SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The next time you're in a blinding snowstorm but can clearly see the traffic signal ahead, thank the producers of “The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois.”
The Self-Regulating Traffic Signal Heater, manufactured in Elk Grove Village, was declared the winner last week of the second annual “Makers Madness” contest.
As local governments have switched from traditional light standards to LED traffic signals, the Termico Technologies device uses conductive particles to keep those red, green and yellow lights free of snow and ice.
Makers Madness, modeled after the college basketball championship tournament bracket, is sponsored by Comcast Business. It's intended to spotlight Illinois' diverse manufacturing sector which, in the past year, has emphasized the campaign against the coronavirus pandemic, contributing to a vaccine, producing personal protective equipment, stocking grocery store shelves and supplying power to homes and businesses.
Voters chose the Self-Regulating Traffic Signal Heater from a field of 311 individual products nominated from across the state. More than 300,000 votes were cast.
According to the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, Illinois generates more than $304 billion in economic output, contributing 12% of the Gross State Product, larger than any other industry. Manufacturers employ 556,300 people at an average salary of $88,691, providing $52 billion in wages and benefits.
The winner of the inaugural Makers Madness contest last year was the Caterpillar 797F Mining Truck, manufactured by the Peoria-based giant.