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Iowa State University Opens Digital Manufacturing Lab

AMES, Iowa- The Iowa State University Center For Industrial Research and Service Launched a new Digital Manufacturing Lab. This new service will be available for small companies to try out new robotic technology to see if the process would work.

The Lab was opened with some financial support from Alliant Energy.

“Imagine if you could test run a production line, and try out some really promising new technology on a small-scale,” said Joel Schmidt VP of Business and Development at Alliant Energy. “Not only would you know if you have something that works, you also cut down on the time it would take to get that solution in place.”

Visitors were given a tour of three lab stations within the operation. One was digital printing, another was a digital scanner for measuring parts, and another station used robotic arms to manufacture.

Over the years some have feared robots would take jobs. But some here believe robots will help fill some jobs where no workers can be found, and create higher paying jobs.

“Our survey of manufacturers, three out of every four manufacturers in Iowa say in the next five years lack of workforce will limit their growth, they want to grow,” said Ron Cox, Director of the ISU CIRAS Office.

“With the help of CIRAS, we’ve basically taken jigs and fixtures and stuff, that would normally take a month to get through our shop, and take all our productivity out, into 3-5 days,” said Scott Britson, of Stellar Industries in Garner.

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