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Industry 4.0 Newswire Stories

Getting the Most from Tradeshows

Attending a tradeshow can pay big dividends for even small companies. The right show can provide networking opportunities, give insights on competitors, and update you on developments in your industry. But tradeshows can be overwhelming, especially if you decide to attend a large-scale event. To maximize the experience, consider these suggestions from CIRAS staff members: … Continue reading Getting the Most from Tradeshows

NEW Cyber Threat Hacking Industrial Control Systems: Take Action Today to Protect Your Business

A new cybersecurity risk with direct impacts on most manufacturers has recently been discovered. The Department of Energy (DOE), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) on Wednesday. The CSA warns that specific advanced persistent threat (APT) actors have … Continue reading NEW Cyber Threat Hacking Industrial Control Systems: Take Action Today to Protect Your Business

Protecting Your Business From a Cyberattack

Most companies use computers to manage at least some part of their business operation so ensuring that data remains safe is a priority. Data breaches that expose sensitive, confidential, or proprietary information can be costly…and not just in terms of the immediate monetary impact on productivity and sales revenues. Additional damage to intangible assets like reputation … Continue reading Protecting Your Business From a Cyberattack

Lab Helps Manufacturers Explore Industry 4.0 Technologies

CIRAS and industry partners continue to invest in new technologies for Iowa manufacturers. Ramco Innovations recently donated a selective compliance articulated robot arm (SCARA) to CIRAS. The company is a technology partner in the Digital Manufacturing Lab created in 2019 with substantial donations from Alliant Energy and the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The lab is … Continue reading Lab Helps Manufacturers Explore Industry 4.0 Technologies

3D Printing Devices Ease Everyday Challenges

An Ankeny-based rehabilitation facility has partnered with CIRAS to develop a cost-effective solution to an everyday challenge faced by some of the people it serves. On With Life (OWL) works with people who have sustained a traumatic brain injury, stroke, concussion, or other neurological disease. Many of the people it serves use wheelchairs and have … Continue reading 3D Printing Devices Ease Everyday Challenges

Enhance Customer Value with Augmented Reality

 A global supplier of vending equipment and services turned to CIRAS last year for advice on maintaining quality customer support during the pandemic. CIRAS suggested implementing an augmented reality (AR) tool provided by TeamViewer. The solution proved so effective the company plans to use it after pandemic concerns subside. “One of our biggest concerns early … Continue reading Enhance Customer Value with Augmented Reality

X-ray Imaging Positions PowerFilm to Quickly Fix Potential Problem

An Ames manufacturer of solar panels avoided scrapping $30,000 of incorrect work after Iowa State University experts helped the company find a way to inspect 750 problem panels for a potential defect. Dan Stieler, president of PowerFilm, said he turned to CIRAS and Iowa State’s Center for Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE) after discovering that one of … Continue reading X-ray Imaging Positions PowerFilm to Quickly Fix Potential Problem

Automated Data Makes for Rapid Reports and More Problem Solving

A Story City food packaging company expects to save more than three-and-a-half weeks of labor over the next year after CIRAS helped the business automate weekly and monthly reports for managers. Dennis Sankot, production manager for American Packaging Corporation, used to spend about 16 hours a month transferring data from the company’s ERP (enterprise resource … Continue reading Automated Data Makes for Rapid Reports and More Problem Solving

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

UEA Toughens Practices, Improves Culture around Cybersecurity

A Waverly manufacturer of custom rotary motion products has upgraded its technological practices and revamped its culture after attending a CIRAS educational event on cybersecurity.  Howard Samarin, IT supervisor at United Equipment Accessories (UEA), said he was shocked after he and the company’s system administrator attended a December 2019 CIRAS event on data security.  “We got … Continue reading UEA Toughens Practices, Improves Culture around Cybersecurity

