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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.