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Economic Development Services for Iowa businesses

Accumold Proves Proficiency, Wins Business Thanks to CIRAS-arranged Tests

An Ankeny-based plastics injection molder landed new business and launched new growth after the firm was able to prove its capabilities via testing arranged last year at Iowa State University.

Accumold, a company that makes small plastic parts for a variety of technology and medical devices, announced plans in February for a $12 million expansion that will add 200 jobs at its Ankeny plant over the next three years.

American Power Systems Energizes Its Export Business

A Davenport manufacturer of alternators and other electrical equipment for specialty vehicles expects to more than double the amount it sells overseas within the next three years.

Officials at American Power Systems Inc. predict the company will at least double its current six-figure export sales once it fully implements everything leaders learned during a CIRAS-driven class presented via the Quad Cities Manufacturing Innovation Hub.

Artistic Manufacturing—A Business Bringing New Ideas to Church

The shelves in Randy Monk’s Altoona, Iowa, office are lined with the artifacts of decades past. At one corner sits a stack of the stamped metal ashtrays Artistic Manufacturing Corporation once produced as a sideline. A few feet to the right, you’ll find one of the small, decorative metal pots that the company made and sold to florist shops until the 1960s. In between those historical outposts sit older versions of the crosses, cups, and communion plates that have been the bulk of Artistic’s sales for more than 50 years.

Birmingham Manufacturing gets Reawakened to the Value of Innovation

Michael Nunn hasn’t yet found the product improvement idea he was searching for, but at least he now knows that he’s on the correct path.

Nunn is the owner of Birmingham Manufacturing, a four-person shop in Birmingham, Iowa, that makes condensated evaporating pans for use in commercial coolers. The pans, which contain a heating element and sit below refrigeration units, work to evaporate the water that drips from inside coolers.

Blue-9 Celebrates One-year Anniversary of New Iowa Headquarters

A small Maquoketa company that sells dog training equipment around the world is boosting production and expanding its product offerings—all after CIRAS helped the company arrange important testing and other steps to get it off the ground.

CIRAS Digest: Friday, April 17, 2015

Happy Friday. Lots of numbers and deep-thinking about big issues over the last week.

Here are a few things to read as you kill time waiting to escape the office and finally make it outside:

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, August 21, 2015

Happy Friday. A bunch of gloomy economic forecasting today, including concerns about Kansas, China and convertibles.

Here’s where you can find it all:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, August 28, 2015

Happy Friday.  Today, the Digest has a hodge-podge of Chinese worry, overall manufacturing worry and a recipe for better rural living through art. Plus, they presumably no longer are going to worry at all about the worker shortage in Cincinnati.

Here’s where to find the information:

CIRAS Digest: Friday, August 7, 2015

Happy Friday.  The U.S. economy added jobs. Farmland lost value, and you can save as much as  6 percent on socks in Iowa this weekend.

Read on to learn more:

CIRAS Digest: Friday, December 18, 2015

Happy Friday. Today, CIRAS Digest offers a mix of manufacturing pessimism and…  No, there’s no mix. It’s just pessimism – plus, a presidential candidate who thinks manufacturing is wonderful.

Here’s where you find the details:

CIRAS Digest: Friday, Feb. 13, 2015

Happy Friday the 13th.  Hope you all enjoy your romantic weekend at that secluded cabin in the woods where there was a tragedy many, many years ago. We’re sure it’ll all work out just fine.

Here’s what you need to know today:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, February 19, 2016

Happy Friday. Today we have both some bona fide Iowa economic development news and a lot of prognostication based on numbers and such.

Here’s where you can sort it out:

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, February 5, 2016

Happy Friday. Today’s Digest is the only place on the Internet today (we’re guessing) where you can find one page dealing with Donald Trump, farmland prices, Chinese manufacturing and refrigerators who talk to the rest of your appliances.

Here’s where you can find the details:

CIRAS Digest: Friday, Jan. 16, 2015

Happy Friday, and good luck with your weekend. Virtually everything we’re reading today is looking forward to some point where we’re not desperately trying to get out of the office.

Here are the highlights:

CIRAS Digest: Friday, Jan. 23, 2015

Happy Friday.  This digest was interrupted yesterday by a CIRAS staff meeting (plus a lack of much interesting to report). Today, we have a mix of bad news and hopeful  optimism.

