• 1-877-741-2410
June 21, 2019 Jeremy Boren

Illinois Manufacturing, Smucker’s Adds Uncrustables Capacity, 3D Printing with Regular Ink

Manufacturing is the ‘largest economic engine’ in Illinois

A new study commissioned by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association seeks to raise awareness about an industry that, it says, employs 1 in 10 Illinoisans.

Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, said the sector is the state’s “largest economic engine,” employing about 600,000 workers directly and hundreds of thousands more in ancillary manufacturing jobs or jobs supported by industry spending.

“People are familiar with Caterpillar and John Deere, but they might not know that food products comprise the single largest sector of the state’s manufacturing, with chemicals second and machinery third.”

Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers Association

Illinois has struggled to slow population loss and competed with neighboring Midwestern states that have offered tax benefits to entice manufacturers to relocate. Even so, the report highlights the huge economic impact that manufacturing has on the state.

Even so, the report highlights the huge economic impact that manufacturing has on the state.

Of the $65.2 billion in exports from Illinois in 2017, 93 percent came from manufactured goods and products, according toThe Center Square.

Some quick facts about exports from Illinois from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative:

  • In 2018, Illinois goods exports were $65.4 billion, an increase of 22 percent ($12 billion) from its export level in 2008.
  • Illinois was the 6th largest state exporter of goods in 2018.
  • Goods exports accounted for 7.9 percent of Illinois GDP in 2017.
  • The state’s largest manufacturing export category is machinery, except electrical, which accounted for $11.8 billion of Illinois’s total goods exports in 2018.
  • Other top manufacturing exports are chemicals ($9.0 billion), computer & electronic products ($8.6 billion), transportation equipment ($7.9 billion), and food & kindred products ($4.1 billion).

Uncrustables are so popular, Smucker’s doesn’t need to advertise

In a wide-ranging interview with Crain’s Cleveland Business, Smucker’s CEO Mark Smucker revealed that the company known for jams, jellies and peanut butter can’t make its popular Uncrustables ready-made sandwiches fast enough.

Smucker’s produces 2.3 million Uncrustables a day at a plant in Kentucky. It’s still not enough to keep up with demand, and it’s why Smucker’s is building a $340 million plant in Longmont, Colo., that is expected to employ about 500 people to expand its Uncrustables capacity.

It’s set to open in late 2019. It will be the company’s first facility in Colorado.

“The reason we’re building that plant is there’s so much demand for the product. We could easily double the business … and we haven’t needed to advertise the product, because as soon as we did, we couldn’t keep up with demand. … So it’s been almost nothing.”

Mark Smucker, CEO of Smucker’s

Uncrustables PB&Js are frozen, disc-shaped sandwiches. They come in several varieties including PB and grape jelly, PB and honey spread on whole wheat and chocolate-flavored hazelnut.

Once the new plant opens, the company plans to launch a nationwide marketing campaign to advertise Uncrustables.

MIT spinoff prints 3D images with regular ink for consumer packaged goods industry

MIT researchers have developed a method known as nonconvex optimization that uses normal ink and printing presses to produce impressive 3D images on packaged goods, according to MIT News.


The MIT startup company, Lumii, “uses complex algorithms to precisely place tens of millions of dots of ink on two sides of clear film to create light fields that achieve the same visual effects as special films and lenses. The designs add depth, motion, and chromatic effect to packages, labels, IDs, and more. “

Founders Tom Baran and Matt Hirsch say they’re targeting the $200 billion consumer packaged goods industry with their product, which is launching on Portico Brewing’s Fuzzy Logic beer cans. The cans display some cool-looking 3D triangles.

Lumii’s founders say the technology is a less expensive method of producing 3D or holographic effects on printed goods compared to the foils that are commonly used on ID cards and other applications.

Join GrayMatter at Transform 2019

Time (and room) is running out to register for Transform 2019, GrayMatter’s Industrial Intelligence Conference set for July 30 – Aug. 1 in Put-in-Bay, Ohio.

If you’ve been thinking of registering, now is the time!

We’ve added to our speaker and breakout session list, so be sure to check out our prospectus and share it with your team (and your boss). GrayMatter is hosting speakers from Smucker’s, Amazon, Bell and many more

Learn more about the event and sign up here.

Questions? Email us.

, , ,

Jeremy Boren

Jeremy is GrayMatter's Brand Manager and the author of TechHub and the emPOWERUP Podcast. He writes about digital solutions, trends and culture in the world of operational technology. Jeremy's background is in daily journalism. He has a passion for storytelling and enjoys highlighting the technologies and professionals taking on complex challenges in manufacturing, energy, cybersecurity and infrastructure.