Skip to main content
Default image.

Digital Manufacturing Lab Newswire Stories

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.

Decker Finds Peace of Mind through CIRAS Technology Assistance

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.

CIRAS to be Key in Manufacturing 4.0 Initiative

Work by CIRAS to increase the adoption of cutting-edge edge technology in Iowa manufacturing will play a key role supporting the state’s new plan for keeping Iowa industry competitive.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the new Manufacturing 4.0 Initiative on Thursday, saying it was intended to outline “new strategies to support (manufacturers’) efforts and ensure Iowa’s future prosperity is widespread, reaching all people in all parts of Iowa.”

The initiative, which is led by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, creates strategies and actions focused on ensuring Iowa is a global leader in the next generation of manufacturing.

Mix of Ancient, Advanced Technologies Salvage Older Elevator

A downtown Des Moines apartment building avoided a costly elevator replacement last year after CIRAS helped its owners recreate an essential piece of safety equipment.

Investors bought the aging, 11-story building at 600 East Fifth Street in Des Moines in 2013. They then renamed it The Lyon and spent two years remodeling it into 103 new apartments. A problem soon became apparent, however, in that something important seemed to have been lost during the sale.

Scanner Helps Improve Firefighting Tools

A Nevada, Iowa, maker of firefighter hand tools is growing in stature after CIRAS helped the company modernize and improve the designs for its tools.

Fred Malven, a longtime volunteer firefighter, founded Malven Fire Tool Works four years ago when he retired as an associate professor in Iowa State University’s College of Design.

CIRAS Staff News: Meet Behrens & McGraw

We would like to announce that two new faces joined CIRAS at the end of 2019. (And watch this space for more staffing news in the days to come.)

Here are your brief introductions to the new CIRAS additions:

Five Ways CIRAS Can Help You Grow in 2020

New years bring a time for new beginnings. To quote Charles Kettering, an inventor and the head of research for General Motors from 1920 to 1947, “Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas.”

If CIRAS is a new idea for you, then why not start the new year by considering a few new topics?

Here are five ways that CIRAS can help your company grow in 2020:

CIRAS Scanner Captures History of Mini-campanile’s Bells

It is a bright summer day when Tin-Shi Tam climbs the steps inside Iowa State University’s iconic campanile to play her daily midday concert on the Stanton Memorial Carillon.

Up above, after she’s worked the carillon’s bells through a mix of tunes that includes both Garth Brooks and the theme from a Hong Kong soap opera, Tam starts talking about the miniature version—a one-fifth scale model of the campanile that eventually would be unveiled to the public in October.

“I think the whole idea about this project is that not only did we involve so many Iowa State students and faculty to build it, but this is a project that we can actually own,” Tam said. “It’s the whole process. We’ve documented every process. This is something that we can share and say, ‘This is how it works.’”

Tours of Digital Manufacturing Lab Offer Peek at Possibilities

Trent Walters knew his purpose.

“I’m learning the possibilities,” said Waters, an engineer with Dee Zee truck accessories in Des Moines. “You come here and look at all this, and then you start thinking, ‘We can do that…’ ”

Waters is one of dozens of Iowa manufacturers who have visited Iowa State University’s Digital Manufacturing Lab powered by Alliant Energy since it opened in September at the ISU Research Park.

Now Open: Digital Manufacturing Lab powered by Alliant Energy

Dozens of Iowa manufacturers got their first glimpse of a path to new technologies on September 26, as CIRAS formally opened its new Digital Manufacturing Lab powered by Alliant Energy.

Representatives from CIRAS, Alliant Energy, and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) were joined by Iowa State University and Ames leaders for opening remarks and a tour.

Grand Opening: Digital Manufacturing Lab powered by Alliant Energy

Dozens of Iowa manufacturers got their first glimpse of a path to new technologies on September 26, as CIRAS formally opened its new Digital Manufacturing Lab powered by Alliant Energy.
Representatives from CIRAS, Alliant Energy, and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) were joined by Iowa State University and Ames leaders for opening remarks and a tour.

Digital Manufacturing Lab set to Open in September

Doors will formally open next month on a new facility that CIRAS hopes will help take the risk out of new technologies for Iowa manufacturers.

Work Continues on New Digital Manufacturing Lab

Iowa manufacturers who are struggling to modernize and grow—either because of uncertain technological needs or because they’re short of the people they need to get work done—will soon have access to a new option.

CIRAS, backed by substantial assistance from Alliant Energy and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), will open a new laboratory this summer where Iowa companies will be able to experiment with new manufacturing technology and explore how the machines might impact their particular businesses.

CIRAS Teaches Cobot to Clean at Miracle Tools America

Multiple times each day, the skilled workers at Miracle Tools America in Davenport must stop what they’re doing and clean. Making drill bits can be a dirty business, and the tiny water channels that keep tools from overheating have a tendency to clog.

Hence, the company decided to begin experimenting with a new type of employee—one that wouldn’t mind the monotony.

One made out of metal.

Cobot Unboxed

Here’s an update on the current state of the Digital Manufacturing Lab Powered by Alliant Energy.

Loading...