UNI helps Iowa move forward with Manufacturing 4.0
Governor Reynolds recently announced the manufacturing roadmap for Iowa. The roadmap outlined Iowa’s Manufacturing 4.0 strategies for Iowa to remain competitive through the fourth industrial revolution that emphasizes automation and smart technology.
UNI programs and departments have been walking lockstep with the Iowa Innovation Council and the Iowa Economic Development Authority for the past few years to participate in developing this roadmap. UNI is enthusiastic to push the boundaries of Manufacturing 4.0 and to provide industry leading resources to assist Iowa and the newly outlined manufacturing roadmap.
Additive manufacturing is an emerging and disruptive technology that is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry. UNI’s Additive Manufacturing Center (AMC) has become a leader in Manufacturing 4.0 technologies. Since installation of a large-format 3D sand mold printer, more than 100 manufacturers have been assisted with 3D design and printing services by the center.
UNI’s AMC and Metal Casting Center are helping Iowa foundries and the industrial supply chain adopt additional manufacturing 4.0 technologies. Examples of specific 4.0 initiatives include the integration of low cost sensors into molds and cores, Internet of Things (IoT) programming for analyzing data, and integrated industrial-scale robotics and automation. In addition, the AMC has installed a fully automated investment casting shelling line and will test and then transfer the technology to Iowa foundries.
UNI’s Institute for Decision Making (IDM) and the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) University Center Program at UNI are working with partners to deliver Manufacturing 4.0 training to the economic developers across Iowa. One of the first sessions was delivered with our partners at Hawkeye Community College and faculty from the UNI Department of Technology. As economic developers work with their existing industry, it is essential they understand Manufacturing 4.0 resources across Iowa and how to connect them.
Finally, UNI’s Department of Technology has fully adopted Manufacturing 4.0 technologies into the learning curriculum. The renovation and updating of the Industrial Technology Center (ITC) provides the opportunity for UNI to prepare the future workforce for Iowa and more deeply engage manufacturers throughout Iowa. UNI’s Department of Technology is also in the process of adding an Automation Engineering Technology program and masters courses in Systems Engineering Management.