3D Platform’s partner NIU EIGERlab working hard to make Rockford a leader in manufacturing innovation.

Rockford has a rich history of inventors starting companies within the Forest City as far back as 1870, when Amos Woodward invented controls for waterwheels, thus starting Woodward Governor. John Nelson created the knitting machine that launched Nelson Knitting in 1868. Howard Coleman’s many inventions included the electric garage door opener and the Check Pump that began Barber-Coleman Company in 1894.

That same innovative spirit can be found at NIU EIGERlab. In December 2015, 3D Platform announced an agreement to join forces with Northern Illinois University EIGERlab, an innovation network, incubator, and business accelerator facility designed to help individuals and businesses develop new skills, mentor, and link qualified resources to the global marketplace.

“It’s a product development organization that helps individuals, entrepreneurs, and innovators who have physical or digital products and get them to marketplace,” said NIU EIGERlab’s Executive Director, Dan Cataldi.

Charlie Hare, who owns a fire and water restoration company, came up with a unique device that can save his entire industry money. Hare took his idea to NIU EIGERlab’s Center for Product Development, where Mike Cobert and Jeff Metters helped transform his thoughts, via a computer model, into a physical prototype.

“They set it all up in CAD (Computer Assisted Design) for you,” said Hare. “They actually did one on a 3-D printer. They’re not functional, but they just speed up the process.”

From goose decoys to a working hand, if it can be sketched on paper, the Product Development Center can make it. It’s an evolving process, much like the organization itself.

Entrepreneurs like Hare, who in addition to his aerator, is working on several other tools and devices with the help of NIU EIGERlab. “They are nothing but a great resource,” said Hare. “I would highly recommend them.”

Read More: http://www.mystateline.com/news/special-report-rockfords-invention-engine

This program was broadcasted on ABC affiliate station, the WRVO in Rockford, IL on Friday, March 4th, 2016. Video Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting