazine - 10/29/2009


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Forest City Gear at Design Show 2009 - 10/13/2009



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Design World Video-Gears Put New Designs in Motion - 8/11/2009



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Design World Article - 8/4/2009

An article showcasing several FCG gears in the end-products. 

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Manufacturer Stays In Focus - 5/1/2009



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Gearing up for good times during bad times - 2/1/2009



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INVEST TO BE THE BEST - 1/8/2009

Tall Order: This family-owned gear manufacturer strategically reinvests an average between 25 percent and 40 percent of annual revenue to keep business strong 

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Forest City Gear Announces Capital Equipment Inves - 12/12/2008



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Forest City Gear Achieves ISO 13485 Certification - 10/30/2008



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Now Producing Medical Devices - 9/15/2008



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Roscoe’s Forest City Gear earns ISO certification - 9/11/2008



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ISO 13485 Medical Certification - 9/3/2008



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Defense work remains strong in region - 8/9/2008



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‘You just use your basic math’ - 7/4/2008



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FCG featured in Midwest Manufacturing News - 11/26/2007


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Measurable Results Begin with a 100% Commitment - 9/8/2007



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Gear Technology: FCG Competitive Strategy - 3/15/2007


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Best Practice : Gear Grinding/Hob Sharpening/Worm - 9/20/2004



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Best Practices Surveys: Survey Reports - 9/20/2004



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Rockford College Newsletter Story - 4/5/2004

Story about Fred Young, president of Forest City Gear. 

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Beloit Daily News - 2/24/2004

From Roscoe to Mars Plant made gears for the Mars rovers. 

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Modern Machine Shop Online Article - 10/1/2002



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Hobbing machine ensures shop accuracy - 3/1/1997



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