CHICAGO—Basketball tournament-style competitions that pit locally made products against each other in a bracket format have become popular in many states, especially during March Madness. It’s a way to engage the public, generate hometown pride and build awareness about domestic manufacturing.

Residents of Illinois and South Carolina recently named the “coolest thing” made in their respective states. The winners are both aerospace-related products.

The Rosenberg Moon Habitat made by Ingersoll Machine Tools in Rockford was crowned the winner of the 2023 Makers Madness contest, earning the title of The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois. The competition was organized by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and sponsored by Comcast Business. More than 300,000 votes were cast online for a variety of products during the eight-week competition.

Manufactured by Ingersoll Machine Tools in collaboration with the Institut auf dem Rosenberg of Switzerland, the habitat is a 3D-printed polymer structure designed to house humans on the moon. Built to house a crew of two people, the vertical habitat is the world’s tallest single-piece printed polymer structure, with a height of 23 feet but a thickness of only 5 millimeters.

The structure is made with Ingersoll’s MasterPrint machine, which is able to print and mill extra-large composite parts in a single piece. Each of the six 23-foot-high panels took 14 hours to print.

“Congratulations to the Rosenberg Moon Habitat made by Ingersoll Machine Tools for being named the 2023 Coolest Thing Made in Illinois,” says Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “The habitat represents the very best of our state’s manufacturing industry, where creativity and determination turn dreams into reality— including living on the moon.

“We are proud of the wide variety of products featured throughout this year’s competition, and hope this contest shines a light on the important work taking place on factory floors across Illinois every day,” adds Denzler.

Previous contest winners include Rivian’s R1T electric pickup truck made in Normal; the Self-Regulating Traffic Signal Heater made by Termico Technologies in Elk Grove Village; and the 797F mining truck manufactured by Caterpillar Inc. in Decatur. Additional information about the contest can be found at

The F-16 Fighting Falcon combat jet made by Lockheed Martin Corp. in Greenville recently won the 2023 Manufacturing Madness competition organized by the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance and sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.

The fourth-generation jet fighter forms the backbone of air forces around the world. It features superior maneuverability and an advanced weapons system.

“South Carolina is one of the most patriotic states in the nation and is proud to be the global home of the F-16,” says Sara Hazzard, president and CEO of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance. “The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a prime example of the world-class products we make in South Carolina.

“This year’s Manufacturing Madness contest featured hundreds of innovative and diverse products made every day by our talented workforce,” adds Hazzard. “Congratulations to Lockheed Martin and their 1,400 associates who proudly make the Coolest Thing Made in South Carolina.”

The fighter jet beat out a field of 245 other products in the eight-week competition. Other finalists included side-by-side utility vehicles made by American Honda Motor Co. in Timmonsville; the Frigidaire single-door refrigerator and freezer produced in Anderson by Electrolux Home Products Inc.; and the 7HA.03 gas turbine assembled by GE Gas Power in Greenville. To learn more about the competition, click