What’s the coolest product made in Illinois?

Electric pickup named ‘Coolest Thing Made in Illinois’ for 2022 from Illinois Manufacturer’s Assoc.
A R1T from Rivian Automotive, sits in front of the governor's mansion in Springfield.
A R1T from Rivian Automotive, sits in front of the governor's mansion in Springfield.(WGEM)
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 3:44 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - From corn dogs to zippers, Illinois is the home of everyday inventions.

What’s the best of the best? The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association held its third annual online competition for the coolest thing manufactured in the state.

“The promise of American manufacturing is incredible,” IMA President Mark Denzler said. “Illinois manufacturers are the backbone of our economy, creating good, high paying jobs and investment in communities around the state.”

The Rivian R1T won the top spot, followed by finalists Fruit by the Foot, the Orion Space Capsule, and the custom blade diffraction gradings.

Automaker Rivian is based in Normal, Illinois. It produces a line of electric trucks and utility vehicles. The electric pickup truck, the R1T, began rolling out in 2021. The company has also partnered with Amazon to produce electric utility vans for the company’s deliveries, those are still in development.

“Rivian’s mission to keep the world adventurous forever is based on the premise that technology, innovation, and collaboration can address our planet’s greatest challenges,” Vice President of Public Policy for Rivian, James Chen said.

The R1T boasts 400 miles of range on its electric engine. It also can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in about three seconds. Representatives from Rivian were members of the propulsion group, who are responsible for developing the technology to get those velocities.

The results came from over 400 hundred submissions, whittled down bracket-style by over 200,000 votes cast via IMA’s website.

“From leaders in clean energy and deep space technology to high precision cross-sector tech advancements to long-loved snacks, favored by kids and adults alike, me more than others, Illinois manufacturers continue to prove why they’re the best in the nation,” said Gov. JB Pritzker.

Fruit by the Foot, produced in Belvidere, Illinois, is a product of General Mills. The fruity, gummy snack stretches about three feet long in a continuous roll.

The Orion space capsule from Ingersoll Machine Tools, Inc. in Rockford, Illinois, was made for the deep space travel missions planned by NASA. Another finalist, custom blade diffraction gradings from Inprentus in Champaign, are used in Virtual Reality headsets as well as research and x-ray technology.

The full list of finalists:

  • TCFW375 Series Ice Rink Chiller from Niles, Illinois
  • Power-Grip LB-7Gx2 Lift Magnet from Rockford, Illinois
  • John Deer Combine from Moline, Illinois
  • Fruit by the foot from Belvidere, Illinois
  • Libman Tornado Spin Mop from Arcola, Illinois
  • TexWalk Print Media from McHenry, Illinois
  • R1T from Bloomington-Normal, Illinois
  • Jackpoint Jackstands from Montgomery, Illinois
  • Orion Spacecraft Capsule’s Aft Bulkhead, barrel, and tunnel from Rockford, Illinois
  • Camper Van Foldaway seat and table from Chicago, Illinois
  • Bison Pull-tight Pool Cover Gearmotor from St. Charles, Illinois
  • Freeze Flake Ice Maker from Chicago, Illinois
  • Orion Spacecraft module control switches from Carpentersville, Illinois
  • Custom Semi-Trailer Bar from Easton, Illinois
  • Caterpillar Track-Type Tractor from East Peoria, Illinois
  • Custom Blazed Diffraction Grading from Champaign, Illinois

This was the first year IMA was able to hold an in-person ceremony. In the three years since the competition began, the event has had to be virtual.

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