It starts with:

CIRAS Digest: Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

Happy Friday.  Incremental economic news today, plus a peek at overseas conditions and an assembly-line robot with a face.

Here’s what’s out there:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, January 22, 2016

Happy Friday. Today’s collection of Stuff We Find Interesting includes some politics, some gloomy economic forecasting and many, many words about how cool Des Moines is (now).

Here’s where you can find it all:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, July 10, 2015

Happy Friday. We head into the weekend with some national projections, some overall positive news about Iowa’s economic prospects and a bunch of cool talk about 3-D printing.

Here’s something to read if you’re bored this weekend at the lake:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, July 17, 2015

Happy Friday. Today, we provide a few glimmers of an economic uptick, an account of economic muscle being wielded as part of the nationwide reshoring campaign, and a small, kind-of-cool tale about how technology can make manufacturing better.

Here’s where to find it:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, July 24, 2015

Happy Friday. Lots of manufacturing numbers to report. But nothing much important.

Here’s what to read if you’re killing time with a purpose:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, July 31, 2015

Happy Friday. As you ponder your weekend, be advised that manufacturing remains OK, beer is important and gas is soon to be less so.

Here’s where to find the details on all that:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, June 12, 2015

Happy Friday. Not much to offer today in the wake of earth-shattering news, but at least it’s mostly Iowa-centric.

Here’s where to look:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, June 19, 2015

Happy Friday. We’re posting late this afternoon due to a morning spent listing to Iowa economic development officials decide whether they were going to give us some money. (Spoiler alert: They did.)

Details on that and a few other things follow:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, June 26, 2015

Happy Friday. Today we have news of layoffs, higher consumer confidence, expanding demographics and the importance of beer.

The details:

CIRAS Digest: Friday, March 13, 2015

Happy wonderful weather Friday.  Staffing meetings kept us away from the computer yesterday, but that turns out to be a good thing for you.

 Here are our nominations for the best industry-related things to read today while you’re sitting outside under a tree:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, March 25, 2016

Happy Friday. Today’s installment of your handy guide to industry news you might have missed includes a lot of bad manufacturing news, a few (newspaper-published) pointers from a CIRAS peer, and a website mocking tweets from an Iowa member of Congress not named Grassley.

Here’s where you can read all about it:

CIRAS Digest: Friday, May 1, 2015

Happy Friday. We greet the approaching weekend with a look at how lousy the manufacturing economy is in some places. Also, some suggestions that things might just perk up a bit if we get some more Democrats and/or felons involved.

Here are the bipartisan highlights of what we’ve found interesting over the past few days:

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: Friday, May 8, 2015

Happy Friday. Today, as we patrol the Internet, we find an unusual stockpile of happy and/or hopeful news. Plus, some deep thinking about the future.

Feel free to spend the weekend pondering it all. Start your studies here:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, November 20, 2015

Happy Friday. This afternoon’s installment of your friendly neighborhood CIRAS Digest includes a little industry optimism, some manufacturing cheerleading and a warning (of sorts) not to expect much out of the state capitol next year.

Here’s where you can find all the details:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, November 6, 2015

Happy Friday.  Today we have some high-profile awards, finger pointing and a mix of economic messages.

Here’s where you can find out more:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, October 16, 2015

Happy Friday. Today, the Internet offers a little bit of everything when it comes to industry news. Tidbits include the fact that manufacturing in weak, that shoe-based innovation is still marching forward and that it’s hard to sell high-end Chinese liquor these days.

Here’s where you can find that and more:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, October 2, 2015

Happy Friday. And Happy Manufacturing Day, the start of an excellent opportunity for Iowans to learn more about the possibilities that come with a career in manufacturing.

Here’s what you need to know about Manufacturing Day and elsewhere:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, October 23, 2015

Happy Friday. Today’s survey of industry news contains pockets of problems, plus a lot of broad economic speculation today.

Here’s where you find all the details:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, October 9, 2015

Happy Friday. We have a decent-size collection of deep thinking today, from pondering the past to launching new planning documents.

Here’s where you can find all the details:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, September 4, 2015

Happy Friday. More numbers out showing a slowing economy overall. A Forbes contributor is warning that higher wages will kill manufacturing jobs. But there’s a dude in Texas who’s launched a new manufacturing method that should make it much easier for you to start your own business.

Here’s what you need to know:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, September, 11, 2015

Happy Friday. The governor is gone. The farmers are worried. And, although no one is really rush to start using wearable electronics, there apparently are some uses that might make sense for Iowa manufacturing.