Researchers on Tunable Stiffness Bone Implant Turn to CIRAS for Technical Help

Iowa State University researchers have designed a new customizable device for optimizing the healing of broken bones—a tunable rod that can be 3D printed and custom matched to the needs of individual patients.  They formalized the idea only after working with CIRAS to explore the limits of 3D printing technology and confirm that their invention … Continue reading Researchers on Tunable Stiffness Bone Implant Turn to CIRAS for Technical Help

Grants Will Match Investment in Manufacturing 4.0 Technology

Iowa manufacturers who invest in new technology to become more competitive now can have up to $75,000 of that investment matched by the state of Iowa.  Iowa legislators approved a new “Manufacturing 4.0. Technology Investment Program” in May. The measure creates a program at the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) to help manufacturers ease the … Continue reading Grants Will Match Investment in Manufacturing 4.0 Technology

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.

New Consortium to Support Tech Training for Iowa Manufacturers

For Immediate Release:

As business and industry evolve at an ever-increasing pace, the next wave of change in the form of digitalization and automation, known as “Industry 4.0,” will require new processes for businesses and new skills for employees. Today, Iowa’s Community Colleges and the Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) announced a new consortium to support the manufacturing sector in adapting to these changes. The training and awareness initiative includes partners from across the state.

“Iowa has the right mix of relationships and resources to help our manufacturers remain competitive through a global technology revolution that is transforming factory floors and jobs,” said Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. “This important partnership addresses a critical need identified in the state’s Manufacturing 4.0 strategic plan by uniting key education and industry stakeholders in a comprehensive effort to prepare workers with the skills they need in an increasingly digital economy.”

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.

Online Orders Are an Elixir Following COVID-19 Collapse

A Holstein, Iowa, meat producer now finds itself on the cusp of full-blown e-commerce thanks to a computerized online order system that the company was driven to adopt in response to COVID-19.

Tiefenthaler Quality Meats, a family-owned company known for its skinless brats and other meat products, originally approached CIRAS in March seeking help managing the online portion of a yearly anniversary sale. However, those conversations soon shifted when pandemic safety concerns led Tiefenthaler’s to close its retail store to customers. Tiefenthaler’s also cancelled the anniversary sale because of the pandemic and its impact on business.

Digital Lab: New Tech Brings New Possibilities

Iowa State University’s Digital Manufacturing Lab is adding new tools to give Iowa companies more minimal-risk ways to experiment with new technology. Chris Hill, director of the CIRAS Technology Assistance Program (TAP), said two new 3D printers will give the lab greater flexibility to produce detailed prototypes for Iowa companies looking to experiment with new … Continue reading Digital Lab: New Tech Brings New Possibilities

Vermeer Using Virtual Reality to Train Technicians, Captivate Customers

An Iowa equipment manufacturer who turned a CIRAS educational event into major experiments with virtual and augmented reality soon expects to see huge dividends in lower training costs and more attentive customers.

Vermeer Manufacturing Company, a Pella-based manufacturer of industrial and agricultural equipment, formed its own three-person augmented reality team in 2017, shortly after the company attended a CIRAS educational event on the topic.

Three years later, Vermeer has created a successful virtual reality marketing tool and soon will launch a new VR program to train dealer technicians how to service and repair Vermeer equipment.

Industry 4.0 Assessment Helps CJ Bio Start Smart with Tech Upgrades

A Fort Dodge feed ingredients company expects to save millions of dollars by implementing technology upgrades identified through a CIRAS Industry 4.0 assessment.

CJ Bio, which produces amino acids for livestock and poultry feed, expects to have the top two or three items of improvements on its list completed by the end of 2020. The list, which details places where technology enhancements could have the largest impact on the company’s bottom line, was created through a CIRAS-guided process of reassessing CJ Bio’s current use of technology in its business.

CIRAS Receives New Funding to Expand Assistance

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) is proud to announce that we have obtained several new contracts over the past month that will aid in our efforts to help Iowa manufacturers respond to a rapidly changing world.