Spotlight on IA Innovation: Cummins Allison
In a Windy City renowned for its many inventions, including the skyscraper, the cellphone, the zipper, and of course, deep dish pizza, Chicago-based Cummins Allison has proven itself an innovation leader.
In 2013 and 2015, Crain’s Innovation Index ranked Cummins Allison’s patent portfolio best in the Chicago area. And for 2012 and 2014, they ranked third and second respectively. Crain’s Innovation Index weighs a company’s portfolio based on patent quantity and quality, and the uniqueness of its inventions. A score above 150 is in the top 5 percent of U.S. patents. In 2015, Cummins Allison scored 170.62. Out of 146 Chicago-area companies, including Boeing, Caterpillar, and John Deere, Cummins Allison and its patents ranked first.
Founded in 1887, Cummins Allison is the leading, and only U.S.-owned, manufacturer of currency, coin and check processing equipment. From full-function ATMs to self-service coin counters and all-in-one currency and check scanners, the company serves customers across numerous industries, including nearly every major financial institution in the world.
The privately held company creates jobs in high technology research and development, as well as manufacturing. In fact, Cummins Allison manufacturers most of its products at its headquarters campus outside of Chicago. Cummins Allison Chairman and CEO William Jones and his team are strong advocates of policies that encourage U.S. manufacturing and competitiveness.
To continue to provide the highest-quality products and the best experiences to its customers, Cummins Allison thrives on innovation. The company invests 20% of its revenue in research and development, twice the industry average. Cummins Allison holds 350 U.S patents, with 19 awarded in 2015 alone – for new technologies to improve cash vault operations, cash and check deposit processing, counterfeit detection and cash and check imaging. In describing the company’s patent portfolio, Chairman Jones stated: “A strong patent system is critical to our success and that of so many other American companies. Patents incentivize the development of new breakthrough technologies and ensure innovations can be protected.”
It’s not just smart money at the core of its innovative success. It’s smart people. Cummins Allison employs hundreds of engineers and inventors, like company president Douglas Mennie. Mennie has been tinkering, inventing, and patenting for thirty years, earning over 150 patents in his career. And in 2014, the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago recognized his achievements with the Creator of the Year Award.
Based on those patented innovations, Cummins Allison continues to create new and better products that are improving service and reducing costs for customers. The Company’s patent protected innovations have enabled customers to process currency faster and more effectively at a fraction of their previous cost. Cummins Allison currency processing equipment also contains world renowned counterfeit detection sensors designed and developed by the Company’s sensor technology division in California. Most recently, Cummins Allison has developed the JetScan iFX®, the first and only device of its kind, which can process and image bills and checks simultaneously, and do so 33% faster than competing products.
In Chicago, a city with a strong history and culture of invention, Cummins Allison has proven to be one of the best innovators. And they will continue to improve, invent, and innovate. You can count on it.