Here’s where you find all the details:

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, April 13, 2015

Happy Monday. We’ve uncovered a mix of good news and bad news for you to ponder, with an overall tilt in the direction of pragmatic planning. Essentially, some folks out there are warning of doom, some are planning for sunnier days.

Here’s how it shakes out:

CIRAS Digest: Monday, Feb. 16, 2015

Happy Monday. We welcome you back to the work week with some upward momentum and some deep thinking.

First, the growth:

CIRAS Digest: Monday, Jan. 26, 2015

Happy Monday. Today, the Newswire offers some  ISU alumni, plus a dash of economic optimism and a West Coast tome on why that’s incompatible with Republican politics.

For your information:

CIRAS Digest: Monday, March 2, 2015

Happy Monday. And Happy March. A new month means new numbers – and a whole lot of  mental gymnastics to sort out what they mean.

Let’s get to it:

CIRAS Digest: Monday, March 23, 2015

Happy Monday. And, for those of you who were away breaking your Spring (or staying burning vacation him to stay home watching small children and answer ISU email), welcome back.

Here’s our best attempt at reassembling what you might have missed:

CIRAS Digest: Monday, March 30, 2015

Happy Monday from CIRAS Newswire, where a 70-degree Spring day means it’s time to change the photos in our windowless office.

Here’s what we’ve culled from the accumulated industry news over the weekend:

CIRAS DIGEST: Monday, May 18, 2015

Happy Monday. There are a few signs of optimism in the manufacturing news. Plus, one warning of doom and an example of technical experts showing off.

Read about it all here:

CIRAS DIGEST: Monday, November 11, 2015

Happy Monday. Today we have some gloomy financial numbers, a bit of political theater and some industry naval gazing.

Here’s where you can find it:

CIRAS Digest: Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015

Happy Thursday. Today, while you’re huddling around the heating vent, we offer a wide variety of deep thinking.

Here’s what’s going on:

CIRAS Digest: Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015

Happy Thursday. As usual in the first quarter of Iowa’s calendar, our conversation is again dominated today by money and politics.

Here’s what’s going on as of now:

CIRAS Digest: Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015

Happy Thursday. Technical difficulties made yesterday’s Digest impractical to deliver, but we’ll roll over some of Wednesday’s more interesting and less time-sensitive offerings into today’s editions.

So, assuming you already know about the gas tax (10-cent increase is possible) and the fed (interest rates unchanged for now), here are the most interesting things we’re seeing on the Newswire:

CIRAS DIGEST: Thursday, March 26, 2015

Happy Thursday from your friends at CIRAS Newswire, where we read the stuff you don’t have time for and attempt to make informed (or just plain snippy) remarks about it. Now, with extra witticism!

Here’s what we’ve collected over the last half-week:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Happy Tuesday. Today we bring you news involving workers, retirements and, as always, some meditation on the general state of manufacturing in America. Plus, a reference to beer.

Here’s where you find the details:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Happy Tuesday afternoon. Sorry for the delay, but it took a while to catch you up on all the industry news out there. Lots of gas-y talk and  complicated science out there for your perusal.

Here’s where you can find it:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Happy Tuesday. We have a general mishmash today of items to note and deep thoughts to be thunk. Also, a warning to check the label on those gas pumps carefully.

Here’s what we found for you, ICYMI:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Happy Tuesday.  Lots of economic news and analysis in today’s collection, from Berkshire Hathaway naval gazing to an in-depth look at Mexican cars.

Here’s where you find it all:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Happy Tuesday. They say variety is the spice of life. So today, we spice up the usual manufacturing numbers and industry projections with a little Trump, a little bird flu, and a whole lot of wine.  

Here’s where you find it:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Happy Tuesday. An extremely short digest today, since the entire world seems consumed with the fate of Chinese stocks.

Here’s a shortened version:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Happy Tuesday. A smattering of economic numbers today.

Here’s what they add up to:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is now the longest serving governor in Iowa. Polls say Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is on the rise. And Los Angles closed schools today in the face of an alleged terror threat.

But none of that has much to do with industry. So here are a few other random things that we thought you might like to know about:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Today, everything is focused higher – including the government, bankers, (if you read it wrong) high school students and Georgia manufacturing.

