Year: 2021

Iowa Manufacturers Find Immediate Value in Wearable Tech

It started as a single question in a loud, pandemic-influenced Sioux City popcorn factory: How do we meet our obligation to monitor employee hearing if COVID-19 social distancing requirements are blocking us from running hearing tests in the usual way?   The answer, which American Pop Corn Company discovered with help from CIRAS, involves new workplace … Continue reading Iowa Manufacturers Find Immediate Value in Wearable Tech

Lean Culture Helped These Companies become Best Places to Work

What do the best places to work have in common? Five companies recognized as being among the best employers in Iowa credit their adoption of Lean with helping them create a culture where workers simply love to work. The Iowa Lean Consortium (ILC) gathered the five companies together for an online event earlier this year. … Continue reading Lean Culture Helped These Companies become Best Places to Work

CIRAS Staff News: Meet Jennifer Garcia-Velazquez

Jennifer Garcia-Velazquez has joined CIRAS as a full-time events coordinator. Jennifer, who received her bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science from Iowa State University, previously worked for Science Bound, Iowa’s State University’s pre-college through college program to empower Iowa students of color to pursue degrees and careers in ASTEM (agriculture, science technology, engineering and mathematics) fields … Continue reading CIRAS Staff News: Meet Jennifer Garcia-Velazquez

Did You Know? Rock Island Arsenal Overview

Did you know that the Rock Island Arsenal (RIA), which is an actual island situated between Iowa and Illinois on the Mississippi River, houses more than one major Army command and over 60 tenant organizations, both public and private entities? The five major Army organizations on the island each have different and unique buying needs: … Continue reading Did You Know? Rock Island Arsenal Overview

Cone Calorimeter Available to Aid in Iowa Manufacturer Test Standards

All building materials must meet a specific test standard in order to move forward with manufacturing. This standard, the ASTM-E84 Standard Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials, is used to determine how various materials act upon ignition. It is a costly, complex, and large-scale standard that has been the norm. However, a … Continue reading Cone Calorimeter Available to Aid in Iowa Manufacturer Test Standards

DID YOU KNOW?… Federal Certification for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs)

Federal agencies have an annual goal to award at least 5% of spend on prime contracts to Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) and, for contracts which include small business subcontracting plans, the WOSB subcontracting goal is also 5%.  To help meet these goals, agencies will sometimes set-aside or even sole-source opportunities to WOSBs and Economically Disadvantaged … Continue reading DID YOU KNOW?… Federal Certification for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs)

ILC Annual Conference to be Largest Ever

The Iowa Lean Consortium’s Annual Conference will be coming to all corners of the state this fall, as CIRAS expands its efforts to make Lean management techniques more accessible in an Iowa facing severe concerns about workforce availability. The Annual Conference, traditionally the ILC’s largest and most extensive yearly opportunity for Lean advocates to network and learn, was shifted online in 2020 because of the pandemic. This year, as the world restarts itself in the wake of COVID-19, availability of people has become the number one discussion topic among Iowa leaders. How do you support growing businesses while Iowa’s population growth continues to be lower than the national average and statewide unemployment already is rapidly approaching pre-pandemic levels? How can you grow if there simply are no more people?

New technologies added to the Digital Manufacturing Lab

This fall will mark the second anniversary of the CIRAS Digital Manufacturing Lab powered by Alliant Energy, and we’re still growing. We opened the lab in September 2019 as to experiment with ways to de-risk technology adoption for Iowa manufacturers. Since then, we have served the Industry 4.0 needs of many businesses in Iowa via in-person events, counseling sessions and projects. Unfortunately, COVID-19 kept most people out of the lab last year. But we haven’t been dormant. Instead, CIRAS used the opportunity to expand our technology partnerships, upgrade our technology, and evolve our services from in-person to virtual engagements.

Assisted & Augmented Reality: Not as Sci-Fi As You Think

It’s a common misconception among many manufacturers that assisted and augmented reality technology are outside their reach – mystical, gimmicky technology that really has no place on their production floor. We get it. We’ve all read science fiction novels and seen the movies. These technologies are portrayed as “space-age” bits of hardware and software that certainly cost a fortune and probably require a PhD to operate. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Augmented and assisted reality (AR) technology is so accessible that it might already be something you use every day. Let’s break it down.