Brunswick set to open innovation lab in Illinois

Brunswick said the Innovation Lab will augment the considerable research and development activity the company currently conducts.

Brunswick Corp. said today that it will soon open the Brunswick Innovation Laboratory in the Research Park at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Brunswick said the Innovation Lab will augment the considerable research and development activity the company currently conducts across all of its primary lines of business, including marine engines, pleasure boats and fitness equipment.

Brunswick said it spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year on research and development in a continuous effort to drive innovation into its new products, enhance existing products and improve its manufacturing processes.

Brunswick said it ranked among the top 25 Illinois-based companies in securing patents in 2016.

The company’s newly established research arm will be under the direction of Troy Kollmann, formerly the manager of innovation processes and emerging technologies at Brunswick's Mercury Marine division.

"The Research Park's intimate connection with the University of Illinois, with its resources and talented students and faculty, is particularly enticing for Brunswick, as well as other firms seeking to expand their understanding and deployment of technologies to advance their products and open new avenues to grow their businesses," Brunswick vice president and chief technology officer David Foulkes said in a statement.

"The technical resources at the University of Illinois are among the most highly regarded in the nation, as are its engineering programs. These strengths, along with other companies within the park, offer an atmosphere conducive to collaboration and learning," Foulkes said.

More than 100 companies, including industry leaders such as Abbott, John Deere and Yahoo, have facilities at the 200-acre research park, which is adjacent to the university's campus.

"We are pleased to begin this partnership in innovation with Brunswick, which will both engage students in building new technology as well as provide opportunities to collaborate with University of Illinois researchers,” Research Park director Laura Frerichs said.

Brunswick said the Innovation Lab will work closely with its corporate and divisional resources to further accelerate the company's progress in its areas of high interest, including the Internet of Things, advanced analytics and a range of human-machine interaction and enhanced user-experience technologies.

The Innovation Lab will initially occupy a temporary location, beginning in April, before moving into its permanent location in what will be the Research Park's newest building, currently under construction and expected to be completed and ready for occupancy at the end of this year.