Here’s what we’re reading today:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015

Happy Tuesday. We reconvene CIRAS Digest today after some production difficulties stemming from the boss’ requirement that we spend Monday at the Iowa State Capitol.

Here’s what you might have missed along the way:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015

Happy Tuesday from CIRAS Newswire Command, where we are trying to keep well ahead of you, dear readers. Work is already underway on the Spring edition of CIRAS News. The Winter volume hit the streets at the end of last week, and you’ll start seeing stories posted here in the very near future.

In the meantime, here’s what’s going on:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015

Welcome to another of our (nearly always) daily attempts at helping you stay informed. Today’s roundup includes the governor, contradictory experts and early indications of a winter slowdown. So basically, it’s a Tuesday.

Here’s what going on in the world of industry today:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Today we bring you Iowa politics, California navel gazing and some skepticism of the state of the union.

In that order:

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, January 26, 2016

Happy Tuesday.  Politics, indexes, wage subsidies and replacement chickens. These are the chief topics we find on CIRAS news wires today.

Here’s where you can find it all:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Happy Tuesday. A hodge-podge of not-much for you today.  The items center around Iowa’s efforts to promote development, a whiskey maker’s efforts to promote itself, and some low-level promotion of biofuels.

Here’s where to find the details:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Happy Tuesday. We’ve got a little Trump news this morning, as well as economic tidbits, some insight into clustered manufacturing expertise and some video of a building blowing up.

Take your pick. Here’s where to click:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Happy Tuesday. News this day of a estimated time for the arrival of cheaper chicken. Also, an update on reshoring and some  ozone advocacy from Vermeer.

Here’s where you can find it:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Happy Tuesday. We return from the holidays with a host of hard-news stories, including mixed manufacturing messages and plans for a “super park” that we suspect will be short on slides.

We’ll start with the latest round of contradictory statistical interpretations:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Happy Tuesday. There’s a wide variety of news out there. We have broad numbers. We have deep-thinking analysis. We have detailed technical stuff. And we have Iowa references aplenty.

Here’s what you need to know:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Today we have the usual mix of optimistic and pessimistic industry news, as well as a story on marijuana candy.

So think mellow thoughts as you read this:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Happy Tuesday. We’re heavy on opinion pieces today, with people across the country opining on what is good bad or doomed about the American manufacturing sector. Read it. Enjoy the argument – along with a little bit of news sprinkled throughout this list.

Here’s where you find it:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Happy Tuesday. As part of our continuing effort to make sense of things for you, we’re trying to consolidate some of the CIRAS Digest information.  We’re going to take a stab at posting on fewer days but with more information. Let us know how it works.

For today, at least, there doesn’t seem to be any shortage:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, March 15, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Beware the Ides of March, for today’s Digest has a lot of manufacturing news to wrap up, including a bunch of presidential candidate talking and some attempts (not by presidential candidates) at instructional journalism.

Here’s where to start the learning:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Happy Tuesday. Today’s Digest features “Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge” amounts of information about Donald Trump, manufacturing, and where the two intersect. Also, a little Iowa politics and economic news.

Here’s where you find the details:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Happy Tuesday. Today’s digest includes another round of debate over the health of American manufacturing. Plus, a reason to go to the casino this weekend.

Here’s where you can find all the information:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Lots of big thinking today – about machines, plants and what the heck we need to do to make the millennials happy in Iowa.

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Happy Tuesday. Today we touch base largely to share some 3-D printing news and a whole raft of economic stories that you might have missed.

Here’s where you find it all:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Welcome back to work.

We greet you with a little deep thinking, some prognostication, and some advice on how to handle the booze:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Today we bring you whiplash – flat economic numbers, flat economic numbers that likely are heading bad…. and good tax receipts for the state. Plus, a planned surge in robots and a strong future for manufacturing.

Here’s where to find it:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Happy Tuesday. We’re a little all over the place this morning, with Medicaid news, electric car news and the economics of beef and apples.

Here is where you can find all the details:

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: Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Happy Tuesday.  Today’s mix of industry news collected from around the Internet includes two interesting accounts of producing local for local, plus some recently fixed “stupid” and an account of the roadtripping by Iowa’s economic PR arm.

Here’s where you find the details:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Industry news continues to be filled with accounts of the demise and/or resurgence of American factories. Today, we found two slightly different takes – plus a manufacturing tax break that might or might not be a brewing political battle in Iowa.

