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3-D Printing Services for Iowa businesses

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.

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, April 15, 2016

Happy Friday and Happy Tax Day! Today’s highly deductible Digest spans a number of related topics – from wind and politicians to manufacturing productivity and robots.

Here’s where you can read about it all:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy Friday. Very little in the way of breaking news in today’s Digest, but we’ve got a whole heap of background issue on a variety of issues.

So here’s where you go if you feel the urge to study up:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, April 29, 2016

Happy Friday. Very little of real news in this batch of Digest. But alas, much, much deep thinking.

Here’s where you can find it:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, February 26, 2016

Happy Friday. Today we have some bright-ish economic news, a shout out to tech pioneers in the flyover states. All this and a teensy bit more.

Here’s where you find it:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, May 6, 2016

Happy Friday. Due to a dearth of decent news, Digest has been saving its powder over the past week. But we’ve somehow managed to nevertheless compile a list of important items for you to ponder before you venture out for the weekend. Lots of deep thinking on U.S. trade policy and Iowa Economic Development policy, as well as some hints at good old fashioned manufacturing “hubris.”

Enjoy. Here’s what we think you might want to know:

CIRAS DIGEST: Monday, April 11, 2016

Happy Monday. Today’s DIGEST installment includes the full circuit of industry issues – the state of American manufacturing, the state of America’s skilled workforce, and the state of Iowa’s efforts to recruit more businesses to come be a part of it. Also, there’s a bit of talk about 3D-printed robots.

Here’s where you find all the details:

CIRAS Digest: Monday, February 1, 2016

Happy Monday. Today’s Digest installment includes one final round of Iowa analysis from the caucus media hordes, plus a few interesting tidbits and some general crystal ball gazing.

Here’s where you can find it, while you worry about the snow:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Happy Tuesday. Today’s Digest offers a bit of happy fatalism, with articles that describe horrible economic news alongside bright outlooks for the future. At least the caucuses will be over soon….

Here’s where you can find what you need to know:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Today, we offer you a slew of economic outlooks, some political commentary and a story on somebody trying to get ahead of the 3-D printing revolution.

Here’s where you can find it all:

CIRAS DIGEST: Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Happy Wednesday. Today’s Digest features plenty of CIRAS news, as well as some gloomy economics and some potential job opportunities.

Here’s where you find it all:

CIRAS DIGEST: Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Happy Wednesday.  We assume you’re up-to-date on all things Sarah Palin. But we’ve got a few additional caucus-y tidbits, as well as some 3D printing and a good old fashioned courtroom fight in the making.

Here’s where you can find the details:

CIRAS DIGEST: Wednesday, June 1, 2015

Happy Wednesday. Today, the Digest dumps a whole slew of deep thinking on you regarding the relationship between automation and American manufacturing jobs. The topic (likely Trump-driven) seemed to be on a lot of minds in the past few weeks.

Here’s where you can read about it:

CIRAS DIGEST: Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Happy Wednesday. Today brings bad economic news — well, at least not great economic news. What we have is more like a mixture of economic interpretations. Also, another story about how 3-D printing is cool.

Here’s where you can find it all: 

CIRAS Officially Cuts the Ribbon on its new Metal 3-D Printer

The future of manufacturing officially opened for business last week (at least symbolically) when Iowa State University College of Engineering Dean Sarah Rajala used a set of 3-D-printed scissors to cut the ribbon on CIRAS’ new metal laser sintering machine.

Cy-Hawk Partnership Helps TAP Extend Technology

Charles Romans sees tremendous possibility in the relationship he’s building with his counterparts on the other side of Iowa.

Romans is the 3D design prototype director for ProtoStudios, a University of Iowa rapid prototyping facility that’s part of the MERGE innovation lab in downtown Iowa City. Despite his black-and-gold employer, Romans and his staff have been working closely with CIRAS project manager Mark Williamson and Chris Hill, director of the CIRAS Technology Assistance Program (TAP), for more than a year as part of a joint effort to learn from each other and give taxpayers the maximum benefit from the equipment each agency controls.

