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Technology Assistance Newswire Stories

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

Tapping into University Resources

A partnership with the Iowa State University Office of Biotechnology gives CIRAS access to the sophisticated equipment and technical expertise of the Materials Analysis and Research Lab (MARL) to help manufacturers solve complicated problems. CIRAS was recently contacted by Danfoss Power Solutions in Ames for answers on a corrosion issue. A rust protection product used … Continue reading Tapping into University Resources

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

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

Cone Calorimeter Available to Aid in Iowa Manufacturer Test Standards

All building materials must meet a specific test standard in order to move forward with manufacturing. This standard, the ASTM-E84 Standard Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials, is used to determine how various materials act upon ignition. It is a costly, complex, and large-scale standard that has been the norm. However, a … Continue reading Cone Calorimeter Available to Aid in Iowa Manufacturer Test Standards

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.

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.”

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.

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

CIRAS Connections: Technology on the Road

Alison Holten has seen the spark of recognition ignite. This, she explains, is why it is so important for CIRAS to work with local partners to carry the capabilities of Iowa State University to the rest of the state.