UNI’s Additive Manufacturing Center (AMC), which is the core component of the Metal Casting Center, has achieved substantial success by working with emerging technology. Through AMC’s applied research, many of the barriers to technology adoption have been removed, resulting in industry adoption of these emerging technologies. Success has been proven by the growth of 3D sand printers located in North America increasing over 700% in the last four years, with Iowa realizing the highest growth. Using additive manufacturing to create patterns for investment casting with integrated automation has great potential to further advance the castings industry dramatically in the next five years. Some key industry sectors benefitting from 3D investment casting technologies include aerospace, defense, agricultural manufacturing, and bioscience and medical technologies (such as joint replacement technologies in collaboration with University of Iowa).
The expansion of the AMC related to investment castings technology and industry support started in FY 2020 with a $400,000 appropriation. The appropriation provides UNI an immersion in developing and delivering these new technologies. The funds allow for engaging in higher levels of technology training and allow current staff members to concentrate more time on applied research and industry adoption. This allows UNI’s Metal Casting Center to concentrate on activities that benefit Iowa companies to the fullest. The funds support new full-time and student employee salaries to engage in higher levels of technology training.
The FY 2021 request is status quo.