Here’s where you find the details:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Today we’re spicing up our digest of the Internet’s industry-related news by including an update about  bacon defenders and a scandal-prone CEO in addition to the usual deep-thinking position papers.

Here’s where you can find it all:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Happy Tuesday. We have a wide range of news today, from important pastry preparations to a weighty state economic report, a warning about manufacturing unions and concerns about farmers.

Here’s where you can find the specifics:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, September 15, 2013

Happy Tuesday. We start with the Obama context, then move on to Etsy, economic forecasts and a little deep thinking about the future of metal additive manufacturing.

Here’s where to find all the details:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Welcome back from the weekend. You don’t appear to have missed much – outside of a major publishing deal with Iowa implications and a few additional inklings about more fallout from consternation in China.

Here’s what we’re reading today:

CIRAS Digest: Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Happy Wednesday. There are two main takeaways from today’s Digest – Manufacturing employment is up, and we have the (decent) economy to blame for the current political sideshows.

Here where you can read about it:

CIRAS Digest: Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015

Happy Wednesday.

Lots of talk out there today. Talk about manufacturing, job training and broadband, among other things. Plus, a daily affirmation from the Wall Street Journal.

The weather is warm(ish). Wade in:

CIRAS Digest: Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015

Happy Wednesday. President Obama may have won both of his elections, but he appears to have not yet won the hearts and minds of the manufacturing press – as judging by a roughly pessimistic tone we’re seeing to many of the post-State of the Union coverage.

We’ve got a few bright spots today, but also some bluntly worded gloom.

Here, my fellow Americans, is what you need to know:

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, 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 DIGEST: Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Happy Wednesday. Today is the Iowa Association of Business and Industry’s Advanced Manufacturing Conference, and Friday is National Manufacturing Day.

Here are a few good places to start with all that learning:

CIRAS has Economic Impact of $424 million for 2015; $2 Billion over five years

AMES, Iowa  –  The numbers are in, and they continue to show a strong value received by Iowa businesses who have built a relationship with Iowa State University.

CIRAS Innovation Service Cuts Costs, Boosts Business for Iowa Spring

An Adel-based manufacturer of springs for garage doors and agricultural equipment cut its costs by more than 30 percent and expects to boost sales by more than $1 million after adopting an innovative new technology that it tested as part of a CIRAS innovation service.

CIRAS NEWS: Friday, May 22, 2015

Happy Friday. Ready for the holiday? We suggest you avoid any new projects this morning and instead spend today catching up on a few days’ worth of industry news.

Here’s what you might learn while trying hard to look busy:

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.

CIRAS Service Highlight: Growth

You hear it a lot around Iowa:  

      “I want to double in size in the next 5 years.” 

     “I just need one new OEM customer.”     

CIRAS Will Help You Get Ready for the “Future of Manufacturing”

CIRAS is on a journey to help Iowa manufacturers discover and implement the future of manufacturing.

CIRAS, IADG Testing New Way to Expand Industry in Iowa

 A 40,000-square-foot building on a nine-acre industrial site in eastern Spencer, Iowa, has become the testing ground for a new initiative in rural economic development—with CIRAS playing a large role.

CIRAS-Sparked Group Holding First Forum for Discussing Sustainable Businesses in Iowa

Four Iowa corporations have joined forces with CIRAS to create the Iowa Sustainable Business Forum (ISBF)—a new nonprofit organization that will be dedicated to improving businesses while boosting environmental stewardship and social responsibility.

CIRAS’ Second Annual Iowa Holiday Gift Guide

We make some really cool things in Iowa.

Most of them (like a robotic system from Acieta) aren’t very practical gifts. But when you produce as much as we do here in Iowa, there are tons of great gifts.

Cobot Unboxed

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

CONNECTIONS: CIRAS Helps Iowa Companies Find Answers

CIRAS projects have a big impact on Iowa and its communities.

For example, our latest edition of CIRAS News took a look at the breadth of who we’ve helped over the past five years:

Cox Honored for “Achievement in Economic Development”

CIRAS Director Ron Cox was one 15 College of Engineering faculty and staff who received Iowa State University’s highest honors during an annual awards ceremony on September 14.

Cox, O’Donnell jointly named “Manufacturing Champions”

CIRAS’ top two administrators have been honored by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) for their work trumpeting Iowa manufacturing.

