Building Iowa's Advanced Manufacturing Workforce

Panther CaucusThanks to the UNI Panther Caucus for featuring us in their January 5 issue. You can check out the original here or read below.

The University of Northern Iowa Metal Casting Center is a nationally recognized applied research and testing center known for its groundbreaking work across industries and sectors. The center allows students to learn about applying rigorous research to address industry needs.

Two facilities allow them to conduct applied research and testing. The first is the materials research and foundry focused site that is located in the Industrial Technology Center (ITC) on campus at UNI. Working with foundries and foundry suppliers, the metal casting facility at ITC pours a variety of metal alloys to investigate new materials used by the foundry industry to improve environmental compliance of foundry products, solve casting defect causes, increase process capability and enhance productivity.

The second facility is the Additive Manufacturing Center that features North America's largest 3-D printer located at Cedar Valley TechWorks in Waterloo. At TechWorks, various additive manufacturing technologies, design considerations and production issues are explored and addressed through a collaborative industry/research partnership to promote additive manufacturing technology transfer to the metal casting and manufacturing community.

Through working at the Metal Casting Center in the ITC or the Additive Manufacturing Center, undergraduate and graduate students in career and technical education (CTE) programs such as construction management, engineering technology and others at UNI are able to gain real-world, hands-on experience with private sector and government projects. These experiences prepare students to be successful after graduation; UNI's graduates from CTE programs are highly competitive in the job market.

“The reason I got hired was because of my metal casting background and experience working at the Metal Casting Center. Every class that I took in metal casting has relevance to what I do every single day from molding practices, gating design, pouring practices and tooling design. Having this degree gave me confidence in my interview and enabled me to have an impact on the foundry on day one.”

- Cameron Heofing, '12 manufacturing technology, currently a manufacturing engineer at the John Deere Foundry