By State Sen. Bill Dotzler, Waterloo (Senate District 31)
Iowa’s state universities serve as engines for growth by educating our workforce, advancing research and development, and providing businesses with services that help them grow. Investments initiated by the Cedar Valley legislative delegation are helping UNI’s Additive Manufacturing Center to innovate Iowa’s manufacturing industry.
The center, located at Waterloo’s TechWorks and recognized as a world leader in innovation, uses 3D printing and high-tech casting, as well as special materials and processes that are not commercially available, to provide molds and cores to companies.
The center’s clients include more than 90 small and mid-sized manufacturers in Iowa and the region. They are developing and applying technologies that can be used in larger manufacturing businesses and smaller businesses in the supply chain.
Due to the Additive Manufacturing Center’s work, Iowa has the highest concentration of 3D sand-mold printers in the U.S. and, because of their research, you can find these 3D printers throughout the state’s manufacturing businesses.
The center has worked with all branches of the United States armed forces, including casting molds that have been used in aircraft for the United States Air Force. The center has also participated in a work group with the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency on enhancing the supply chain to better equip forces, especially the United States Navy, during long-term conflicts.