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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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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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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.

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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:

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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:

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