The original content was generated from The Industry Iowa Podcast, recorded on June 30, 2022. Q: Can you share your background and how you became involved with Iowa State and CIRAS? A: I started around 2006 after working as a chemist and obtaining a degree in chemistry from Iowa State University (ISU). After that, I … Continue reading Q&A with CIRAS Project Manager Brian Muff
We are often asked to help a company understand what their contract compliance requirements are regarding cybersecurity in federal contracting. One way to understand those requirements is to look at your contract or solicitation and identify what cyber clauses are included. Below is a quick guide to identifying those clauses and understanding what obligations they … Continue reading DYK: Cybersecurity Contract Clauses Explained
A Dyersville manufacturer is saving time and money by implementing a strategy that identifies potential breakdowns before they occur. JEDA Polymers, maker of engineered resins for the injection molding industry, was using a “homegrown solution” to anticipate issues in their extrusion lines. Though their efforts were moderately successful, the company couldn’t resolve all their issues … Continue reading Addressing Production Issues in Advance Saves Time, Money
An enticing aroma greets you at the Fairy Tale Cotton Candy factory in Des Moines. It’s sugar, but it could also be considered the sweet smell of success. Inside the factory, more than 50 varieties of cotton candy are produced and shipped far and wide to small stores and big box outlets, and under private … Continue reading Candymaker Finds Sweet Success
Manufacturing 4.0 Assessments Exceed Expectations Iowa manufacturers are eager to incorporate advanced technologies into their enterprises. That was clear by the overwhelming response to the Technology Investment Grant Program led by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). The goal of the effort is to assist Iowa manufacturers in becoming more competitive by adopting and leveraging … Continue reading Manufacturing 4.0 Assessments Exceed Expectations
CIRAS intern Cassandra Swacker was nationally recognized at the Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine in November 2022 for projects she completed with CIRAS. Swacker’s main project was in collaboration with On With Life, a nonprofit organization that works primarily with individuals who have experienced traumatic brain injuries, to design and produce custom life aids to increase … Continue reading CIRAS Intern Nationally Recognized
It’s been a wild and wooly economy the past three years, but CIRAS is looking forward to the upcoming year with new ways to help Iowa businesses manage oncoming challenges. “2023 is going to be a year where we learn a lot about where the economy and industry is going in the next three to … Continue reading CIRAS Looks Forward to 2023
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
A partnership with the Iowa State University Meats Laboratory gives Iowa meat producers access to world-class research, technology, and training to keep them informed, updated, and competitive. “CIRAS helps us educate processors on basic meat science as well as advances in food processing and food safety technology,” said Terry Houser, associate professor and extension meat … Continue reading Giving Clients Access to a World-class Facility
Assistance from the CIRAS Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) helped an Oskaloosa-based manufacturer address inaccuracies in their invoicing information that were delaying payment for a government job. Larry Lewis, owner of Lewis Repair and Manufacturing, contacted CIRAS after experiencing a delay in getting paid for an incinerator he delivered to a military base in Florida. … Continue reading Invoicing Problems Resolved; Company Gets Paid
Iowa State’s CIRAS Digital Manufacturing Lab powered by Alliant Energy continues to invest in technologies that fit the needs of Iowa manufacturers. “Technology can change rapidly through software, hardware, or material improvements,” said Chris Hill, CIRAS program director. “A key to the continued success of the digital lab is to ensure we have access to … Continue reading Digital Manufacturing Lab Adds New Technologies
A Marion assembler of wire harnesses and control boards started looking at new ways to address its labor shortage after its CEO attended a CIRAS presentation on workforce challenges. Tom Pientok, CEO of Timberline Manufacturing Company, was present at one of the first workforce talks given by CIRAS director Ron Cox. He later arranged for … Continue reading Company Takes Creative Approach to Workforce Shortage
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Let’s break it down.
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.