NEWS: CIRAS Approved to Purchase Metal 3-D Printer for Iowa Businesses

CIRAS Red“We are grateful to IEDA for investing in technology to help enhance the Iowa economy,” said Ron Cox, CIRAS director and an associate dean in ISU’s College of Engineering. “We will be able to maximize the return on the state’s investment because the additive manufacturing machine will be operated within the College of Engineering at ISU, the eighth largest engineering college in the United States. As well, ISU has an existing and proven outreach program that works with businesses in all 99 counties.”
Direct metal sintering systems use the combination of a laser and powdered metal to create metal parts or tools one tiny layer at a time by following a computerized design – similar to the plastics-based process that is commonly known as 3-D printing. The technology makes it possible to quickly and cheaply produce tools or deliverable parts with a wide variety of geometric shapes and materials and without extensive set-up or production costs.
Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) intends to use the new machine to help Iowa manufacturers discover possible uses for this technology in their businesses. Companies will learn new methods of design and new ways to manufacture, as well as how to cut costs and reduce the time needed to bring new products to market. Based on the history of CIRAS’ involvement in such projects, we expect a total economic impact of at least $16 million to Iowa businesses.
In addition to the IEDA’s contribution, money to purchase the DMLS machine includes contributions from CIRAS, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership and Iowa State University’s College of Engineering.
Created in 1963, CIRAS helps industry prosper by offering a wide range of technical assistance, education and applied research to address company-specific concerns. Assistance is made possible by a combination of state, federal and private dollars. CIRAS clients, in manufacturing and other industries, have reported an economic impact of more than $2 billion over the past five years.