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!” Hill said with a chuckle. “It is possible for Hawkeyes and Cyclones to work together.”

For Success,“Future of Manufacturing” includes Understanding 3D Printing

Iowa industry professionals have the chance to get a close-up peak at cutting-edge technology next month when CIRAS hosts a daylong event on “3D Printing’s Current and Future Impacts on Manufacturing.”

The June 8 event in Ames is intended to explain how this disruptive technology has evolved from its initial use as a prototyping process and how it’s likely to drive change in your business.

Iowa State Solar Car Team Probes the Practicality of a Sun-powered SUV

Members of Iowa State University’s PrISUm solar car team see a silver lining in the clouds that dampened their recent trip to Australia for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

Despite rainy weather and a missed checkpoint that knocked them out of the finish, the Iowa State engineering students are taking pride in the fact that they managed to build a practical and highly functional solar-powered SUV—one that, once tweaked, appears destined for future competitions.

ISU Solar Car, with CIRAS-printed Parts, now Touring Iowa to Prep for Outback

Members of Iowa State University’s PrISUm solar car team are heading to Australia this fall for the team’s first-ever international competition.

When they go, they’ll be competing in a vehicle that includes several parts constructed by CIRAS.

Metal 3D Printer Helps Prove a Robot’s Tanker-cleaning Viability

An eastern Iowa manufacturing company landed an important job providing parts for a railcar-cleaning robot after CIRAS helped the company prove its design under a tight deadline.

Technology Assistance Program: A new Name in CIRAS Problem Solving

 It might be a step too far to call Sears Manufacturing’s problem a pain in the backside. But the evasive and mysterious cause behind an ongoing problem with a purchased component used in the company’s vehicle seat suspension certainly proved annoying—until Sears called upon members of CIRAS’ Technology Assistance Program (TAP).

The result? An in-depth analysis of cracked air compressors that early this year will lead to a design change on the pneumatically controlled seats that Sears, a 160-year-old Davenport firm, makes for construction and agriculture equipment around the country.

The Future of Manufacturing is Happening Today

Every day we see something “new” in manufacturing. 3D Printed food, connected everything, cobots, and the list goes on. In fact, we’ve heard of these possibilities for decades. But something about these things seems a bit more real now than in the past. Like something important is happening

Touring Tech – Manufacturers Find Value When They See What ISU Can Do

Nathan Meyer was no stranger to CIRAS, but he wasn’t fully aware of all the technical expertise available at Iowa State University until he took a CIRAS-led tour of campus research labs in the fall of 2017.

Update: Future of Manufacturing Series

About 18 months ago, CIRAS announced its new “Future of Manufacturing” series to help manufacturers become ready for what is “next” in manufacturing. While this was a significant leap, it was based on a simple premise: changes in technology, workforce, and business models were moving so fast that we needed to help get Iowa manufacturers out in front.

Upper Iowa Tool & Die Adds Innovation — One Layer at a Time

A Cresco tool-and-die maker’s search for diversification has led the company, with CIRAS’ help, to stake out new territory as what may be the first Iowa business of its kind to produce parts for customers via additive manufacturing.

Upper Iowa Tool & Die & Innovations, founded in 1978, purchased a new plastic-based 3-D printer earlier this year after conversations with CIRAS convinced the company to aim higher in its search for a way to differentiate from competitors. Since mid-April, Upper Iowa has been pitching its additive manufacturing capability both to new clients and as an add-on for services to existing customers.

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.

With Service Bureaus Coming, Is Iowa at an Additive Manufacturing Inflection Point?

Dennis Fogle believes the dawn is coming for his industry in Iowa.

“We’re right on the edge,” said Fogle, general manager of Agile Additive Manufacturing Ltd. in Pella. “It’s just over the hill. . . . I think we just need a little bit more education here.”

Agile, a recently formed offshoot of Canada’s largest 3D printing service bureau, opened in Iowa last year in preparation for an expected wave in the use of 3D printing in Iowa manufacturing. Several other Iowa companies likewise have been formed over the last two years with a business plan that involves designing and/or 3D printing products for others. All report more fervent interest in the technology.

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