CIRAS Director Ron Cox and program director Mike O’Donnell, head of CIRAS’ Manufacturing Extension Partnership, jointly received ABI’s Manufacturing Champion Award at a dinner for Iowa business leaders on Tuesday.

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.”

Engineering Capstone Projects Lead to Innovative New Products

Two Iowa companies over the past year have separately discovered a new way to safeguard vibrating truck fenders and a new, more attractive way to lock patio doors—both as a result of work done by graduating students at Iowa State University.

Capstone students in Iowa State’s College of Engineering worked on the truck fender project for Link Manufacturing, a Sioux Center company that manufactures heavy-duty truck suspensions. The company asked students to extend the life of after-market fender brackets that sometimes were breaking because of vibration.

Expansion at ISU Research Park will Create Economic Development Hub

This time next year, CIRAS expects to be settling into brand new offices at the Iowa State University Research Park in a new building that will, for the first time, pull together most of Iowa State’s economic development services into a single location.

The new building, to be known as the Iowa State University Economic Development Core Facility, will anchor an area called “Hub Square”—the new main gathering space for the 400-acre research park.

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.

FYI: Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy Frozen Friday. (That’s a temperature-in-our-communications-office reference, not notice of a particular Disney-themed day at ISU.)

One of the things we hope to do with the CIRAS Newswire is make you more aware of interesting stories out there that impact industry or that you might have missed.

Here’s what we declare to be interesting today:

Grover Joins CIRAS to Oversee Digital Manufacturing Lab

Abhay Grover has joined CIRAS as a project manager focused on new technologies.

Health Insurance—A Prescription for Fear among Iowa Manufacturers

Iowa manufacturers’ single largest fear, according to a CIRAS survey, is the looming cost of employee health care. And the worry appears to be well placed.

“If you are a private employer in Iowa, you have reason to be concerned,” said Mark Becker, a Johnston-based employer benefits consultant. “There are far more questions than answers right now. On large insurance, there’s really no place to run.”

ICYM THE PRESS RELEASE: Iowa Area Development Groups Honored with USDA National Award

WASHINGTON D.C., November 5, 2015 – Iowa Area Development Group (IADG) received the USDA Abraham Lincoln Honor Award at a ceremony held today in Washington D.C. IADG was honored for expanding rural economic development opportunities in Iowa and across the nation by being a national advocate of USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDL&G) Program, as well as other contributions and accomplishments of its rural sponsored economic development mission.  

IMPACT: CIRAS and its Partners Sparked Improvement by the Billions

CIRAS projects have a big impact on Iowa and its communities.

Over the last five years, we’ve helped Iowa companies invest, expand sales and avoid costs to the tune of more than $2 billion.

Iowa Officially Launches Year of Manufacturing

 Former Gov. Terry Branstad, Governor Kim Reynolds and a host of other Iowa governmental and business leaders recently unveiled a plan to boost Iowa factories during a “Year of Manufacturing.”

The Year of Manufacturing initiative, which was announced in January during Branstad’s Condition of the State address, is designed to be a 12-month, concentrated focus on improving Iowa’s manufacturing Gross Domestic Product. Led by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) and CIRAS, business leaders plan to fan out across the state to visit with companies and make certain that each firm is aware of the resources available to help them improve.

Iowa Program Helps Companies Afford Some Added Expertise—By Adding Interns

Interns at ALMACO get much more than an overview of the company’s custom-built agricultural equipment. They become part of the team.

Brian Carr, ALMACO’s vice president of engineering, said student employees at the Nevada-based company get directly involved in completing projects—from initial design, through problem-solving challenges, to the eventual result.

Iowa’s Governor Officially Launches ‘Year of Manufacturing’ Initiative

 Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and a host of other Iowa governmental and business leaders have unveiled a plan to boost Iowa factories during a “Year of Manufacturing.”

The Year of Manufacturing initiative, which was announced in January during Branstad’s Condition of the State address, is designed to be a 12-month, concentrated focus on improving Iowa’s manufacturing Gross Domestic Product. Led by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) and CIRAS, business leaders plan to fan out across the state to visit with companies and make certain that each firm is aware of the resources available to help them improve.

ISBF and IEDA Help Iowa Facilities Managers get a CEM

One key step toward making Iowa buildings more energy efficient is to place them into the hands of people who know how to find savings. Toward that end, two CIRAS partners have joined forces to help Iowa companies interested in reducing their energy costs.

JOBS: CIRAS help Iowa Companies Continue as Good Employers

CIRAS projects have a big impact on Iowa and its communities.

