Two major sources of grant money are helping Iowa organizers of FIRST LEGO League (FLL) increase access to programs promoting science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to Iowa youth. FLL Explore, formerly known as FIRST LEGO League Junior, is one of two programs created to help elementary school students grow in their use of STEM skills. This year it was included as part of the 2021 STEM Scale-Up program, which was created by the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council to provide schools and other organizations with free access to roughly a dozen STEM programs each year. At the same time, a grant from Microsoft Community Challenge is helping FLL launch new teams with an underserved population in metropolitan Des Moines.
Month: April 2021
A Keokuk maker of grooming brushes and other agricultural products expects to save at least 50 percent on energy costs after CIRAS advised the company during replacement of an aging plastic injection molding machine. Tony Fox, president of Decker Manufacturing, said his company contacted CIRAS last summer seeking unbiased advice about replacing an aging hydraulic machine that had become an energy hog and needed frequent repairs.
The problems caused by COVID-19 last summer were bad enough, but what really bothered Steve Skaggs was not knowing what was coming next. “We had been having some spotty parts shortages, which was creating some anxiety,” said Skaggs, purchasing manager for ALMACO, a manufacturer of seed research equipment in Nevada. “We just didn’t know for sure who or where the next problem was going to come from.” So Skaggs turned to CIRAS for help in assessing ALMACO’s vulnerability to supplier problems tied to the pandemic.
A Coralville bakery catering to the culinary needs of dogs expects to triple in size over the next three years after CIRAS gave it the confidence to expand its service of two different parts of the market for high-quality treats. Woofables, a gourmet dog treat bakery established in 2004, is wrapping up a major expansion that included creation of two separate production lines to serve both small pet boutiques and large commercial supermarkets. Company leaders say the investment will make Woofables more efficient at serving two growing segments of a growing industry—segments with competing interests that don’t always align.
For Immediate Release: As business and industry evolve at an ever-increasing pace, the next wave of change in the form of digitalization and automation, known as “Industry 4.0,” will require new processes for businesses and new skills for employees. Today, Iowa’s Community Colleges and the Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) announced a new consortium to support the manufacturing sector in adapting to these changes. The training and awareness initiative includes partners from across the state. “Iowa has the right mix of relationships and resources to help our manufacturers remain competitive through a global technology revolution that is transforming factory floors and jobs,” said Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. “This important partnership addresses a critical need identified in the state’s Manufacturing 4.0 strategic plan by uniting key education and industry stakeholders in a comprehensive effort to prepare workers with the skills they need in an increasingly digital economy."
One of the manufacturing arms of a Cedar Rapids job-training agency increased revenue by $675 per day after CIRAS helped make one of its assembly lines more efficient. Tom Cavanagh, production manager for Goodwill of the Heartland, said he sought help from CIRAS last summer out of concern that Goodwill wouldn’t be able to meet … Continue reading CIRAS Helps Goodwill Assemblers Get More Efficient
Are you ready to gain valuable insights that can help your business? If so, CIRAS recommends that you plan to attend the annual Taking Care of Business Conference next month in Coralville. The yearly conference, which is hosted by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, is a valuable way for Iowa manufacturers to invest … Continue reading ABI Taking Care of Business Conference is June 8-10
Tim Miller has joined CIRAS as a manufacturing engineering project manager. Tim has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Cincinnati, as well as a graduate certificate in system design and management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He comes … Continue reading CIRAS Staff News: Meet Tim Miller
Do you have a Continuous Improvement story to tell? If so, we want to hear about it. The Iowa Lean Consortium is pleased to issue a call for presentations for our 2021 Annual Conference to be held on October 26-27. This will be a hybrid event, with the main conference taking place Prairie Meadows Events & Conference Center in Altoona. There will be satellite locations throughout the state for smaller gatherings, and there will be a virtual option.
CIRAS and other members of the MEP National Network are sharing this message to alert manufacturers to important news about new tax credits available to help companies assist their workers with COVID-19 vaccinations: On Wednesday, President Joe Biden called on employers across America to do everything they can to help their employees – and their communities – get vaccinated. As part of that effort, President Biden is calling on every employer in America to offer full pay to their employees for any time off needed to get vaccinated and for any time it takes to recover from the after-effects of vaccination. Now is the time to step up our efforts to reach every working-age adult in America, and today’s announcement to help employers offset the cost of paid time off is an important step in getting America’s workforce vaccinated.