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Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Network Hub at TechWorks of First Projects to Receive Iowa’s New Strategic Infrastructure Funding – $2.7 Million for additional 3D Printers UNI Metal Casting Center

(Cedar Valley of Iowa) The Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Network Hub (IAMNH), at the TechWorks Campus in Waterloo, is one of the first projects in the state to be awarded funds through Iowa’s new Strategic Infrastructure Fund (SIF). The funding was approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board at their June meeting. The project, Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Network Hub – Phase I, Additive Manufacturing Center, will receive $2.7 million to fund additional 3D printers for the UNI Metal Casting Center, building improvements, and a design center to be operated by Hawkeye Community College.

“With this financial support from the IEDA and Iowa Innovation Council, UNI is excited and anxious to move forward with creating a full-service additive manufacturing center to meet the innovation and technology needs of Iowa companies,” says Randy Pilkington, Executive Director of UNI’s Business and Community Services. “Thanks to support from IEDA, UNI is building on the momentum of the past 18 months of 3D printing success to create a full-service additive manufacturing center for Iowa manufacturers. Expansion into plastics, metals and ceramics will create one of the best equipped 3D printing facilities in North America.”

The Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Network Hub application for Strategic Infrastructure Fund (SIF) was completed by TechWorks staff and a team including UNI’s Randy Pilkington and Metal Casting Center Director Jerry Thiel; Hawkeye Community College President Linda Allen, and Vice President of Academic Affairs Jane Bradley; and TechWorks board chair Tim Hurley. The team worked with the State of Iowa and the Iowa Innovation Council’s Advanced Manufacturing Workgroup to finalize the application.

The IEDA funding will help to move Iowa to the forefront of technology in additive manufacturing and establish a premier center for support of its manufacturing base.  This funding is a critical step in advancing the state’s technology base and providing a central location for technology advancement.

Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center Takes Shape:

During the 2013 session, the Iowa Legislature stepped up with bipartisan support to approve funding for the creation of the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center (IAMC).

The IAMC is being established in partnership with the Iowa Innovation Corporation and Iowa Economic Development Authority. It will be a center of collaboration among those organizations listed above and many other “partners” and “users” such as  many programs and centers within UNI and Hawkeye Community College, Wartburg’s manufacturing engineering program, ISU’s CIRAS/MEP, and others. It will be available to you and other Iowa manufacturers and product innovators to increase competitiveness and commercialization of new products.

“The realization of the IAMC moves the TechWorks Campus plan ahead, said TechWorks board Chair Tim Hurley. “ IAMC creates the center of thinking and action, physical and virtual, that has always been a part of our vision, he said. “ We could not have accomplished this without the leadership of Waterloo’s Sen. Bill Dotzler and enthusiastic bipartisan leadership of our Cedar Valley delegation and support throughout the legislature, IIC and IEDA for manufacturing’s leading role in Iowa’s economy. That it’s happening in TechWorks is our dream coming true,” Hurley concluded.


The IAMC is programmed to include such uses as these examples:

  • Owned and operated by UNI’s Metal Casting Center, a large format 3D printer will be installed in the existing industrial lab space of the Tech 1 building on the TechWorks Campus. The large scale equipment, using polymer media, will be among the only of its kind in North America. The Metal Casting Center will provide access to this highly sophisticated equipment to manufacturing firms on a contract basis.
  • The Alliance & Chamber and TechWorks are collaborating with UNI to make existing lab facilities available to Iowa firms on a fee-for-time or project basis.
  • It is expected to install one and perhaps two 4 and 5 wall Computer Aided Virtual Reality Environment structures in the lab floor.
  • Improve the Tech 1 building:
    • Docks and overhead doors will be installed, along with required mechanical and electrical improvements.
    • Space will be available for advanced manufacturing operations to lease, and
    • Hawkeye Community College is establishing its green/sustainable construction methods program

Planning is underway for improvements, which will be underway later in 2013. Contact Steve Dust or Cary Darrah regarding IAMC programming.

Advanced Manufacturing Hub Step Closer with State Funding

The Cedar Valley TechWorks is one step closer to becoming the physical location of an Advanced Manufacturing Hub for the region and state thanks to legislation adopted this week.  Nearly $4 million was included in Iowa Economic Development Authority appropriations for the project.

The IEDA’s Iowa Invocation Council, which will administer the funds, has been working closely with the Cedar Valley TechWorks and Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber to establish the Campus as the designated site for the Hub.

The bulk of the funds will construct improvements in the Tech 1 building on the Campus. A portion of the funds will be used for the University of Northern Iowa to purchase a 3-dimensional (3D) printer to fabricate on-demand molds for cast components  to support  advanced manufacturing , in collaboration with TechWorks.

“With this funding, we can make the capital and infrastructure improvements to the Tech 1 building needed to attract more technology and bio-products related industrial operations and partners to the campus. The investment in building improvements and equipment will prepare space for new businesses and educational programs, and bring tremendous momentum and excitement to the Campus as these projects move forward alongside the previously announced anchor projects,” states Cary Darrah, General Manager of the Cedar Valley TechWorks Campus. “ We are grateful to the entire Cedar Valley legislative delegation for its bi-partisan advocacy for this funding, especially Senator Bill Dotzler who really went to bat for the Cedar Valley and the TechWorks Campus. His work for this and other economic development issues this year is recognized by legislators from both sides of the isle.”

Jerry Thiel, Director of UNI’s Metal Casting Center is also optimistic about the impact of the collaboration on the industry statewide, “The capabilities of having technology like this will undoubtedly increase the overall competitiveness of Iowa manufacturers by allowing them to deliver products to the market at an unprecedented rate.”

Randy Pilkington, Executive Director, UNI Business and Community Services adds,
“This is a substantial investment in advanced manufacturing not just for the Cedar Valley, but for the entire state of Iowa. It also shows UNI’s commitment to advanced manufacturing statewide.”

What this means to the Cedar Valley

“The Cedar Valley is known as Iowa’s center of Advanced Manufacturing,” states Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.  “With the high concentration of manufacturing in our economic area, and the manufacturing technology -related resources of UNI and our higher education partners, the Cedar Valley is the prime location to establish the state’s hub of leading edge applied manufacturing technologies. As businesses and entrepreneurs from all over the Midwest access our equipment and facilities to improve and produce innovative products, we take another step in innovation led economic development in the Cedar Valley economy, and toward fulfilling the original vision for the Campus. We’re proud to be known as the Advanced Manufacturing Hub,” concludes Dust.

The Governor is expected to sign the bill into law before the end of June.

The Cedar Valley TechWorks is a 30-acre advanced manufacturing and biotechnology research, development and education center, and business and manufacturing cluster. The campus is located in downtown Waterloo, Iowa adjacent to the John Deere operations. The Cedar Valley TechWorks is owned and managed by the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.




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The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a regional economic community development corporation working to increase economic vitality and wealth in the Waterloo / Cedar Falls area and surrounding economic region. The Alliance & Chamber has approximately 800 members that represents over 40,000 employees