For example, our latest edition of CIRAS News took a look at how we’ve affected employment over the past five years:

Legacy Manufacturing Reshores Jobs Using Robot Turntable

Legacy Manufacturing in Marion has added seven new employees (with at least three more coming soon) after a CIRAS-assisted automation program helped the company reshore production of one of its most popular products.

Our Third Annual All-Iowa Holiday Gift List

Every year around this time, we like to take a minute to remind everybody that we make great things here in Iowa.

Planning Continues to Bring About ‘Year of Manufacturing’ Industry Expansion

Industry experts from around the state are developing a detailed plan for growing Iowa manufacturing—with CIRAS slated to play a leading role both in the plan’s design and its implementation.

The ongoing effort stems from 2017’s governor’s Year of Manufacturing initiative, which charged the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Innovation Council (IIC) with finding ways to increase a $29 billion  manufacturing gross domestic product to $32 billion by 2022.

Quad Cities Manufacturing Innovation Hub = Outreach with a Plan

Curt Burnett sees his job two ways: he is both the pilot of a “connection machine” and a regional navigator, charting a long-range course toward the future for Quad Cities manufacturing.

The complicated part is that Burnett, executive director of the relatively new Quad Cities Manufacturing Innovation Hub, is doing both things while the machine is still being built.

Season’s Greetings from CIRAS

Hope you and yours have a joyous holiday season. Here’s a message from our director:

Snapshot of Iowa’s Professional and Business Services Sector

[ONE OF CIRAS’ REGULAR LOOKS AT A SECTOR OF THE IOWA ECONOMY. (By Liesl Eathington)]

State of the State – by Liesl Eathington

No discussion of Iowa’s workforce is complete without acknowledging the intense competition for workers among Iowa communities. As the state’s industrial structure diversifies, its occupational mix diversifies as well. That translates, in some communities, to a shrinking pool of available workers for manufacturing firms and other companies with specialized needs. Employers in small communities, drawing … Continue reading State of the State – by Liesl Eathington

State of the State: Looking for Clues to Competitiveness in Iowa’s Manufacturing Wages

Wage levels both reflect and influence the competitiveness of Iowa’s manufacturing sector. The average manufacturing worker in Iowa earned $42,470 in 2015, about 86 percent of the national average. Accounting for Iowa’s lower cost of living improves the picture, boosting the state’s pay on a price parity basis to 95 percent of the U.S. average.

The pay differential* for Iowa’s manufacturing workers varies by the type of work they perform. Iowa’s average production worker, for example, earns 104 percent of the average U.S. production worker’s wage. Iowa‘s engineering-related workers average just 90 cents for every dollar earned by their national peers.

This article demonstrates how closer attention to wage distributions might inform the state’s innovation and workforce attraction/retention efforts. For our example, we classify Iowa and U.S. manufacturing jobs along two dimensions: occupation and inferred skill or experience level. Nine occupational groups are considered, which together account for 95 percent of all manufacturing jobs.

Tortilleria Sonora Steps Out on Path to Food Safety Certification

Life began moving faster after Betty Garcia got the phone call.

It was the fall of 2017, and a Des Moines-area produce company was planning to launch a line of ready-to-eat meals. The company was wondering whether Tortilleria Sonora would be interested in supplying tortillas. First, there were a few questions about the business. Would Garcia mind filling out a questionnaire?

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.

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.

WORKFORCE PIPELINE: CIRAS Helps Companies Find Solutions

CIRAS projects have a big impact on Iowa and its communities.

One of the things we do is to help companies find their way around a scarcity of workers. Sometimes, that means helping them reach out to graduating students:

 Gross-Wen Technologies: Using Algae to Clean City Sewage

A pioneering enterprise formed to treat municipal and industrial wastewater with algae hopes to launch into large-scale operation this summer with construction of its first functional, city-sized test facility in Dallas Center, Iowa.

Gross-Wen Technologies, a company launched by Iowa State University researcher Martin Gross and professor Zhiyou Wen, has been working for roughly two years on plans to turn its discoveries into a two-pronged business. The Gross-Wen approach uses tanks of wastewater, vertical conveyor belts, and a special biofilm to grow and harvest the algae. Once water treatment is complete, the algae can be scraped off the belts and sold as a fertilizer, effectively subsidizing the cost of running a large-scale treatment system.7

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