Italian die-cast manufacturer sets up shop in Rockford – Rockford Register Star

ROCKFORD — An Italian manufacturer that supplies the automotive industry is investing $6.4 million in a 44,000-square-foot production facility in southeast Rockford and is hiring 37 full-time workers.
It’s the first U.S.-based operation for Taurus 80, a maker of high precision zinc die-cast parts. The company employs 268 people at its operations in Torino, Italy, and Tunisia. The Rockford company, Taurus Die Casting LLC, is ramping up production at East Rock Industrial Park, where more than $500,000 in remodeling work is underway.
Roberto Marselli, president and CEO of the Rockford affiliate, came to town last summer while the company was scouting sites to establish a U.S. presence.
The search came down to Rockford and Holland, Michigan. Holland is pretty, but Illinois was easier to deal with, Rockford is closer to Chicago and, most of all, there’s a highly skilled workforce here, he said.
“Our customers, our suppliers are in the U.S., mostly in the Midwest. That’s where the growth is,” he said. “So this is where we needed to be. The labor force here is key.”
When you’re driving down the street and then slam on your brakes, your seatbelt locks up. That locking mechanism contains a zinc component, and that’s what Taurus will be making on 27th Avenue.
Rows of big computer-controlled machines line the factory floor. Each machine is like a self-contained assembly line. Zinc ingots are fed into one end of the machine, which contains a furnace. The metal is melted and then injected into a mold to make the part.
Rockford Area Economic Development Council played matchmaker while Taurus was deciding where to set up shop. Carrie Zethmayr, the agency’s director of trade and investment, worked on the project and then left in August to join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The state agency awarded a tax credit to Taurus to help lure it to Rockford.
Things are moving fast, Marselli is optimistic, and the company plans to grow. It is hiring machine set-up operators, CNC machine operators and salespeople.
“We hope to have 75 employees here within five years,” he said.
Taurus Die Casting is one of three companies to receive a state EDGE tax credit for committing to create, collectively, 87 jobs and $27 million in capital investments in Illinois, according to the state commerce department. Fabrik Industries and Bell Flavors & Fragrances were considered moving operations to another state but chose to stay and grow in Illinois as a result of the state’s high-quality workforce and competitive incentive packages.
Fabrik Industries has 264 full-time workers and is based in McHenry County. It molds components for automotive, industrial, medical and consumer goods. It will create 25 full-time jobs and invest $5 million in a new facility and equipment.
Bell Flavors & Fragrances creates flavors and fragrances for food, beverage, cosmetics, household products and personal-care items. The company employs 179 at manufacturing facilities and research-and-development offices in Northbrook. It will invest $10 million to expand its facilities and create of 25 full-time jobs.
Isaac Guerrero: 815-987-1361;; @isaac_rrs


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