UNI NEWS SERVICES – The University of Northern Iowa Additive Manufacturing Center (AMC) received the first of three automated robotic machining cells last month, which will make the center the only university-based automated investment casting facility in the world.
The expansion brings together cutting edge additive manufacturing technology with automated computer-controlled processing that will enable faster casting production than ever before. The cells will create a fully automated investment casting molding line integrated with the existing pattern printing technologies.
“The automation applications into the metal casting industry will help elevate the skill sets of the workforce while removing workers from environmentally and physically challenging or dangerous applications,” said Travis Frush, operations manager at the AMC. “Operators will use robots to support the menial and basic material handling requirements of the casting process.”
Installation is still in the planning phases. The AMC is set to receive the final two automated robotic machining cells later this spring.
The AMC is a world-class 3D printing and high-tech casting center employing UNI students to help keep Iowa’s industry supply chain at the cutting edge. Fueled by demand from Iowa’s small businesses, the AMC has seen explosive growth since it was launched, doubling in size three times as it helps keep the state’s manufacturers competitive.
About UNI’s Additive Manufacturing Center
The University of Northern Iowa Additive Manufacturing Center (AMC) is located at the Cedar Valley TechWorks facility in Waterloo, Iowa and is operated as a coreThe component of the UNI Metal Casting Center, in the department of technology. It was created over six years ago focusing on additive manufacturing for the metal cast industry. Client companies range from agricultural equipment, automotive, aerospace and many other types of manufacturing. In addition, AMC has been a crucial component in the US Defense Department supply chain, working with all branches of the military as well as the Defense Logistics Agency.
The AMC employs as many as fifteen students throughout an academic semester. Students are given the opportunity to work with a variety of research partners of the AMC, ranging from small businesses to large equipment manufacturers. They gain valuable work experience while developing relationships with the very companies that may hire them after graduation.