The University of Northern Iowa Additive Manufacturing Center has changed its name to the UNI Foundry 4.0 Center as it enters a new period of technological advancements. The center is housed at the TechWorks Campus in Waterloo.
For the last eight years, the center has been a leader in bringing additive technologies to the metal casting industry. During that time, multiple domestic materials were developed to drastically reduce the cost of 3D sand printing, and equipment designs changed to accept beneficial sand additives.
“It has been exciting to be on the edge of digital technological advancements that have benefited the industry in so many ways,” said Jerry Thiel, director of the UNI Foundry 4.0 Center and UNI’s Metal Casting Center. “The technologies available to the manufacturing industry have changed more in the last five years than in the previous 20 years. We’ll need a new research roadmap to take advantage of these new technologies.”
Industry leaders watch Kea Automation create casts.
The manufacturing industry is entering a new period of technological advancements, and the center’s emphasis is changing accordingly. The center’s new name better represents this change in direction and emphasis within the metal casting industry, reflecting new technologies offered at the center like foundry automation, robotic casting finishing, the Internet of Things, data acquisition through advanced sensors and smart manufacturing.
“Research will continue in additive technologies along with the addition of Manufacturing 4.0 technologies that can help foundries stay sustainable while keeping a focus on the future,” said Thiel. “Recent graduates entering the industry have a higher level of technical understanding than ever before and seek positions that will utilize these new technologies. Employers need to understand that the best way to attract young employees is to integrate new technologies into their operations.”