Kelley Patrick, lead manufacturing engineer at DMDII, showcases cutting-edge metrology capabilities. (Photo: Tedescopictures.com)

Why Iowa Firms Should Find Their Way to Manufacturing USA

By Mike O’Donnell

At this very moment, the future of American manufacturing is being written at nine specially linked institutes fueled by $2.1 billion from the U.S. government, research universities, and hundreds of American companies.

It’s known as the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) – or, following a rebranding campaign launched in mid-September, as “Manufacturing USA.” If you aren’t familiar with it, you should begin educating yourself as soon as possible. Because your ability to compete could change dramatically, depending on the work taking place there and how quickly you’re willing and/or able to embrace it.

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the American Athletics Inc. Elite Cheer Stand.

CIRAS 3D Printer Builds a Foundation for Future Success, more Stable Cheerleaders

A trailblazing exploration of metal additive manufacturing as a new way for Iowa companies to make tooling could soon reap rewards in terms of cheerleaders with better balance.

American Athletic Inc., a Jefferson, Iowa-based sports equipment manufacturer, plans to launch a new product this fall aimed at helping high school and college cheerleaders around the country find a safer way to strengthen leg muscles and learn the kind of balance necessary for standing in someone’s hands. American Athletic describes its new EliteTM Cheer Stand as a safer, closer-to-the-floor way for cheerleaders to train. The product, which also was tested by Iowa State University cheerleaders, includes multiple plastic parts produced by Ottumwa-based Angstrom Precision Molding—using a mold built by CIRAS’ metal 3D printer.

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CIRAS Helps Nonprofits Improve, Continue to Provide Jobs

 Loy Van’t Hul believes one of the keys for Double HH Manufacturing is a focus on getting the job done.

“We provide quality products for a wide range of industries, and who we use as an operator, whether that person has a disability or not, shouldn’t make a difference,” said Van’t Hul, Double HH’s director of manufacturing operations.

Double HH (a subsidiary of the broader Rock Valley-based Hope Haven Inc.) is one of a half-dozen CIRAS clients who exist both as nonprofit companies and as vocational rehabilitation firms, using physically or intellectually disabled workers to provide products or services.

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Sioux City Foundry Co. combined its 145th anniversary celebration with an invitation-only tour.

CIRAS wraps up month-long “MFG Day” with Pizza, PowerPoint

Thanks to CIRAS and its partners, an estimated 8,000 or more Iowans ended October with a higher appreciation for the people who make a living making things.

School children, parents and community leaders attended a total of 149 events in October to commemorate national Manufacturing Day – an annual October 7 industry celebration that Iowa stretches into month-long educational opportunity.

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CCUR Director Celebrates a Year “On the Edge of Where Science Is”

Kevin Keener sees enormous potential in the innovative projects taking root at Iowa State University’s Center for Crops Utilization Research (CCUR).

Keener, now entering his second year as CCUR’s director, describes research­ers seeking to use fermentation and chemical changes to crop by-products to create plastics or adhesives. Sci­entists also are studying how to cre­ate oil-based materials out of natural components. And roughly 100 companies annually, most focused on food and feed production and food safety, are work­ing on projects in CCUR’s on-campus pilot-scale processing spaces or at the CCUR-managed BioCentury Research Farm outside Ames.

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Iowa Celebration of “Manufacturing Day” will include nearly 150 Events

AMES – Iowans once again will have easy access this October to a broad spectrum of educational events aimed at promoting the benefits of a career in manufacturing.
Friday, October 7, has been designated as national Manufacturing Day – a time for U.S. factories to open their doors and show the public that manufacturing has become a clean, high-technology industry packed with fulfilling opportunities.
For Iowans, however, the celebrations, plant tours and seminars will stretch well beyond a single day – into an entire month.

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Upcoming CIRAS Innovation Summit Puts the Focus on Food

A program aimed at boosting Iowa industry one sector at a time will turn its attention to food next month.

CIRAS staffers are now finalizing the details for a November 15 innovation summit in Ames focused on the needs of food, beverage, feed, and grain processors. Similar to previous summits, the day-long event will include a morning session with short, interactive, technology presentations followed by an afternoon session in a tradeshow-like environment. Organizers say this format allows participants to learn about key technologies, then develop specific plans around how to implement them in their businesses.

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flood ahead of roadsign

CIRAS has Checklist for Businesses Headed to Higher Ground

Roughly one-third of Iowa’s counties were under a flood watch or warning on Friday morning after massive rainfalls throughout the state – in some areas, up to 9 inches – send rivers higher. More rain is expected throughout the weekend, posing a significant and imminent flooding threat for many Iowa businesses.

CIRAS believes that any company who does not have a flood plan already in place should immediately begin making preparations for trouble.

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