ISU Digital Manufacturing Lab powered by Alliant Energy Grand Opening

Companies can experiment with cutting-edge tech in a risk-free setting. 

AMES, Iowa – September 26, 2019 – New business methods and technologies that could help improve and expand a company also carry great risk and cost to prove their worth. The newly opened ISU Digital Manufacturing Lab powered by Alliant Energy will provide Iowa manufacturers a place to experiment with these new approaches. The lab is in the ISU Research Park.

A grant from Alliant Energy will help fund the efforts conducted by Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS). The lab is designed to educate Iowa businesses about technologies such as collaborative robots, 3D scanners and advanced vision systems. Alliant Energy will use part of the space to provide advice and counsel to businesses while also collaborating with ISU faculty and students on research opportunities and internships. The lab’s opening comes at a time when many Iowa companies in rural areas face the challenge of hiring more skilled workers.    

“Anything we can do to help a business grow and keep jobs local is good for all of our customers, “said Joel Schmidt, Alliant Energy’s Vice President for Business Development. “Our partnership with Iowa State will produce actual results, so companies can rely on research instead of a crystal ball.”

“This is what CIRAS does,” said Mike O’Donnell, director of the CIRAS Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program. “We are going to be an unbiased source to help manufacturers identify the right technology for them at the right time.” 

Alliant Energy’s grant is the largest private gift to CIRAS in the center’s 56-year history. A sizeable contribution from the Iowa Economic Development Authority will help with purchasing equipment and covering remodeling expenses.